One of the biggest threads from the first half to me was the verbal sparring between Brandon Roy and Paul Pierce. Pierce has always talked a good deal, and a) joining up with Kevin Garnett and Sam Cassell, and b) winning a title ... those have only made Pierce's mouth motor stronger. Roy, though, isn't considered much of a talker. Portland as a whole has taken on a bit of a "soft" reputation, earned or not.
But Roy did not let the war of the words become one-sided Friday.
Roy might have been talking more than Pierce. In one sequence captured by the ESPN cameras, Roy dribbled the ball slowly across the midcourt line with Pierce playing off him, pedaling in reverse. Roy was staring straight into Pierce, emphatically offering his opinion. Pierce, of course, was answering right back. After a few seconds, Roy destroyed Pierce on the right block with a Dream Shake that about landed Pierce in the cheering section.
The pair kept it up when the game seemed out of reach, with Roy at the free throw line barking back at Pierce a few feet away. A ref stepped in and warned them both, and Roy left the game for good soon after. With that void created, Garnett took up the yapping mantle.
In the final spell, once Boston has stopped Portland's desperate run in the fourth, Garnett hearkened to his Calderon moment by chasing Jerryd Bayless ... from all fours. Dave of Blazers Edge explains.
Kevin Garnett had his bag of tricks open again tonight. The crowning moment came when he got down like a dog on all fours after Jerryd Bayless on an inbounds play late in the fourth. (I don't know if the local TV cameras caught it but the ESPN cameras did.) The national announcers were flabbergasted, saying they'd never seen anything like that.The ESPN feed wasn't particularly helpful in this instance, except for the utter disbelief expressed by Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy. "Flabbergasted" is the right word -- Breen and JVG acted as if Nate McMillan sent a circus bear into the game. Dave recommends that Garnett should receive a bounce pass to the skull the next time he pulls something like this, and I'm inclined to agree. Intensity and pride have their limits, man. (For what it's worth, Bayless did attack the basket as soon as he avoided Garnett's bark. Bayless seemed mad ... but then again, he always looks mad.)