Paul Jones: Raptors need more toughness
Old 11-28-2009, 10:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Paul Jones: Raptors need more toughness

It was another loss in Boston for the Raptors but the disturbing issue for Raptor fans was not a defeat at the hands of one of the best teams in the east, a team that many expect to be right there in May and June when they start sizing teams up for championship rings, but the way the team lost.

After a solid first half where they had a one-point lead shooting 67 per cent going to the locker room, the Toronto offence stalled. Part of the offensive blackout was due to Hedo Turkoglu picking up his fourth foul early in the third quarter, and since their defence is not the type to hold them in games right now, some players took it upon themselves to try to do too much. It led to a stretch where the Celtics outscored the Raptors 25-4 to turn a four-point deficit, at 61-57, into a 17-point lead at 82-65. It was the show of Boston's vaunted signature defence as Toronto finished the third quarter shooting a paltry 7-for-20 (35 per cent) being held without a field goal for a 7:19 span in the middle of the frame.

But it was the first possession of the fourth quarter that made a statement about the game and the team that Toronto needs to become. Paul Pierce drove the lane and finished with an emphatic dunk on Chris Bosh, planting his knee in Bosh's lower midsection as he finished the play. Great drive and the emotion being such that it is in sports saw Pierce stand over Bosh and flex at the completion of the play. Some might say unnecessary but that's the ego and passion that is part of the spontaneous reaction in the "yeah baby, I just served you" mentality of sports, at any level. However, there needed to be some type of response from Toronto and while there yet may be in a future encounter with Boston, last night, the retort was not sufficient in these eyes.

We're not talking about an immediate retaliatory fight but there does have to be a certain degree of overt belligerence and bellicosity at that moment. It wasn't seen in this instance but at some point Toronto needs to draw its line in the sand so opponents won't continually kick the sand in their face.

Bosh is not a direct, in-your-face type personality as he is more of a lead-by-example type of player. It then becomes imperative that his teammates protect him, and that he protects himself, in some way, shape or form. True, it's a new group of players that don't have any history in Toronto, but the perception continues to be that this team needs to be tougher and hit back in these types of situations. Bosh for one is tired of all the chatter about it.

"I'm tired of talking about toughness," said Bosh in the locker room post-game. "We talk about it too much. We talk about everything too much. We've got to stop talking about it and just do it." There will surely be a "next" time and it will be interesting to see how Toronto responds and if talk becomes the order of the day once again

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Old 11-28-2009, 11:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes. Oakley said the same thing. We all know Carter was never the toughest player in the league, but Oakley and Davis weren't going to let him get beat up anytime they were in the court.

But I think Reggie Evans will take care of Pierce's balls (see Evans vs. Kaman for more info).
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Old 11-29-2009, 12:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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i'm sure people remember Carter regularly writhing on the floor after getting struck hard while driving to the hoop?

i don't have memories of davis and oakley getting into opponents' faces about it, let alone striking back.
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Old 11-29-2009, 01:36 AM   #4 (permalink)

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bosh is not a "in your face guy", so his teammates have to be that ... how's that for a illogical statement.Obviously, his teammates are not "in your face" guys either, so are they supposed to fake it?

Yes, boston is an agressive team, but orlando and the lakers are not. Being a butthead is not somethint you learn, it's something you are. Most of our team is composed of nice people, you can't just ask them to be something they're not. And it's not a pre-requisite of winning either.
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