(AP - Portland) Asked whether the Portland Trail Blazers crowd impacted his game, Trevor Ariza provided a heart felt response: "I feared for my life."
"Those Blazers fans were going crazy from when I was introduced. I couldn't touch the ball or guard anybody, or they were yelling for my head. I got rung up for 4 fouls in 20 minutes. That crowd was all up in the refs' ears."
Ariza was asked if he missed playing major minutes with such important playoff implications on the line. "With Kobe going off on everybody, and Odom flailing around in the key, frankly I was just glad to be hugging the bench most of the night. I'll be glad when I'm on the plane out of here."
Reporters were interested if he knew that he contributed a game worst -17 points differential. Ariza shrugged and provided no comment. When asked what he thought of Rudy's game high +18 in points differential, Ariza drew in his breath, puffed out his chest, and was interrupted by Kurt Rambis. Red-faced after stuttering into his cell phone for the past five minutes trying to get in a word edge-wise, Rambis held his hands over our microphones and said his team was leaving.
When the point differential question was asked of Rudy, he was happy to reply.
"I made Ariza, how you say ... my bitch. "Personal bitch", yes? Is right. Because my teamates play good tonight. We playing better than them, stronger men than those guys. We strong all game through to the end. My teamates, we like bulls. They, not so much. They, maybe they play as cows."
Seeing nods and smiles in the Blazers locker room, and hearing the terms "tremor" and "leakers" bantered about, the team was asked whether they had given thought to retaliation for the Odom foul last year on Roy, the attack on Oden in the first game of the season, and Trevor Ariza's recent flagrant foul on Rudy. Rudy again summed up the Blazers' sentiments: "We men. We just bigger men. So, no."
The Leakers have yet to make much of an impression on the team in Portland.