So somehow last night we pulled it off. Both of the last two games were terrible to watch, the refs let everyone be a little too physical, and in doing so, the true characters of some of the opposing players came out. In the celtics game we saw Garnett taking swipes at people after the whistles, I saw Paul Peirce gut check Andre Miller, all of the Celtics spent the whole game whining to the refs about how they didn't get ALL the calls to go their way. Then last night the refs swallowed their whistles while the pistons turned into a pack of wolves in the second half. Not only did our young squad have to contend with Rip Hamilton's notoriously lady like fingernails, but they also had to deal with Stuckey's constant unchecked hand checking above the circle, and one Charlie V. who got nice and personal with Juwan Howard's throat after an excessive foul on our (just returned from back surgery) Rudy Fernandez.
And somehow, even though our team is ridiculously depleted, our guys took Boston to OT, and managed to take one from a struggling Pistons team in The Palace. How playa is that? So I'm wondering what is it about our guys, that seems to bring out the worst in other teams? Is it our youth? Nobody likes a young know-it-all (or in this case play-it-all).
Is it the fact that our guys don't get extremely emotional when the other teams are trying to play rough and get in their heads? Nothing's more frustrating then someone not responding in kind when you've gotten yourself in a froth.
Is it the fact that even though we are playing rookies big minutes against these guys who have been to all-star weekend, and even participated in them? It's pretty threatening to be taken out of your game by guys who espn has never seen or heard of.
I think it's because we don't play THEIR games anymore. This team has elevated itself to a new plane, and somehow it's taken the decimation of our squad and the greatest team and character building experiment that I have ever witnessed in this franchises history to do it. If you would have told me that our team would be playing without Joel Pryzbilla, Greg Oden, Nicolas Batum, Brandon Roy, Rudy Fernandez, Jerryd Bayless, Travis Outlaw, and Steve Blake, for significant stretches this season and we would be Fourth in the conference half way through the season playing on the backs of guys like Pendergraph and Cunningham, I would have called you, well I'm sure you can figure that out for yourselves.
The good news is, we only have to see some of these guys one more time this year, not withstanding a run at the Finals.
So I would like to raise my glass to the tenacity of this team, just when I thought I couldn't love you guys anymore, well you give me even more reason.