Casey needs to see attitude adjustment from Raptors
Sure, field goals and assists and rebounds are nice but what coach Dwane Casey really wants to see from the Raptors these days is attitude.
In a couple of desultory weekend blowout losses – Friday at home to New Jersey and more noticeably Saturday in Philadelphia – the Raptors showed an alarming amount of ‘give up’ when things didn’t go their way.
It’s a troubling attribute that Casey simply won’t stand for.
“Like I told our guys, no one’s going to feel sorry for us, we can’t give in to fatigue and frustration and let teams blow us out and blast us like that,” Casey said after a 90-minute game-day shootaround session Monday morning. “We’ve got to develop that toughness and if we don’t, we’re going to have a lot of Saturday nights in us.”
The trouble stems from the Raptors allowing offensive impotence to creep into their defensive play. It’s been a trademark of this team that when it’s not scoring, it’s not playing with defensive intensity.
It’s a surefire way to continued losses, and a surefire way to rankle a coaching staff.
“I thought we had a good disposition for 28 minutes against Philadelphia; once we didn’t see the ball go through the basket, we lost that disposition,” he said. “Our thing, as a growing process, is to make sure we stay focused whether the shots are falling (or not), things not going right for us offensively, we have to pull up our boots, put on work boots and come back on the defensive end and stay in the game.
“Every game we’ve lost has been on runs and subsequently not functioning on the offensive end has caused that. We can’t let that effect us, we have to push through that with our defensive toughness … that’ll help us get through that.”
As for news, there was scant little to report from the preparation for Monday’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Forward Linas Kleiza has decided to make a quick trip to Colorado to see the doctors who operated on his right knee last February before he gets back on the active list, which know would seem to be Friday in Toronto against Indiana the earliest.
Jerryd Bayless isn’t ready to come back from an ankle injury yet – he told us it’d probably be Friday as well – so it’ll be the usual suspects against the 3-5 Timberwolves to kick off Toronto’s only stretch of back-to-back-to-back games this season.
Of course, the big matchup is going to be between Spanish national team teammates and good friends Jose Calderon and Minnesota rookie Ricky Rubio. They’ve been hanging out here for a day or so catching up, Monday night they’ll have some time going head-to-head on the court.
“I’ve been with him for a while, great player, great guy, there’s nothing bad about him,” Calderon said of his buddy.
“He’s doing great, no surprise at all what he’s been doing, he’s been playing this sport for a while professionally, he knows how to play and I love to see how he plays.”