There are games where you just skip the videotape, there are games where you burn the videotape and then there are games like the one the Raptors “played” Friday night. That certainly has to go down as one of the most disappointing efforts I have ever witnessed as a Raptors fan. The great thing for the Raptors is that they get another crack at the Knicks on Sunday, while the wounds are still fresh.
Looking back, maybe those are more than wounds. They are more like severe injuries, but you get the point: the Raptors got taken to the woodshed Friday night by a team that shouldn’t be taking them to the woodshed. Not to say that the Knicks are a bad team, because they aren’t (hell, they’re better than the Raptors), but they aren’t a good enough team to do what they did to the Raptors the other night. You have to put that one solely on the boys in red.
So where to from here? If we go back to my post-game, where I made the sleepwalking reference, if we have just awoken in the kitchen and found ourselves lying in the fetal position with a half-empty box of Special K beside us and no idea how we got there…then what the hell do we do next?
For the Raptors, redemption starts now. Forget about making the playoffs right now. Just go back to the old cliche about taking one game at a time and then break that cliche down with another cliche, breaking things into smaller pieces. The Raptors can’t even take it one game at a time right now. They have to break each game down into quarters and just focus on one quarter at a time. The Raptors have to go right back to the basics and just work on coming out in the first quarter on a mission: to win the first quarter. Winning that first quarter will determine the angle on their second quarter mission and so on.
It sounds so simple, but the Raptors really do need to break the game down to its raw elements and start envisioning what they are going to do in each quarter. They have to start believing that they are going to win games, not just hoping they are going to win them. An RF member recently posted a thread on our message board asking who would you consider the Raptors rival. I replied that it would probably be the Raptors. I didn’t do it for a laugh, I was serious. More often than not, when the Raptors lose, they do it by repeatedly shooting themselves in the foot. You could almost say that the only reliable shot the Raptors have is the one they take aimed at their own foot.
So outside of the mental aspect of the game, what else are the Raptors going to have to do to beat the Knicks? Well…
3 in the Key
1. If you want to run with the Knicks, you have to realize that you run on offense AND defence. The court isn’t slanted, get your ass back on D.
2. Box out. There were too many easy rebounds for the Knicks on Friday and even worse than that, those rebounds were close enough that they provided opportunities to go right back up for 2. That can’t happen again.
3. Come out with some energy. You can’t get your butt whupped like that and come out like it didn’t mean anything. Play with some pride.