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Good for Ray!

I may be alone on an island here, but I'm going to throw my controversial 2 cents into the mix with a simple statement:

Good for you Ray!

This was the first game I attended all season and I had the pleasure of sitting next to Ray's lovely girl and his baby son Ray-Ray. We didn't really get a chance to talk but the kid was cute. During the incident I felt extremely sorry for her as she simply shouted "No...No...No!" over and over and was clearly very upset by what happened. She later disappeared into the locker room and did not return.

At the time I agreed with her. "No, No, No!" seemed like the right thing to be saying. A few hours later and I'm starting to think Ray deserved a solid "Kick his ass!" from the crowd. During the several possesions prior to Ray Allen throwing punches at Keyon Dooling he was blatantly pushed, elbowed, and otherwise abused without any help offered from the referees. On the play prior to Keyon Dooling being inserted into the game his lip was bloodied by an obvious elbow to the face but no foul was called. It will never be confirmed but seemed likely that Dooling was on the floor with the specific mission to target Ray either to instigate an ejection, or to intimidate him with contact.

If I have one major criticism of Ray Allen as a player it is that every defender in the league knows that to get him off his game you simply have to be extremely physical. Push him, bump him, elbow him, don't let him get into that smooth rhythm that he is so accustomed to. When teams defeat the Sonics it is almost always in large part because they assigned a physical defender to our most consistant scorer.

Some people will argue that fighting is never right, and they may be correct. I teach my child that fighting is ALMOST always wrong and that one of the most important decisions you can make as a man is when to stand up for yourself. When lines are crossed in battles of testosterone you must retaliate or lose face. If you chose appropriately when to assert yourself you will avoid conflict just because people around you know that you're not afraid of it.

The Sonics are known as a team of softies and Ray Allen as a silky smooth player who is deadly but not aggressive. After giving it some thought I'm glad to see that our gentleman leader will also not take any crap. He is not above defending himself when the opposition is trying to physically intimidate him and we've all seen the dividends that intimidation can return when teams line up against Danny Fortson.

9 times out of 10 simply playing his incredible offensive game will be enough for Ray Allen to make his point. Those physical defenders will lay off when the jumpers go down. Psyscologically though it is nice to know that he is not willing to simply accept guys beating on him. Somewhere this season you will see a defender try to physically intimidate Ray Allen. You will see Ray stand up to them, and you will see the Referees force the defender to be less physical, rather than risk an altercation. When you do remember this fight.