The next day's practice lasted more than two and a half hours, during which Sharman told his team, "They were pushing us all over and we weren't pushing back. We're still not aggressive enough." In other words, if an opponent elbows you in the Golden Gate Bridge, elbow him right back.
They were ready Thursday night in their home opener, in San Jose Civic Auditorium. (They also have home games in Daly City, Oakland, Fresno, San Diego, Phoenix and even The City.) Again the opponents were the Bulls, who had beaten the Lakers the night before for their third win in a row. Shortly after the tip-off Rodgers, as the videotape later showed, provoked Paul Neumann with an elbow to the left cheek and some whacks to the shoulder. Neumann swung at Guy, Guy swung back and before you could say Tony Bennett the benches were empty. Barry and Attles went after Rodgers and had to be dragged off. A double foul was called, but nobody was ejected or hurt. Minister's son Neumann had picked a good time for the first fight of his life. The Warriors improved markedly thereafter in the shoving and grabbing departments and won, not easily, 121-111.
Two nights later, the last night of Sharman's inaugural week, his team ran all over the weak Detroit Pistons 136-119. Attles had a fine defensive game and Thurmond and Barry had 63 points and 32 rebounds between them. Naturally, it was soft drinks and jubilation in the Warriors' locker room after this laugher. Forward Tom Meschery, a Bay area boy who had banged his nose against a stray knee while diving for a loose ball, was understandably optimistic: "We can't let guys rub our faces in the wood or we'll lose. As long as we play roughly and tenaciously, we're The Team in the Western Division—no doubt about it."
"The Team" sounded nice to Bill Sharman, but it better not be quoted to Franklin Mieuli. The only advertising space left on those uniforms is the seat of the pants.