by Brett Edwards
I'm sure Joey Crawford and the rest of the NBA officials are having a good laugh these days over sticking it to the Pistons the last few games. In a very Mark Cuban-like move, Bulls coach Scott Skiles accused the Pistons of complaining about every call, adding that he thought they've been doing it all season. So, in Friday night's contest against Skiles' Bulls, the Pistons received 5 technical fouls. Rip Hamilton accused the Bulls coach of stirring things up first, saying he was "talking slick" to the Pistons' bench. Then in Sunday's game against the Cavs, Joey Crawford set the tone very early.
Crawford called two first quarter technicals on Detroit, one on Tayshaun prince and one on Flip Saunders. He told Saunders, "Hey, you're not talking tonight. If you think I am going to sit here and talk to you all game, forget it. I will throw you out."" Saunders responded by saying "I'm going to talk like I always do." Later he downplayed this remark by basically saying that if he just sat there and didn't talk to the refs at all, he would lose his job. OK Flip.
Not surprisingly, Rasheed Wallace has been slightly involved in this. He received a flagrant foul Sunday, and when asked about it "Sheed responded "I am not going to start the game by cracking a cat in the skull if I didn't get elbowed first." Awesome. Then in last night's rematch with the Cavs, Rasheed received a T for laughing when Ilgauskas retaliated for Sunday's flagrant. 'Sheed's respone to this: "No laughing in basketball, it's a serious sport or you're going to get thrown out."
So what's the bottom line in all of this? The Pistons have received 10 technicals over the last 3 games, and have won all 3 games by an average of 10+ points per game. Once again, let's turn to Rasheed for what this all means: "When you're on top, all people are going to do is bring you down. That's pretty much all I can say about that. We just have to keep doing what we've been doing, all the techs, like three, four, five a game, all we do is win."
And finally: "That's the ultimate spit in the face right there. They want to see the downfall, but we can't let them." Exactly, my man, I couldn't have said it better myself.