Friday, May 30, 2008


When I coached I was adamant with my kids - don't bitch about the officiating. Period.

I didn't want to hear it, and the officials sure as hell didn't want to hear it. I used to tell the kids that complaining about the officiating was the coach's prerogative - because, while annoying, I could live with it if I garnered us a 15-yard penalty. If one of my players cost the team by getting a 15 called on him for complaining to an official, then he was getting benched.

I only note this for Rasheed Wallace's skewed grip on reality as demonstrated in his profanity laced tirade about the called penalties and people flopping all over the place in Wednesday's game.

It's funny in as much the Pistons were regularly mugging Paul Pierce and not getting called. The refs gave the Pistons a gift flagrant against the C's P.J. Brown early in the game. The Pistons went to the line for 38 foul shots to the Celtics 30.

Wallace is only the tip of the ice-berg.

Detroit has made it to six consecutive conference finals. They've been there before. Which is what makes Wallace's teammates whining about the pleasantries between him and Kevin Garnett before and after each game puzzling.

While I'm sure they think they're trying to set an attitude throughout the team - all they're really doing is creating (at least the appearance of) a rift in the locker room.

Do his teammates really think that Wallace isn't playing his ass off from tip to horn? Do they expect him to put up Kevin Garnett numbers? Do they think that he should be able to completely neutralize Garnett? Garnett, the defensive player of the year, hasn't been able to neutralize Wallace.

The things happening in the Pistons locker-room are not indicative of a team that thinks it's going to win. Rather, it's indicative of a team looking for a scapegoat...reasons why they lost, rather than preparing for a game to win.

Don't get me wrong. I still feel as though Detroit is an extraordinarily dangerous team to the Celtics, and that they have a very good chance of winning given the fact that the Celtics have demonstrated time and again in these playoffs that they just don't have the cajones to go for the jugular when they have their opponents' backs to the wall.

But this is ridiculous.

Through every level of athletics I have participated in, I have had friends on opposing teams - youth, high school, college, club. On every level I have talked to those people before and/or after the games. Sometimes I've gone and a had a beer with them afterwards. Never have I gone easy because they guy I was against was someone I knew. If anything, I've typically been more intense if I've been matched up against a friend.

And I'm not getting paid.

I have a hard time believing that Wallace might be going easy on Garnett just because they're friends.

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