Full story hereRaps embracing underdog role
Team admits being motivated by the haters
By RYAN WOLSTAT, Toronto Sun
Last Updated: October 10, 2010 1:17pm
Now, with most pundits predicting them to be among the NBA’s worst in 2010/11, the club has amped up its level of passion and intensity considerably.
According to big man Amir Johnson, the changed attitude is a direct result of the criticism received.
“Everybody’s kind of downgrading us, we’re the underdogs, and we’re giving our best, we’re going to come out and kick some butt,” Johnson said after a spirited practice Saturday.
“I’ll be on Twitter and people tweet me with what people are saying and I heard Charles Barkley (who recently spoke disparagingly of the Raptors) and all that BS.”
The Raptors ran over the Phoenix Suns by 51 points in the pre-season opener Wednesday in Vancouver.
“We kind of went out and beat on Phoenix because people think we’re the worst team in the league,” Johnson added
“We’re going to prove a lot of people wrong.”
After years of what can be termed the Raptor malaise (poor effort and compete level, aversion to rebounding and defence), Johnson said the entire roster came to camp energized and that commitment has not wavered at all.
“From my opinion the intensity level started at 110% from the get-go,” he said.
“We’re running down the court every play. It doesn’t matter what drill we’re doing, we’re doing it 110%.
Though clichéd, Johnson’s opinion is accurate. This group is quite obviously going about its business differently than recent editions.
In a league that relies far more on talent than desire, it remains unclear how far the star-challenged Raptors can go, but at least they will give an honest effort.
The team takes on the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics in Beantown Sunday night.
Johnson said the team made some mistakes, even in its 51-point victory and head coach Jay Triano is looking forward to seeing how much of the performance against Phoenix was a mirage.
The problem with what he says is that you have to be on the court and not in foul trouble to do what he is talking about.
Same interview with some different stuff included here
- On the mindset going up against the Celtics: “We’re not worried about them, we’re worried about what we can do against the big men. We obviously know we’re quicker than their big men so once we get on the floor, we’re definitely going to try to run, get Shaq to run. Outrun everything. Figure out a ways that we can stop them defensively.”
- On how training camp has been different time time around: “I tell you, I think from my opinion, it’s way tougher. The intensity level has started at 110 percent from the get go. We’re running down the floor every play, every possession. it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, what drill we’re doing, we’re giving it 110 percent.”
- On why it’s been different: “Everybody has a sense, everybody wants to win. Everybody is trying to downgrade us. We’re the underdogs, we’re looking at that like, we’re going to kick some butt. We’re ready, hungry to play.”
- Starting versus coming off of the bench. Does it matter?: “It doesn’t because I know when I get in the game I’m going to give it my all and help my team. I’ll do whatever I have to do. Whatever the coach needs to do. On the bench, coming off the bench, I’m going to give energy if I’m starting, either way, Imma bring up the intensity level all the way.”
- How he has known people are “downgrading” them: “I’ve been on Twitter and people tweet me what people say. I heard what Charles Barkley said and all of that BS. We’ve just gotta prove people wrong. We kind of went out and beat on Phoenix because people think we’re the worst team in the league. We’re going to prove a lot of people wrong.”
- On how they’ve been motivating each other on the floor: “We’re a young group of guys and we want to get out and run and score the ball so when you have that, our intensity level picks up and our play picks up. Especially when you’ve got two bullies out there in Joey Dorsey and Reggie.”