Apr 20, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton (2) reacts on the court against the Boston Celtics during game one of the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

In Spite of Myself

Raymond Felton will always have a special place in my heart; that hidden corner that secretly wants people to trip when they’re balancing groceries or park their Mercedes near a flock of incontinent pigeons. It’s somewhere behind the aorta, I think. It seems strange to me now, that just two seasons ago I had absolutely no opinion on the man. He was just another decent point guard in a league overflowing with good ones. But that was then, and this is now.

As you likely know, the Raymond Felton I grew to despise spent an infamous year in the Rose City out of shape, out of touch, and out of his mind. He played with the decision making of a young Russell Westbrook and the charisma of an inflamed hemorrhoid. He was poison. Felton’s prima donna antics inevitably contributed to the release of then head coach, Nate McMillan. I’m well aware that the Blazers needed a change, but after years of valuable service, it shouldn’t have happened like that.

But back to present day. Nate is gone, Felton is gone, as are a slew of other players. So why can’t I let this go? Raymond is back in New York, where he wanted to be, but his heavily contested 20-footers still haunt my dreams. I guess I’m just bitter that such a brat could ride into town, muddle our comforters, and then land back in his dream role while we remake our bed for what feels like the thousandth time.

But, you see, I’m conflicted. The Boston Celtics have long been my least favorite franchise of the sporting world (sorry Celtic fans). There’s something about their swagger that makes my Blazer blood boil. So what do I do when they face off with Portland’s ghost of failures past in the first round of the playoffs? Do I stand behind my specter or swallow my pride and side with the Pierce, Rondo*, Garnett axis of evil? I find myself torn between the ugly colors of resentment and loathing. There’s just no winning.

Luckily, the champion is not decided in round 1. It all boils down to what I’d like to see in the long run; Miami-New York, or Miami-Boston for the conference title. Of course, these matchups are no guarantee, but foresight has never shared hindsight’s 20/20 vision. Personally, a Miami-New York rematch would warm my heart (even that shady part where Felton lurks). It looks like I’ve got a long road of compromise ahead of me, and that’s ok. I just can’t help but feel unclean.

Felton has been considerably better in New York than he ever was in Portland, although it seems that each of his positive contributions is an eyelash away from catastrophe. It’s a good thing he has the NBA scoring leader in Carmelo Anthony to make him look adequate, because there is no way the Knicks success can be attributed to his “talents”. So good luck, Raymond Felton. I only ask that you treat New York the way you treated Portland and take no responsibility for the team’s outcome.

(Unless, of course, they fail. Then the blame falls squarely on your pork shoulders. Take that!)

@davidmackaypdx | @ripcityproject | [email protected]

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Tags: Nba Playoffs New York Knicks Portland Trail Blazers Raymond Felton

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