Today’s loss against Ajinca’s Pelicans was another big exodus of morale in the Raptors locker room – a room which gets more gloomy with each passing loss.
Any confidence that Terrence Ross had left quite possibly just vanished completely. An emotionally rattled and fragile T-Ross stood around his locker, getting dressed quietly and eating his troubles away with a bag of spicy BBQ sunflower seeds when a few reporters surrounded him. You could barely get anything out of him.
“I dunno.” was the most common response to anything asked of him.
“Gotta stay positive.” was his most lengthy response.
Valanciunas was more talkative, but not any more enthusiastic.
Then, just when most of the media had left the room, Greivis Vasquez sat there like a shining lamp in an otherwise somber room. You could swear he wasn’t talking about basketball – just optimistically spewing words about team unity and love.
“We knew we were going to face some adversity at some point, at this time of year it’s good to find out what type of team we are. We gotta stick with each other and we got to figure it out,” a wise Vasquez told reporters after the game. “We’re not losers. We wanna win. We go out there and we play hard.”
“It hurts, and it bothers us the way we’re losing but it’s part of the NBA. So whoever wants to roll with us it’s cool, but whoever is not, it’s cool too. Y’know, we have a foundation over here, we’ve built that from last year so I feel like we gotta stick with each other right now because I feel like people want us to win the whole NBA being undefeated.
“Ain’t nobody gonna do that.”
“We gotta change, and we do know that…. We care about each other.”
Then the inspirational juices started spurring inside of Greivis.
“We gotta get our energy back, we gotta get our love for the game back, and we will. We need to struggle. You know, this is good for all of us, because now we see who is with us. Ever since we started winning everyone was so happy, saying ‘yeah, they’re so good, they’re so great’. But now we’re seeing really who is gonna go through the struggle with us. We gonna see who is real and who is not.”
“We’re going to struggle in the playoffs, and we’re going to struggle in life, and we brothers. We are a family here.”
And then Vasquez called out the fans even further.
“I find it discouraging when they boo us, it’s not nice. We’re playing hard for them and representing the city, and we’re one of the best, and we want to win. That’s why we have meetings, we have practices. We’re human, we’re going through struggles, and we’re going to start winning. We WILL start winning. We’re not losers. We’re not going to stay like this. We’re not going to sleep, we’re not happy.”
“I’d rather struggle right now than struggle later on when everybody is at their peak. I think we haven’t yet found our peak, and timing is really important. I still believe 100% about our team and the things that we can do throughout the season and I still believe that this could be a special, special season. We all believe that too.”
“We just want our fans especially to ride with us, through these struggles, because we win together and lose together.”
“You guys have been here for a while. This team actually started to win last year. You guys haven’t seen any struggles since we started winning. Everything was blue, beautiful, clear, and now you’re seeing some struggles. I remember Atlanta two and a half months ago were struggling. Now they’re probably the best team in the NBA right now. And good for them, credit to them.”
“Like I say man, as one of the guys that’s been here for the past year or two, we still believe in ourselves. It’s not a lack of confidence, we just have to get our energy back and play like we use to, passing and hitting our shots, and playing good defense.”
“I can’t guarantee you we will win 30 games in a row, but I guarantee you we will get better.”
And then he ended the whole mini scrum with gold.
“Alex Ajengas or whatever his name is just came over here and killed us.”