It was one of those love-hate moments. For the past few months, I’ve been barking about the Portland Trail Blazers being devoid of physical emotion and toughness. The Blazers were forced to bark back on Monday night.
I loved seeing Portland take a stand against the Los Angeles Lakers – a series that is constantly chippy. I loved seeing Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Travis Outlaw display some much needed chutzpah in the final seconds of the third quarter.
I just hated to see it come at the expense of Rudy Fernandez laying under the basket in pain and clutching his chest after taking a hard foul from Lakers Trevor Ariza. It was a scary time. You never want to see that happen to any player – a guy carted off on a stretcher with his neck and body stabilized.
It’s that time of season. Games will be physical from here on out.
Roy said it best after the game (via HOOPSWORLD’s “Courtside Blog”). The foul was one thing. Ariza “bucking” (talking trash) was the final straw. That’s what got Roy and everyone else on the Blazers sidelines heated.
No need to see a fight. But I’ll take the Blazers getting fired up any day.
I’ve seen this happen before. So has Channing Frye – who was in the thick of the pushing and shoving between the Blazers and Lakers. Sure he thought back to New York just as I did.
Back in December 2006, Frye was with New York when the Knicks and Denver Nuggets “brawled” at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks took exception to the Nuggets running up the score in a blowout when then-Knick Mardy Collins grabbed J.R. Smith around the neck on an open layup.
Soon players were shoving, posing, throwing punches and both benches got involved in the end. Frye was one of 10 players tossed, while avoiding a suspension. Seven others weren’t so fortunate.
It was a nasty incident. Didn’t have to go there. But it happens.
I’ll never forget watching from the pressbox at MSG as Carmelo Anthony threw a haymaker at Jared Jeffries only to backpedal all the way down to the other end of the court to hide behind his teammates.
A real tough guy.
Luckily, cooler heads prevailed at the Rose Garden on Monday night.
Here’s the footage….getting fired up versus getting into a fight:
pic via: bleacher report