Jay: Raps vs Knicks. Preview
Well, it looks like Chris Bosh's rant after the Denver game paid off, as the Raptors came out and actually looked like a team that wanted to finish a game for once. You can't help but think that Bosh's words had some effect, but you'd also be an idiot not to notice that the lineup changes made a big difference too (there's another post devoted just to that topic...). So I'll stay away from the lineup issue for now and focus a little more on Bosh and his importance to the Raptors.
It's not so much that Bosh came out and said something, but as with most things in life, it's all about timing. Bosh waited until he was back from injury, out there gutting it out, trying to pull one out for the Raps. He waited until they blew a huge lead and essentially stopped playing D in the second half. He didn't call out anyone in particular, he didn't get into too much detail, but he attacked where it hurts the most. He talked about having some heart, some balls, the ability to play tough and earn a win. That's what leaders do. They deliver in the clutch and they pick their spots when it's time to talk. Would this speech have had as much effect coming from anyone else on the team? No. Not even if it came from fan favourite Jose. Bosh is the undisputed leader and his timing was perfect.
So now that the Raps used Bosh's words as motivation in beating Detroit, how does it all tie in to the Knicks? Well, take a look through that Knick lineup. Is there a single guy on that team who can stand up and make the same kind of speech Bosh did? Well, sure, any of them could make it, but would anybody listen? That's the real question. The answer is no. They wouldn't listen and they wouldn't act either. The Knicks actually have some decent talent in their lineup (decent, not good), but they don't have one guy on that team who anyone would call a leader. There have been some games that the Knicks were in where they have completely self-destructed. They have nobody to hold them together, nobody who can rally the troops. They can't even look to their coach, because he's even more lost than the players. They can't look to their GM, because he has some sort of misguided attachment to the coach. There's no leadership there whatsoever.
As with all big wins, they're only as good as the game that follows, especially when that game features the Knicks. If you come up with a great game, feature some lineup changes, feed of your leader's words, make selfless acts that benefit the team and then follow it up with a stinker against the Knicks, it's like taking 4 steps backwards. This game needs to be of the ass-kicking variety, it's another one of those cliched statement games. Time to make a statement, that follows up on three previous statements: Bosh's words, Jose's team attitude and the performance against the Pistons.
Enjoy the game.
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