When Push Comes To Shove
I was expecting to hear Marcus Camby say he was angry for being ejected from Saturday night's game (and the subsequent fine that comes along with it) after a tussle with Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin. And I'm sure Camby was upset, but anger wasn't the emotion that he singled out when talking about the incident.
"I hate coming out of ball games and being forced to get ejected," said Camby. "That hasn't happened in a while for me. I felt embarrassed, me being a captain, I wanted to be out there for my team in the second half."
It's interesting, in a league that runs on Gatorade and testosterone, to hear a veteran express sheepishness about an action that many in the NBA would applaud. Nevertheless, Camby noted when asked about the hefty fines and suspensions for fighting, which have resulted in a near consequence-free environment that allows behaviors which would usually result in a punch to the mouth go unchecked, that he's always wished the NBA was more like another professional league.
"I always said, growing up, I wished the NBA was like hockey," said Camby. "You know, let guys go out there and fight and it'll eliminate a lot of the tough guys you think are tough guys in the NBA."
I think we can all think of a few guys Camby may be referring to.
Spring (Small) Forward, Fall Back
Gerald Wallace is a guy whose toughness goes unquestioned. The easiest way to tell is that he's never trying to prove it to anyone, even when someone is asking for it. He let's his floor burns do the talking.
Though usually those raspberries don't start talking until the next day. When asked if he knew how many times he hit the deck Saturday against the Wizards, Wallace said that he typically doesn't know how bad the damage is until he wakes up.
"I'll tell you about it tomorrow," said Wallace. "That's when I'm going to feel it. I don't feel it right now… I can tell you everywhere I fell at the next day. I can tell you that much. Right now I'm all off adrenaline so I don't really feel anything."
We'll get a more accurate tally tomorrow on the flight to Indianapolis.
Elliot Williams Eat And Play Combo
Finally, the Trail Blazers will likely be one player short for the rest of the trip when Elliot Williams hops a flight back to Portland Sunday to have an MRI on his recently dislocated left shoulder. And while I wouldn't want to minimize Elliot's importance on the court, the loss might be felt equally off the court, at least when it comes to Gerald Wallace.
You see, I get the feeling that many assume Gerald Wallace's closest confidant on the Trail Blazers, by virtue of their having played together in Charlotte, is Raymond Felton. And I'm sure they are close, but after having spent a fair amount of time on the road with the team this year, I can say with some certainty that Williams is Wallace's go-to guy, at least as it pertains to two very important road activities: eating and playing cards.
Gerald and Elliot often dine together (though I assume never at pizza parlors
and/or whatever they call places that serve quiche) often times making while shooting free throws right before practice ends. Case in point: after practice in Minneapolis, Elliot suggested they go to Appleby's for dinner, a suggestion which Gerald vetoed in favor of a trip to Morton's. But with Elliot set to depart for the west coast, it sounds like Gerald will be on his own for the next week and a half.
Said Wallace: "I think I might have to eat alone."
And what's more, he might have to either lower his culinary standards or dip into his own pocket, as Williams has gotten the better of Wallace and his per diem at the card table.
"I'm down," said Wallace in reference to his winnings, or lack thereof. "He's taking all the money home with him. That's not really fair"
Having myself spent a fair amount of hours around various felt-covered tables, I know that one of the cardinal sins when it comes to friendly games of chance is not giving your opponent an opportunity to win their money back. Gerald would have had ample time to do just that during the second half of the trip, or at least he would have had Chris Johnson not popped Elliot's shoulder out of socket. But when Elliot flies back to Portland International, so too will Gerald's losses, though that doesn't necessarily mean he's given up on getting square.
"Imma have to call my hitman, you know what I'm saying?" joked Wallace. "I'll get it back. There's plenty more flight this season. We'll see him again."