Ok, so I was thinking as I was watching the game last night, that our defense could learn a lot from Boston's intensity. They play hard (and get away with a lot of fouls) all game long, and it tends to wear an opponent out over time so that at some point by the end of the game, the opponent is second guessing or just frustrated to the point of losing command of their offense.
On the other hand, it seemed that all the Blazers had to do was look at somebody wrong and they would pick up a foul -- which often seems like a trend with the Blazers since they haven't yet earned the respect of the refs and the league, so apparently they have not yet earned the right to play a team like Boston on a level playing field (as a side note, the concept of earning respect from refs seems similar to a handicap system in golf, only it punishes the lesser teams as opposed to making the game more even. I can't remember anyone ever thinking that Tiger Woods has really proven his worth so he should start out a couple of shots ahead at the next Masters, but that rant is for another day.)
My thought here is this: What would happen if the Blazers just decided that they would commit to hard, physical defense in a game like this and do not deviate from that one iota regardless what the referees were doing? Would the refs and the NBA really foul out all of our players (especially big men) so that we may need to forfeit on a nationally televised game? Or would they eventually let us get away with the same hacks, goaltending and taunts that Boston seems to get away with?
Would the Blazers be able to make the statement with their play that they are going to continue to play aggressive and to match what the other side is doing? Would they eventually be given more leeway to play physical defense even against the leagues little darlings?
I really don't know, but it seems that that is what the Celtics do. They intimidate the refs as much as anyone, and they dare them to actually call the fouls they see - of course, then they complain about it, but that is ubiquitous in most professional sports. I am not sure if this is done, but I would like to see a team just body up and challenge the league to either let the teams play by the same set of rules or foul all of their key players out for trying to defend in a similar, aggressive manner as we have seen the Celtics do time and again. What do you think?
My greatest hope is that in a few years we won't even be having this discussion because we will be beating people badly enough anyway. Or we will be getting the benefit of such leniency and I will be telling the opposing fans how they just have to earn it and play through it :-)