Sunday, May 8, 2011


One of the things that irritate sports fans is when we are reminded, and this happens far too often thanks to the players own foolishness and the closeness of the news media, that the players do not really care as much about the winning and the losing as the fans seem to. And it's especially irritating when it happens in a game where the teams are supposed to have real heat for each other, or with a team that is supposed to be filled with hard men with steely eyes for each other.

Tonight in Boston, in a game that could have ended any real chance of the Celtics winning their series with the Heat, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo got tangled up in a post-whistle tango where both men were probably at fault. Rondo fell badly, dislocating his elbow in a horrific moment of film that was borderline nauseating, leading to a trip to the trainer's room for the Celtics' point guard. The Celtics' trainers popped the elbow, speaking to the man's ridiculous toughness, and he came back to the game and played effectively down the stretch with just one hand, scoring more points in the fourth with one arm than he had in the first three quarters with two.

Now, that's all well and good; if Rondo wore my laundry, I'd be geeking hard for him right now, and Celtic Fan can feel well and truly thrilled for this fresh moment of Team Lore. (And lo, the Celtics have Lore; with this fan base, it would be damn near impossible not to.)

But I have just one question, for the team that was opposing Rondo tonight.

Just what in the hell were you people thinking?

You are playing against a point guard with one working arm. According to the sideline reporter, your players were expressing concern for his condition. Such compassion, really. After the injury... the Heat played him *exactly* the same as they did before. With no ball pressure, no full-court heat, no tough screens, nothing. Rondo is a poor percentage free throw shooter when he is able-bodied, and the Heat trailed: did they foul the man and put him on the line? Nope. Not at all.

Instead, they trailed, lost, and gave their opponent life and lore and love for their on-court leader. Rather then, well, be the arrogant win at all costs bullies and bad guys that they were supposed to be, against an opponent they were supposed to hate, in the arena where their big free-agent acquisition and MVP candidate lost in disgrace last year.

So if you want to call the Heat frauds? An insulting term that's usually associated with felines? Bullies, soft cases, poseurs?

Yup. They are all of that, and more.

And if it had been Wade trying to play with one arm?

They'd have pressured him, fouled him, and generally gone for the kill.

You know, like a team that wanted to actually end the season for their opponent, rather than just win a game.

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