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The West Won't Be Bullied This Postseason

Apparently, ish is really real in the Western Conference. Those Lakers, roundly dismissed as soft after Boston beat them down in the Finals last year? Always looking to start something. The Blazers, a team constantly looking to get tougher inside and show they've got the grit necessary to stare down teams in the playoffs? Quick to bust back. At least that's the impression Brandon Roy gave yesterday, reacting to the notorious Fernandez-Ariza Incident (has there ever been a more 1743, span-the-Atlantic and plunder gold-sounding event in recent basketball?). ↵
↵From The Oregonian, here's Roy: ↵
↵⇥"Anybody fouls our guys like that, we're going to respond," said All-Star guard and team captain Brandon Roy. "We didn't throw any punches, but we let them know we're not going to stand for it. ↵⇥
↵⇥"It's funny. Before the game, me and LaMarcus (Aldridge) were laughing, saying, 'They're going to do something.' He was like, 'Well, we'll be ready.' And I was like, 'Yeah, we will be ready.' So I'm not saying that we predicted it, but we knew they were going to ... try to be a bully. Again, I'm not trying to say (the Lakers are) dirty. But it just seems like every time we play them (there's something). But we're ready to defend one another. That's what we have to do." ↵
↵Measured, mature, and totally Brandon, but there's that edge to it that's conveniently absent from a lot of what the Blazers (or the Lakers) say or do. I think Portland might have even more work to do after the embarrassment that was Rudy's colossal flop. But maybe the West as a whole got together, sat down, and decided to talk just a little more tough in these last few months of the regular season. That way, Pau, or LaMarcus, or whoever, won't blush and look the other way when Kevin Garnett starts comparing their moms to a farm animal he personally eviscerated with all the presents they ever got as child. On Christmas. What!?!↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.