Why Sam Makes Me Angry / Raps vs. Knicks Preview

Well, the Raptors pretty much handed a win to the Knicks Friday night, showing a complete lack of enthusiasm and an inability to get a hand in the face of a guy who will shoot any opportunity he gets (Crawford). I mean seriously, the dude jacked up 16 3-point attempts. SIXTEEN! The great thing about some of those attempts is that they hit the board like the balls were filled with cement. That didn’t deter Crawford, dude just came down and said, “This is MY night, yeah you know it!”

The Raptors also inexcusably were outworked inside by second in command of the Fat Boys, Zach Randolph (head Fat Boy being, of course, Eddy Curry, whom Jack Armstrong pointedly summed up with something to the effect of, I don’t care if it’s midseason, he’s just not in shape). He was rebounding without guys even challenging him, getting putbacks, going to the line after Raptor players halfheartedly tried to dislodge the ball after Lt. FatBoy was on his way back up. It was embarrassing to watch. It was essentially a return to high school, where you mercilessly make fun of some fat dude, only to have him walk into a party with a girl you thought you were dating…then he looks at you and says, “Oh yeah, that’s right.”

So let’s get to Sam. Sam’s post game interviews are bad enough for fans to suffer through, so it must be even worse for the media types who have to hear the same garbage he spews game after game. In THE ONLY funny comedic bit they do on the FAN590 (and seriously, it is the ONLY funny bit on there…please tell me everybody else goes to the traffic reports on 680News as soon as any “comedy” bit comes on the FAN…BRUTAL), they have the Sam post games down pat. Sam goes into his laid-back, “Y’know, guys make plays” etc. speech that makes bile dance in the back of my throat, threatening the rest of my mouth, but never following through. Every loss, it’s the same thing. I know you can’t come out and throw the team under the bus (could that be the most overused term now? I won’t do it again), but just admit that hey, we were shit tonight and we lost to a team we have no business losing to. I don’t care if the Knicks use it as motivation for the second game, if they post it on the locker room door, because I don’t think half of the Knicks can read anyway. You don’t have to make it personal, just say something like, “Well, the Knicks have been having a rough season, have had some blowouts lately and if we are going to be a strong team going into the playoffs, we have to capitalize on the ups and downs of our opponents. Tonight we did not capitalize on an opportunity that was presented to us.” IS THAT SO HARD?

I’m so sick of Sam not coming out and admitting the Raptors’ deficiencies. It’s the elephant in the room. Everybody just watched the game, but Sam seems to think that nobody noticed the 16 turnovers; the inability to guard Jamal Crawford…JAMAL CRAWFORD (Sam’s answer to that - “We just couldn’t guard him”…like Jamal Crawford had suddenly turned into the best player in the league); the 17 second chance points; the list goes on. Sam’s answer for the laundry list of crap? “You’re never supposed to win”. Actually Sam, yes, yes you are. When you’re playing the New York Knicks, who are in your division, who just got PASTED by the Sixers, who have some of the fattest dudes in the league, who SOMEHOW still have Nate Robinson in the NBA instead of the circus he belongs in…yes, you are supposed to win.

The thing that kills me about Sam’s post game interviews is that I can’t help but think that his attitude carries over to the team. I might be way off on this, he may act all laid-back in front of the cameras, but then go and tear the team a new one when he’s in the room, but I just don’t get that feeling. I’m not saying that you have to go all Bobby Knight on the guys, because realistitcally, these are grown men who aren’t going to react in a positive fashion to that kind of stuff. All I’m saying is that as a coach, you have to instill some pride in your team. You have to make them feel that when games like that are lost, it shows that they are not ready to be an elite team. I’m not talking about one loss, because this has happened more than once. This isn’t the Raptors beating Michael’s Bulls back in the day…and then watching as the Bulls roll to 72 wins, I’m talking about the Raptors repeatedly letting teams off the hook. When the New York Knicks score a season high 40 points in a quarter against your team, I’m sorry, you’re not ready to play. You just aren’t.

So that leads me to today’s game. The Raptors are on home court and should be ready for this one, but I am not banking on Sam to be the one to have them raring to go. I am banking on the Raptors having some pride and knowing that they played a stinker the other night and that they have to make a statement tonight. They have to come out right off the bat and say, “Hey, you guys shouldn’t even be in the same league as us.” If this goes into halftime anywhere close, I will be highly disappointed, because that will show me that the Raptors just don’t have the balls to compete in the NBA. A good chunk of sports is about attitude and pride. If you don’t carry yourself like a winner, if your coach doesn’t get on you when you don’t play and compete like winners, then what’s the point?

Enjoy today’s game.