Is anyone mad that the Portland Trail Blazers -- a team eliminated from playoff contention -- have lost seven straight games, all by double figures? Why yes, Wesley Matthews is mad. Ben Golliver from Blazersedge gets the [expletive deleted] quotes:
"The fans are sick of it, we're sick of it," Matthews told Blazersedge. "We've got to give them something to cheer about. Losing seven straight isn't it. We're playing a little bit harder, but not up to our standards, not what we're capable of. It doesn't matter that we're mathematically out [of the playoffs], this is the best job in the damn world. We've got to treat it as such. We've got to be men. We've got to play, we've got to come to work, until this is over with. We're not doing that."
"We need to play with some pride, man, we need to play with some pride," he continued. "I'm trying not to cuss right now. We have to play with some damn heart, this is crazy, this is ridiculous. ... We've got to play like this is the blessing that it is. We're over here taking this for granted. We need to check our hearts at the door. We've got six games left. We lost seven [straight], come on, man, we're better than that. We've got to play with some damn heart."
"I'm trying not to cuss right now" is one of the most underrated displays of incredible anger. The self-awareness built into a statement like "I'm trying not to cuss right now" acknowledges a certain reckless rage -- it's no guarantee ("I'm trying"), which makes it seem potentially unavoidable. That's how strong the anger is: it may be more powerful than my ability to stop it. It's a powerful rhetorical tool.
Also, questioning teammates' manhood after getting lit up for 33 points and shooting 6-19 yourself is quite bold. Matthews shot 5-16 in Portland's last game on Wednesday. Is that a lack of heart and pride ... or is Portland just crashing back down to Earth after spending most of the season exceeding expectations? I would argue the latter. While you never want to run out a long losing streak, the Blazers have faced teams in the playoff hunt in nine straight games, and five of those have been on the road. It's not like Portland's getting blown out by the Suns or anything. Good teams win games. These teams are all better than Portland. That's a good enough explanation.
Basically, I'm trying not to cuss right now, but chill out Wes Matthews.