The fans at the Rose Garden were chanting 'Beat L.A.' with the Trail Blazers en route to a blowout of the NBA-leading Los Angeles Lakers.
PORTLAND — The fans at the Rose Garden were chanting "Beat L.A." with the Trail Blazers en route to a blowout of the NBA-leading Los Angeles Lakers.
Then there was a stunned silence as rookie forward Rudy Fernandez lay on the court, wincing in pain after a hard foul.
"Beat L.A." was replaced by concerned shouts of "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!" as Fernandez was taken from the arena strapped to a stretcher, his neck in a brace.
Fernandez was hospitalized overnight, and X-Rays and a CT scan both came back negative. The Blazers called it a "soft tissue injury to his right upper chest/side area."
The Blazers wound up beating the Blazers 111-94 to cap a dramatic Monday night.
"It got pretty intense," said Brandon Roy, who led the Blazers with 27 points.
Travis Outlaw had 22 points for the Blazers, who have won 12 straight at the Rose Garden. Joel Przybilla added 12 points and 18 rebounds, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Kobe Bryant had 26 points and Pau Gasol added 18 for the Lakers, who haven't won at the Rose Garden in their last seven tries, a streak dating to Feb. 23, 2005.
The Blazers are among the NBA's best home teams with a 27-5 record. Their last loss at home was back on Jan. 21 when they fell 104-98 to Cleveland.
While the Lakers sit atop the Western Conference by a comfortable margin, the Blazers are hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2002-03 season. Portland and Utah are tied for fourth in the West.
"It was a great win," Portland coach Nate McMillan said. "We beat the best team in the league. And at this time of the season, with so many teams jockeying for the playoffs, beating the Lakers makes it even a bigger win."
Portland got off to a quick start and led comfortably the rest of the way. Fernandez hit a 3-pointer that gave Portland a 81-51 lead in the final minutes of the third quarter.
Shortly thereafter, he was driving to the basket on a fast-break when he was fouled by Lakers' reserve Trevor Ariza.
Fernandez fell hard under the basket on both his elbow and his hip. He remained prone on the court for several tense minutes before being taken away on a stretcher.
Fernandez was conscious and alert when he left the court, and he had full movement of his extremities, the team said.
Ariza was contrite.
"Nobody's trying to hurt anybody out there," he said. "I was just trying to go for the ball. I wasn't trying to hurt anybody or anything like that."
Immediately following the foul, while team trainers and coach Nate McMillan were attending to Fernandez, a skirmish broke out among the two teams. In the confusion there were some who said that Odom left the bench, although he denied it.
"I stood up but I stood right there — I didn't go nowhere," he said.
Ariza was ejected and the Blazers were assessed a pair of technical fouls in the aftermath. Roy balked at Ariza's reaction to the foul.
"I wasn't as mad until I saw Trevor's reaction to the foul, that's what sparked everybody," Roy said. "Don't start acting tough after you do a hard foul like that."
The Blazers went flat for a time after Fernandez went out, and the Lakers closed the gap to 89-73 midway through the fourth quarter.
But Portland wouldn't let Los Angeles get any closer. Roy sealed it with a statement dunk with 2:58 left that made it 106-79. Afterward, he chest bumped his teammates.
Center Joel Przybilla said the Blazers made a statement all around with the game.
"You've got to be proud of us. We're not going to back down from no one," he said. "We don't care who they are. Just because they're the Lakers and Kobe Bryant or whatever, if you take a shot at one of our players, we're going to have his back."