They were both asked the same question.
Do you think you can get past this?
Von Wafer and Delonte West are two very different guys with two very different personalities. So it stands to reason that when each were asked separately this weekend about moving on from their locker-room scuffle that took place Friday, they'd have two wildly different answers.
Wafer answered sarcastically, denying the fight and trying to change the subject.
"What, past the Knicks?" he responded prior to Friday night's game. "Yeah, I think if we play good, we can beat the Knicks."
West's response was a little different.
Two days after the fistfight that he allegedly instigated, West came clean about the incident at practice Sunday, and he sounded optimistic about himself, Wafer and the chemistry of the Celtics going forward.
"We’ve moved past that," he said. "We’re competitive guys. I’m competitive, he’s competitive. But as long as it's for the betterment of the team, there’s nothing wrong with healthy competition and pushing each other to get better. Things went a little far, but at the same time, we were able to move past that. We’re professionals, and we’re on to something different. We've forgotten all about it."
In other words, boys will be boys. The Celtics are just like any other team in professional sports — they're a competitive, driven, testosterone-fueled group, and these things happen. Whether it's competition for minutes, for supremacy on the practice floor, or just for a loftier position in the hierarchy of locker-room politics, there will always be teammates at odds with other teammates.
It happens. Constantly. Shaquille O'Neal noted that in his two decades of organized basketball, he's never gone a full season without a fight breaking out on his team.
West's off-the-court antics get a lot of attention, obviously, because of his checkered past and his medical history. But when looked at with the proper perspective, his dealings with Wafer on Friday aren't anything out of the ordinary.
"Guys get into scuffles, or whatever you want to call it," West said. "But at the end of the day, we’re like brothers in here. We're competitive, and we’ve got fiery guys in here, but you've got to move on and get to the next thing."
The beef between Wafer and West is understandable. They're competing to be the first two-guard off the bench for Doc Rivers, the backup for Ray Allen, the wing presence the Celtics' second unit needs. And neither one of them is faring well in that race.
West is suspended, and Wafer might as well not be playing, either. His stat line so far this season: two games played, 10 minutes, 0-for-1 shooting, zero points, zero rebounds, zero assists, two fouls, one turnover.
It's been a frustrating start for both players, and they both know that they're talented players with the potential to be much more. So it was almost inevitable that tensions would boil over.
But as they simmer back down, we can take inventory of the situation. The Celtics are moving on from Friday's fiasco, and in due time they'll realize two of their greatest assets: patience and perspective.
The season is still young. The team has three games down and 79 to go. This fight is one small bump in the road at the very start of their journey.
That road will keep winding, and the Celtics will keep working toward getting better — both on and off the court.
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