Okay, so not a ton to report from practice today. The team had media/promo stuff they had to do immediately afterward, so guys cleared out of the practice gym in a hurry. I was able to speak with Reggie Evans and then catch Joey Dorsey, but that’s it. Not even any Jay Triano because he was talking while I was with Evans.
- One thing about Dorsey: He’s doing everything he can to rewrite the book that’s out there on him. Because he and Solomon Alabi were getting in some extra work after practice in the weight room, the two were the last ones in the gym as everyone went to take care of their media duties. I was with the Raptors TV people and a Raptors PR staffer and that’s it. We were solo for about 20 minutes waiting for Dorsey to get off of the treadmill. When he did come over and realize we were all waiting for him, he apologized saying, “I didn’t realize you all wanted to talk to me. I’m sorry. If I knew you were waiting on me, I would have came over much earlier.”
- Another thing about Dorsey: When you put the camera on him and let him go, he shines. He’s got a natural charisma that isn’t seen on the floor when he’s being an enforcer and often isn’t seen off of it where he’s sort of an unknown. A new guy with the team that hasn’t been able to find a home around the NBA, Dorsey has a carefree air that translates well to his interviews.
- A note on Evans: In a similar vein, Reggie Evans is known for being the tough, gritty guy on court (sometimes getting a little too gritty, if you remember…and really, how could anyone forget), but get him away from a basketball and the guy is one of the biggest family men I’ve ever spoken with in the league. I don’t think I’ve ever had a player relate basketball situations to family life more than Evans does. He’s also very in tune with how young this team is and how important it’s going to be to teach, support and mold the players in order to help them grow.
Some quotes from today’s session:
- How the team addressed the loss last night: “We address it instead of not addressing it so that each individual on the team can be aware of what we’re doing wrong individually and what we’re bringing together as a whole. Sometimes you really don’t have to watch film to see what your mistakes were. It’s good to watch film, but sometimes it’s just reality. Like, ‘Reggie, you did this wrong.’ Nobody wants to point fingers, we’re looking at this as a unit. We didn’t go as hard as a unit like we should have.”
- How do you get there, playing like you should have?: “We just go even harder than what we were doing. At the end we showed great signs. That was a great rush towards the end of the game. We needed that. We needed that for 48 minutes.”
- What caused you to fall off in the beginning: “A couple of defensive assignments. Communicating and stuff like that. It’s good that we’re aware of this now instead of waiting 20 games down the line, 30, 40 games down the line. It’s good that we can learn from our mistakes now and kind of regroup. That’s the positive though about preseason.”
- How was practice today?: “Practice was very intense, very tough. A lot of bumping and grinding. It was no laid-back situation. You’ve got a lot of aches and pains, but who cares? You’ve just got to grind it out. Jay went at us really hard today, as usual. We expected it, we were mentally prepared for whatever he had for us. You’ve gotta take preseason games like if you’re playing in the neighborhood. When you’re playing in the neighborhood, you don’t want to lose because you might have four or five people waiting to play next.”
- Was the positive the play of the bench guys in the fourth?: “No question. You can take a positive from anything. You can make a negative into a positive. It was good that them guys were ready. Knowing they’ve been on the bench for so long, they were ready to roll. We can definitely look at the negatives and make it into a positive. That’s the point of looking back at things, to learn from it and make it into a good situation. It’s definitely a good learning experience…we can either look at it in negative way or we can look at it in a positive way where instead of turning our backs from it we look at our problems and attack our problems and try to make those problems into a good thing.”
- What was the message from Jay today?: “The main thing is we’ve just got to go back to the drawing board. He’s saying we didn’t do what we’ve been doing. Stuff like that. Some games you may be tired or whatever, but we didn’t do our normal things that we’ve been doing the last couple of games. We kind of got sidetracked. Every now and then you may have to do something to your kids to send them back to reality, it’s like that. This is a good thing. We veered off of the road a little bit. Now it’s like, ‘Alright, let’s get back on the road.’ Coach was like, ‘Wake up, get back on the road, let’s not forget what we’re doing.’ Jay’s doing a good job of staying on us.”
- On sitting on the bench through the first three quarters as things fell apart: “I heard one fan say, “Jay put some guys in there with some heart,” and I turned around, looked at her and was like (smiles) ‘Yeah, come on guys. It’s preseason but still play hard. Regular season is coming. We don’t want to play like we did last year, trying to win one year or wait for another team to lose to make the playoffs. Let’s go in fighting now.’”
- On communication in the fourth quarter: “As we were on the floor, I told Sonny we got beat baseline probably seven times. I say Sonny, ‘Don’t be beat baseline. If they throw it in the post make sure you make your man go middle and we’ll get help from there.’ Everybody just came together and we played defence the whole 24 seconds.”
- On Jay: “He’s demanding a lot right now. If you slip up he snatches you up out of the game. I’ve seen it (laughs). You slip up, you don’t deny, you’re coming out of the game fast.”
- What was it like, those first three quarters, watching from the bench?: “I just think guys were a little tired. We just didn’t bring it last night. It was just the effort. That was the only thing, the whole game. Once you put the other group in that wanted to play, that wanted to show everybody they wanted to be on the floor, that was effort right there.”
- What did Jay say to you guys today in practice?: “We watched film. It was a lot of mental breakdowns. We were getting beat middle, we weren’t getting back low into the ball. Rondo had a couple transition layups, Nate had a couple transition layups and we’ve been working on that the whole time in training camp. Coach was very frustrated with the group that was playing in front of us and he just broke it down for us in practice.”
- The layups…Triano mentioned it was like a layup line last night: “Right. I can see from the fan standpoint, this is a preseason game and they thought we weren’t playing hard, but guys just, we laid down to Boston. We didn’t lay down to them when we were down there so we’ve just got to come back with a strong performance against Phoenix.”
- Seven rebounds in seven minutes. Do you check the stats sheet when the game is over, or do you just leave that to the coaches?: “No, when I get out there on the floor, I try to set a goal. If I’m out there for five minutes, I try to get at least seven rebounds. If you’re out there on the floor and you don’t have a goal, what are you trying to accomplish?”
- What do you take away from last night as a team?: “The positive of last night was that last group showing everybody the effort we had and we didn’t give up.”
- I heard you called Scal… is that true?: “I didn’t call him yet, but I’ll call him today. I reached out and got his number and I’m going to give him a call because that wasn’t intentional. I’m going to call him tonight and let him know I apologize for what happened.”
- On the technicals they’ve been calling: “It’s no tolerance this year. I seen it last night when Reggie got a tech and Jack picked up a tech, I was looking and like, it’s zero tolerance this year. The league is trying to clean up the reputation and everything and I respect that.”