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Storming off the court as if it’s V-E Day, Marbury pumps his fist. “We played with a lot of poise,” he would say a few minutes later. Thomas bear-hugs Francis and tells him he liked the way he managed the game (this despite the fact that Francis tallied two points, six fouls, and five turnovers). In a jubilant locker room, Thomas’s players present their coach with the game ball.

Facing the media, Thomas only accentuates the positive. ‘’There was some crazy stuff happening, and at any point in time, the guys could have just said, ‘Oh well, we played well,’ and just kind of caved,” Thomas says. ‘’But our guys kept fighting and grinding, and we won the basketball game.’’ Then, of course, he smiles.


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