The Brooklyn Nets put a hurting on Atlantic Division rival Philadelphia Tuesday night in the Wells Fargo Center, but the game became secondary. Despite moving to 6-1 under interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo, a police questioning involving reserve center Andray Blatche was all anyone wanted to talk about.
Blatche, who has run into legal issues before, was questioned by Philadelphia police regarding an alleged sexual assault. Philadelphia police commissioner Charles Ramsey has already absolved Blatche of the crime against a 21-year old exotic dancer the Net's crew encountered in the early hours Tuesday morning.
"From all accounts, (Blatche) was not personally involved in any kind of assault or anything like that," Ramsey told Wendy Ruderman of the New York Times. “He was there but he was not involved.”
Blatche and his entourage were reportedly celebrating the center's contract becoming guaranteed for the remainder of the season. He has a history with the law but had changed his tune since becoming a member of the Nets.
The reformation might not be complete, however.
On the same day as Brooklyn's 109-89 win over Phiadelphia, Blatche was reportedly in the area of the sexual assault committed at roughly 3:30 a.m. in a Four Seasons suite. The witness, who was "so intoxicated" at the time to not make a "very good witness" accused one member of rape following consensual sex with another man.
An ambulance took the victim for examination and a rape kit.
Blatche and the Nets subsequently had to deftly sidestep questions about what happened and his status for Tuesday night's game. General manager Billy King issued a press release to put the brakes on rumors and innuendo involving one of his players.
"We will have no further comment until the investigation has concluded," King said in the statement. "All of our players are available for tonight's game."
Blatche denied all involvement prior to scoring 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting against the Sixers.
"I had nothing to do with nothing," Blatche said prior to the game. "I'm just here to play basketball and I'm focused on the game tonight."
Following the game, the Nets bandied about the term "resiliency." Unfortunately this was not an unforeseen act of God. A member of the team willingly put himself in a compromising position not long before the team was scheduled for shootaround.
"We've had to deal with some adversity the last couple of weeks," Deron Williams said. "But we're a resilient group. We stick together as a team and we did that tonight."
"NBA players are resilient," Carlesimo said. "That is one of their traits. They come to play."
Although Blatche has been cleared and the team has withheld comment pending an investigation, Blatche's suite contained a date rape drug and his cell phone with"compromising" pictures of the alleged victim. Two of the men with Blatche's group are still in police custody.
While Blatche has been cleared of this crime, the incident can only be described as disappointing considering the Nets' trust in Blatche after a checkered career. He's coming off of a $35 million extension with the Wizards and received a $1.5 million guarantee with the Nets.