Just call him Joe Namath.
Andray Blatche is the latest athlete to guarantee a victory in a crucial contest, claiming that his Brooklyn Nets are a lock to beat the Toronto Raptors in Game 7 of an intense Eastern Conference playoff series. Well, they're "his" if you want to forget about Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
Hell, he's even behind Shaun Livingston on the list of players who have the greatest claim to the most expensive team in NBA history.
"Guarantee it," the big man said during a Friday shootaround, via New York Daily News' Stefan Bondy, apparently bolstered by the confidence of correctly predicting Game 6. "We’re going to go there and take care of business and go to Miami."
OK, Andray. If you say so.
Having confidence and making a prediction is nothing new, and it would be highly problematic if Blatche didn't actually think his Nets were going to win a do-or-die game. But at this point, the proclamations are occurring too frequently for them to mean much.
So just call him Joe Namath. Or don't.
At least back then, the prognostications from players were coming so few and far between that they only enhanced the drama. Oh, and they came from stars, not big men averaging 6.8 points per game on 44.4 percent shooting. Frankly, I'd be surprised if Dwane Casey even attempts to use Blatche's claim as billboard material.
Greivis Vasquez certainly isn't going to.
The Toronto point guard is correct, even if he's being a bit hypocritical by not letting Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan refute Blatche's statement.
Then again, DeRozan did:
Forgive me if I'm just as unenthused as the Raptors 2-guard.
After all, this memorable series will be settled on the hardwood, not before the game even begins during a war of words. Lowry and D-Will's matchup will be a determining factor, as will the battle between Pierce and Terrence Ross or Amir Johnson.
Then again, maybe Blatche is being sneakily brilliant here.
He'll surely take credit for the prediction if Brooklyn advances to a second-round matchup with the Miami Heat, and no one will remember his failed boast if Toronto emerges victorious from Game 7. It's not quite a win-win situation, but it's certainly a win-don't lose one.
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