Wesley: I'd Look Down Upon Myself If I Didn't Play
If you were one of the 20,484 in attendance at the Rose Garden who saw the Portland Trail Blazers break their seven-game losing streak by defeating the Boston Celtics 92-86, you could have easily mistaken the arena for the Boston Garden.
There were flocks of Boston Celtics fans amongst the crowd and whenever a Celtic would score, a loud ovation would occur. The same type of ovation happened when the Trail Blazers scored a bucket.
It was a weird feeling considering the Trail Blazers have arguably the best homecourt advantage in the league.
Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts started off his postgame press conference praising key contributors in Sunday's game and then he segued saying, “And I didn't know that we had this many Celtic fans in Portland. That did surprise me.”
Celtics Head Coach Doc Rivers wasn't the least bit surprised by how much green and white there was sprinkled in the arena.
“Nah, I'm never surprised by that,” Rivers said. “So far on this entire trip, I think we've outnumbered the other team or been close and that's good. Celtic fans travel. They've been phenomenal on this road trip and they know we need them.”
The Celtics are on a five-game West Coast road trip and are 1-3 thus far meaning their out of town fans haven't been that beneficial on this trip.
Celtics All-Star forward Paul Pierce didn't want to compare the Rose Garden to the Boston Garden after his team took a loss like that.
He responded by saying, “Nah, I couldn't tell with the way we didn't get to the line.”
The Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks all have a national fan base. So it's not out of the ordinary to see fans of those teams sporting their jerseys and team colors inside the Rose Garden.
But the chants and the cheers of were much more louder for the Celtics than I've ever heard in recent memory. It was like a neutral site matchup.
“Boston fans have the best fans on the road, maybe,” Nicolas Batum said after dropping 18 points and pulling down six boards. “They're like Miami, Lakers, New York, Chicago. They got fans everywhere.”
Nevertheless, the Trail Blazers got a much-needed win.
Wesley Matthews led the way with 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points, four rebounds though he was plagued with foul trouble and Damian Lillard put in 12 points and six dishes.
JJ Hickson picked up his 30th double-double of the season – 11 points, 11 rebounds and Victor Claver had a career-high 10 rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
Eric Maynor made his debut as a Blazer and contributed two points and three assists in 14 minutes. At times, Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts used Maynor and Lillard in the backcourt together.
“I'm just trying to go out there and play,” Maynor said. “That's it. First time, it was a little, not nervous, but just a new start. Hopefully, I'll be better come Wednesday.”
The Trail Blazers host the Denver Nuggets Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.