Remember Bulls coach Scott Skiles' thinly veiled calls for retaliation following Rasheed Wallace's merry antics the last time they played?
And Chicago coach Scott Skiles especially took Wallace's actions to heart, saying after the game that if he were still playing, "I would have done something about it."
Rasheed doesn't care.
"I mean, (expletive), do it," Wallace said. "I'm not in their locker room, that's on them, not me. That's on them, and it doesn't affect me. If that's things that Scott said, you know, it's directed toward his players, and like I said, somebody had to step up and play D on me, block my shot and something like that. It ain't on me."
All the newspapers in Detroit and Chicago are understandably re-hashing that first game, but unfortunately only the Chicago Tribune is telling the complete story.
Apparently, the main source of Rasheed's fun was abusing Andres Nocioni, who's developed a bit of a reputation as a "goon" around the league and upset the Pistons last year with a dirty foul on Tayshaun Prince. I remember reading this explanation in one of the Chicago papers a couple of days after that game, but I've never seen it mentioned once in any of the Detroit dailies.
Ball don't lie! Ball don't lie!
That was the taunt of Detroit's Rasheed Wallace as the Pistons were blowing out the Bulls 92-79 at the United Center earlier this month.
Bulls players clanked free throws during a third-quarter meltdown and missed 17 in the game. Wallace wheeled in for a shot, yelled, "Bank!" and the ball went in. Wallace chortled loudly as he ran back down court.
The Pistons flexing their muscle and confidence as early-season championship favorites?
Nothing of the kind. Once again, a team had decided to attack the Bulls' Andres Nocioni, who last season committed an ugly foul—the Pistons called it dirty—on Tayshaun Prince.
"No big deal," Nocioni said after the Bulls defeated the Raptors in Toronto on Wednesday night and prepared to head to Detroit for Friday night's game with the Pistons. "It's just a game. I play hard sometimes. I hit him in [the] eyebrow."
The Pistons weren't in the winking, or forgiving, mood.
"'Sheed was laughing at Nocioni because guys say Nocioni is tough but not that tough," one Piston said later. "They wanted to let him know that his act doesn't faze them."
Both the Free Press and News have articles today about that last game, but Nocioni's name isn't mentioned once. That's too bad, because it makes the storyline all the more compelling.
For what it's worth, none of the Pistons seem to think that last game will be an issue tonight. Maybe they're right, but I wish they were wrong, just for the sole purpose of the old Detroit-Chicago rivalry heating up again.
For Bulls, it's no laughing matter [Chicago Tribune]
Rasheed gets last laugh at the Bulls [Detroit Free Press]
Chicago won't worry Wallace [Detroit News]