Oden might be the guy that brings toughness to this team next year, but they need someone to protect the guys this year. I am usually an advocate of brushing off hard fouls and cheap shots, stepping up and winning games instead of fighting back but I am seriously rethinking this after the Blazers' last few games.
Josh Howard tonight, Jeff Foster and Brad Miller in the past week have all roughed up the Blazers with no help from the officials.
Joel has stepped up in the past and gotten in guys faces over hard fouls but I would really like to see the players defend their teamates, especially if the officals will not call flagrants or technicals or sometimes even fouls when the Blazers are getting manhandled. Maybe if they got in these guys' faces after the cheap shots, the refs would take notice and start calling some of the fouls.
I'm not calling it a bias or even bad officiating. They just aren't protecting the players and the Blazers need to make them aware of that. At the very least, these guys that make their living intimidating guys need to know they are messing with the wrong guys instead of walking away unscathed.
If Jack, Joel, and Raef don't step up and protect the younger guys, Roy will keep getting manhandled, LMA will keep getting held and pushed out of position and the Blazers will keep losing games. Where is the fire to win? The unity they feel from working hard together needs to be expressed by stepping up and protecting each other when opposing teams are roughing up their brothers.