[Isaiah] Thomas said after the second game: we do not like them, they do not like us …
“Which is a popular story with the media. This hostility thing between these two teams looks a bit different, though. We play tougher, but we only care about our own team, while they want to provoke us. Avery Bradley approached me last game and said that if I set one more screen, he’s going to beat me up.”
And what was the reply?
“I laughed at him. I advised him to come to come back when he grows up and gains some weight. It really is the Celtics who get excited with this. In other words, they build their unity around their disliking of the Wizards players.”
The Wizards wore all black to a regular-season game against the Celtics, but only the Celtics want to provoke the Wizards? OK.
To be fair to Gortat, he clearly wanted nothing to do with the all-black gimmick. Via Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic that night:
But Gortat ought to own his team’s role in escalating the rivalry.
No matter who provoked whom, it’s hard to see the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Bradley beating up the 6-foot-11, 240-pound Gortat. Beyond the size difference, Bradley is basketball tough and Gortat is fighter tough.