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On handling Rasheed Wallace

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The fallout of Rasheed's quick ejection in Wednesday's game continues. He left Thursday's practice without answering questions (just like he was out of the locker room on Wednesday before the media was let in), leaving his teammates to answer questions for him. Pistons.com's Keith Langlois spoke about the situation:

Rasheed Wallace’s undeniable image problem springs almost wholly from his difficulties in dealing with two groups – NBA officials and the media. He talks to officials when he usually shouldn’t. He won’t talk to the media when he often should. If the Pistons could flop that equation, they’d have something.

And his teammates – who clearly are squirming a little at the position he’s putting them in through his accumulation of technical fouls, like the two he picked up to earn a swift ejection from their home-opening loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday night – would like to make it happen. They just aren’t sure how.

"Nothing," Chauncey Billups shrugged after Thursday’s practice when I asked him what his teammates could do to improve the situation. "Just be there for him, really. Just talk him through it. There’s nothing you can really, really do. It’s him."

So have they talked?

"Yeah," he said. "Of course. But it’s instincts. I can tell you anything I want, but if it’s your instincts, you revert back to that. So I can talk as much as I want, y’all can write about it as much as you want. But it’s instincts, at the end of the day, and it’s tough to change instincts."

Langlois also spoke with Lindsey Hunter:

"I don’t think it’s about modifying his behavior," Lindsey Hunter said, "I think it’s just about channeling it in the right way. He can still be emotional and go up and get a big rebound. Be emotional and go up and block a shot."

It’s usually pretty clear when Wallace is building to a blowup. Have his teammates considered interceding, getting in his face and pulling him out of harm’s way?

"That makes it worse," Hunter said. "You just have to channel it another way. If he has to yell at his teammates, hey, yell at us, man. It’s OK."

Wednesday's game was filled with so many anomalies that I'm not all that concerned... except when it comes to Wallace's relationship with the referees. With any luck, Wallace will clam up and/or the referees will ease up on their trigger finger a few weeks into the season. Only time will tell.

The need for ’Sheed, II [Pistons.com]