Blazer fans didn’t heed Jason Quick’s advice. Quick, The Oregonian’s excellent Blazer Insider, implored fans to cheer Raymond Felton in his return to the Rose Garden last night.
Felton didn’t get cheered. He was booed. Booed hard.
The fans booed him the very first time he touched the ball. After he checked out of the game, they booed him when he returned. They booed when he brought the ball up again.
They finally cheered Felton after he put up an airball on his second shot. But then it was back to the booing. That booing continued into the fourth quarter. It lasted the whole game.
In short, it was an incredible display of fanaticism by those attending the Portland-New York game. It’s very rare fans will commit to booing an individual player throughout the entirety of a game. But that’s the vitriol Felton inspired with his poor play and absurd challenges during his stint in Portland.
The fans on Thursday night made it as clear as Quick did in his columns last season: Felton burned Rip City and that doesn’t go ’round here.
Hearing those fans commit to booing Felton every time he touched the ball – which is insane: He’s the team’s starting point guard so he touches the ball constantly – was at the same time a breath of fresh air and a not-so-friendly reminder why Portland fans are so great.
You see, had this happened in Philadelphia, where boobirds are commonplace, nobody would have batted an eye. But Blazer fans don’t boo often. When another ex-Blazer, Marcus Camby, checked into Thursday night’s game, he drew applause from the very same fans casting hatred onto his point guard.
Felton knew it was coming. He issued warnings to anonymous folks – eh hem, Mr. Quick – and wondered aloud whether he might go for 50 points.
He finished with 11 points. He was 4-for-12 from the field. He had three assists and two turnovers. And the Knicks lost.
To Quick’s point, the man who replaced Felton played well. He drew the cheers of fans as he’s done all season. Damian Lillard scored 26 points. He made 11-of-18 shots. He had 10 assists and only turned the ball over once. And the Blazers won.
The fans that went to the game got everything they wanted: A poor outing from Felton, a good outing from Lillard, a Blazers win, and chalupas thanks to Wesley Matthews’ bucket with 1:30 left.
Quick, on the other hand, was left wanting. The fans stayed committed. They stayed enthusiastic. But only on a few occasions – that airball, an awful turnover, and another airball – did they cheer Felton. Instead they rained those boos down over and over again.
Surely Quick – and to a lesser extent, Lillard – enjoyed soaking up those boos.
Kyle Boggs is on Twitter. Follow him at @KyleKBoggs