No recap of the game today but just a combination of quotes, the kind that you want to see following an effort like the one that the Toronto Raptors put forth last night. The kind you wouldn't have seen last season either - because, well, the team didn't have a fire like Jermaine O'Neal around:
"As professionals, we should be ashamed of ourselves," said Jermaine O'Neal, the veteran centre who returned after a three-game absence.
"The game was what it was – it was embarrassing and it was embarrassing not only for us but for people who represent the Toronto Raptor organization, the city, the country."
"That should never happen. This is a business. We get paid a heck of a lot of money to play a certain way and if we think we can turn it on and off like that then we are fooling ourselves."
"We've got to really sit down as players," said O'Neal. "We have to go back to the hotel and figure out exactly what we want to do as a team, come to a conclusion of what they think, what I think, what all 13 guys on the roster think and address it as a team."
The one thing that appeared to be missing was that player to ignite the team, it's come up frequently over the past few seasons from Raptors fans about where our new Charles Oakley was - a player who will light a fire in the locker room and on the court with tough play, one who can get the players worked up thru their words and physical play as well. It appears with O'Neal in town the Raptors do have a return to that passion, and Sam Mitchell needs the players to take ownership he can't just do all the screaming himself.
After a reported private players session following last night's 132-93 loss to Denver there is news from the Toronto Star's Doug Smith reported that there was a change in plans for today, a players owner weightlifting session has been scheduled after the game last night instead of their original practice plans. Whether it's just being put out in public more or if there is actual serious change, it certainly appears that the players are taking more ownership this season - and that is most definitely a good sign for this squad! And a great reason to have brought Jermaine O'Neal into town as well.
Rocky Mountain Low (Globe & Mail)
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