It's only natural that fans ramp up the intensity during the playoffs. While regular-season games matter, a postseason game matters way more, and teams usually need to feed off the home crowd to win. So, in that sense, we should applaud Portland Trail Blazers fans for supporting their team Thursday night against the Mavericks for their first home game of the playoffs. The Blazers pulled out 97-92 win and got themselves back into the series. They couldn't have done it without their fans.
Still, at least one Portland fan deserves some criticism for their performance Thursday night. Because, as it turns out, someone hit Mavs owner Mark Cuban in the face with a projectile. From Tim McMahon at ESPNDallas.com (via TBJ):
The incident occurred midway through the fourth quarter after Cuban had been interacting with the fans in the section behind the Mavericks' bench. Cuban was not injured.
"I don't know what it was, but something hit me in the face," said Cuban, who encouraged fans to boo him more by putting his hand by his ear.
Extra security was assigned to the area behind the Mavericks' bench for the remainder of the game. There were no other issues.
It bears mentioning here that Cuban invited fan scorn last night and has done this for more than a decade in the NBA. It's not as if a Blazers fan pelted Spurs owner Peter Holt or Celtics boss Wycliffe Grousbeck. Cuban is loud and obnoxious. He acts like a professional wrestling heel and gets treated like a professional wrestling heel.
Then again, it's a seriously Steigerwaldian argument to say that someone deserves to be hit in the face with a projectile because he is an annoying fan. No matter how famous a fan may be, that person enters an arena with the general expectation that he will not be treated inhumanely. Cuban didn't deserve anything like this.
It takes just one jerk to make an entire crowd seem like hooligans, and I'm sure that the vast majority of Blazers fans at the Rose Garden on Thursday night acted like passionate, yet not insane, fans. Hopefully no one will act like a buffoon for Game 4 on Saturday. Portland deserves a good reputation.