From the O-Blog..
Had a phone conversation with Ruben today. His first words:
I can't help but feel sorry the guy. What he did Sunday in New York was vintage Ruben: A knee-jerk reaction filled with emotion.
In our conversation, Ruben insists he didn't cuss out Nate, but rather used cuss words while telling Nate that he didn't want to go back into the game.
At any rate, Ruben _ as we have seen so many times _ lost his cool. But this time, he couldn't let it go. The sting of last season's house-cleaning after the firing of Maurice Cheeks is still very real to Patterson, as Nate McMillan revealed a portion of his morning meeting with Patterson:
"I understand Ruben's point and he understood mine,'' McMillan said. "Basically we talked about what do we do now. How do we handle the situation? You're unhappy, you've said that since summer that you are not a four and I'm trying to you at play at four and three to buy minutes.
"But he's never really gotten over last year,'' McMillan said. "He's tried to work, I appreciate what he's done because he has worked hard, but he's still bitter.''
I didn't think the Blazers' punishment would be this harsh. I thought they would fine him, maybe suspend him for one game, but sending him home? Anyone who knows Ruben knows that he's emotional and can say things off-the-cuff, and captain Joel Przybilla was one of the many who was taken aback.
"I didn't think this would lead to what it did,'' Przybilla said after Monday's practice. "I thought he would return to practice and bust his butt like usual and prove that it was just a heat-of-the-moment thing.''
Incidentally, Przybilla was the primary player who took control of the situation early in the blowup, immediately saddling up to Patterson and putting his arm around him in attempts to quiet him.
"Guys get frustrated a lot, trust me, there are times when I get down and wish someone would talk to me,'' Przybilla said. "That's why I tried to talk to him, calm him, because sometimes guys say and do things they wish they hadn't. I didn't want him to make a mistake. Ruben, I have a good relationship, and we have been through too much, so I don't want him to do something he regret. He's a great guy who has a great heart.''
Patterson's beef is twofold. He wishes he was playing more _ he's averaging 19.5 minutes this season, down from the 28 he averaged last season _ and he hates seeing the Blazers lose while he sits on the bench and younger guys make mistakes that he thinks he could correct.
"I get frustrated when I see things that I can be of help,'' Patterson said Monday.
Patterson went out with Damon Stoudamire Monday night, then said he will take the first flight out of Memphis on Tuesday and head back to Portland. Then he plans to go home to Columbus, Ohio where he can be with his kids.
"That will put a smile on my face,'' Patterson said.
He says he realizes that his emotional ways can get him in trouble sometimes, and he says that has already carried over to his kids.
"My six-year-old daughter is the same way,'' Patterson said, chuckling. "We play games, and she gets mad when I beat her. I guess it's in the blood. She's just like me, she just wants to win.''
In closing, Patterson said that he and McMillan are fine, and always have been, even through this ordeal. He said Nate called him later in the evening and wished him well and wished him a Happy Thanksgiving. Patterson added that he will be watching every Blazers game.