“Shootaround’s a lot tougher than in the past,” said Reggie Evans, the eighth-year NBA forward. “We’re just going hard. A lot of banging. It’s totally different than anything I’ve seen.”
So much work at such an early hour certainly would not sit well with a more veteran NBA team (although the Raptors aren’t exactly brimming with rookies). And it will be interesting to see how long Triano keeps demanding the game day sweat-fest. Triano said he won’t put his team through such a tough workout before Tuesday’s game in Chicago because the Raptors play the next night at home against Philadelphia. He also said — contrary to the assumptions of the players who figure these workouts are strictly an October phenomenon — that he wouldn’t rule out using a shootaround as a hard practice during the regular season.
“If we’re not playing well, yes,” Triano said.
The coach’s new-found sternness was on display in the wake of Sunday’s game, too. While Triano pronounced himself mostly happy with the way his team competed, he acknowledged that the Celtics outhustled the Raptors in the first half and had their way with Toronto’s defence in general, shooting 53 per cent from the field.
“We’re going to be accountable at the defensive end,” Triano said. “So it’s pre-season — we’ve got to send some messages.”
He sent them by punishing lapses with time on the bench. Amir Johnson got yanked for forgetting a play; DeMar DeRozan for allowing the man he was guarding to drive where he wasn’t supposed to drive — specifically, to the middle. And then there was Andrea Bargnani, whose 1-for-8 shooting line looked better than his sluggish defensive work.