By: Bogart Lipe
We're now a week into the Blake Griffin Era in Detroit, and it has gone wonderfully. The Pistons are 4-0 since the trade for Blake (yes we’re counting the game he didn’t play in) and the team looks holistically different than before. Following an 8 game losing streak, the last week has been euphoric.
It’s as if Pistons fans were dining in at Chili’s (despite what you may think, a poor and unfulfilling restaurant) for two weeks straight. They felt groggy after games. Maybe a little nauseous. They wanted more. Then all of a sudden, a La Saj Lebanese Bistro opens down the street (for my non-Macomb County readers, imagine your favorite chain restaurant taking the place of La Saj in this metaphor). The food? Splendid. The hospitality and energy of the restaurant? Newfound. The restaurant immediately wins 4 straight awards for their service. It’s groundbreaking.
You decide to go to dinner at the new La Saj. Anthony Tolliver greets you. He’s kind. He stands 6’8” and weighs 240 pounds, yet he seems gentle. You feel safe as he directs you to your table. You peer into the kitchen. You see a short, mustached figure. You think nothing of it. You look around, admiring the art on the numerous decorative walls. You’re stunned.
It’s a picture of Stan Van Gundy.
You look in the kitchen again. It’s him. You’re taken aback, but then think, “Anthony freaking Tolliver just escorted me to the table. This all makes sense.” You look back at the plaque on the wall. It commemorates Van Gundy for his excellent revamping of the recipes and menu. “Regardless of what critics may think, Van Gundy has shown the consistent ability to tweak with ingredients to try to bring the best meal out of the kitchen to each table”, the plaque says. Then, as if on cue, Blake Griffin walks up. Your girlfriend, whom you’re here with celebrating your 3 week anniversary together, faints. (You’re 16 and celebrating week anniversaries with your parents’ money in this metaphor. I forgot to mention it, but yeah. It’s okay.)
Your vision even blurs. He asks what you’d like to drink. You slur words. You have no idea what you just said. Blake says “Water with two pieces of lemon?” to confirm. You nod. How did he know?
A minute that feels like an hour passes by. Your girlfriend, who has started to get on your nerves because she’s doing better in your Physical Science class lately and won’t stop bragging, regains consciousness. As she lifts back up, you notice a towering shadow behind you. You turn.
It’s Andre Drummond. He brings you two waters, one for you and your recently responsive, Almost Facebook Official girlfriend. But there aren't any lemons. You start to say “Hey Dre, where are my le…..”
You see Blake toss the lemons to Dre. He jumps. He catches them. He dunks them into your cup of water. You don’t care that his bare hands were all over the pieces of lemon, or that he kind of completely squashed them. The restaurant goes nuts. You can’t remember the rest of the dinner, except for Tolliver safely and gently escorting you out of the La Saj, even giving you pita bread for the road.
“I love this restaurant”, you think to yourself, as Luke Kennard and Stanley Johnson open your mom’s new car doors for the two of you. You haphazardly back out of the parking spot you did a terrible job getting into earlier.
Everything feels right again.
The Pistons play the Nets tonight at 7pm, attempting to get over 0.500 and back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture once again.