Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Can you hear this, or does Gilbert need to turn it up for you?

That photo is courtesy of MDMadness on Terp Town, which he in turn stole from sergeantmofo of the Terrapin Times boards

Let me start this by completely disqualifying myself of any objective analysis by saying that I love me some Gil Arenas. He's an electrifying player who, along with Antawn Jamison, has jump-started the laughingstock franchise known as Les Bullez.

So in last night's game at the MCI/Verizon/Bell Atlantic/NYNEX* Center, the Wiz and Celts were locked in an Arenas vs. Paul "I'm bleeeding" Pierce** shootout in overtime, and with 14 seconds left, Arenas drained a jumper to put the Wizards ahead, 115-114. The score gave Arenas his 10th and 11th points in the overtime period, so clearly feeling pretty good about himself, Arenas backpedals up the court and throws the double-barreled sign language at Celtics coach Glenn "Doc" Rivers. But alas, if anyone owns the Wizards it's Paul Pierce, and he went right down and drained a 22-foot fade-away at the buzzer to win the game.

Rivers is one of the coaches who didn't vote to put Arenas on this year's NBA All-Star team, and Arenas was outspoken about his disappointment over the matter. Gilbert admitted that it was a new "chip on his shoulder," and that he planned to use it as motivation, the same way he used not being a first-round draft pick as motivation early in his NBA career. He was later made a sub on the All-Star team, but apparently he was still mad enough last night about his initial snub to shoot some birds at the Celtics coach.

Now, I still haven't seen or heard this reported on TV, radio or newspapers, and I've been listening to SportsTalk 980 all morning and reading about the game online, so either the media missed it or they don't think it's worthy of mention. I only even noticed it because I'm a complete nerd who frequents about three different message boards each day.

My initial reaction was some minor outrage and disappointment in one of my favorite basketball players, but then I saw the picture and frankly... I think it's HILARIOUS. Granted, if Pierce had flipped off Eddie Jordan after draining the buzzer-beater, I'd be going crazy and calling for him to be kicked out of the league, but that's why I don't claim to be objective. Will Arenas be fined or suspended? That depends on if anyone in David Stern's office saw it. Am I outraged? No. What I am is embarrassed that after the gesture, the Wizards still lost the game.

My hope is that Arenas learned a lesson in backing up your trash talk. There's no worse feeling than making a great play in the heat of competition and capping it off by breaking out an epic put-down that you've been saving for just the right moment, only to have it stuffed right back in your face merely seconds later. If you're going to open your mouth after stepping it up on offense you better make it stick with some shut down defense, and NO ONE is accusing the Wizards of playing shut down defense. So Gil, I'm not going to tell you to deny the world of your middle fingers forever, just to save them for when you've just hit your own buzzer-beater or when you're team is up by 10 in the fourth quarter.

Oh wait, the Wizards were up by 10 in the fourth quarter last night.

*Verizon, who bought MCI and subsequently renamed D.C.'s Phone Booth, used to be called Bell Atlantic/NYNEX.
**Paul Pierce was stabbed repeatedly outside a Boston night club in 2000.
Also, the post title is a reference to the Mooninites on Aqua Teen Hunger Force, but you should have gotten the joke without having seen the show.

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