Raps not the Marion kind

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

Shawn Marion uttered words not spoken in Raptorland since the days of Charles Oakley and his mangled metaphors.

It wasn't quite Oakley-esque in its presentation, but Marion nonetheless was colourful in summing up his feelings following Friday's 30-point embarrassment in the Big Apple.

"I'm pissed off,'' Marion said. "And I want them (his new teammates) to be pissed off. If I have to motivate guys, fire them up, I'll do it because we have a long way to go."

One of the many deficiencies that continue to haunt these Raptors is their mental fortitude.

No matter how you dissect it or describe it, the Raptors are soft and have been for quite some time.

No one seems to take losses such as New York's 127-97 pasting of the Raptors as personal.

Marion, who has been on the losing end of two lopsided decisions since his trade from Miami, isn't one to lead by words. He prefers to let his actions do the talking, which made yesterday's pronouncement meaningful.

The beauty of the NBA is that teams don't have the time to lament on setbacks, be they buzzer beaters or blowouts.

The Raptors will play host to the same shot-happy Knicks at high noon today.

"We have to communicate,'' Marion said. "We have to compete. We allowed them to hit shots and we were like at the bottom of a pit trying to climb out of the hole to see the top of it. We have to be ready."

Marion is used to Mike D'Antoni's system of spreading the floor, moving the ball and heaving an attempt when looks are presented, from the field or beyond the three-point arc.

He remembers the first time his former team in South Beach played the new-look Knicks under D'Antoni.

"We eventually made a game of it, but this one (Friday's folly) was lights out,'' he said.

New York made 73% of its first-quarter shots and led 42-22 after the opening 12 minutes.

Friday's meeting was the first of four between two teams attempting to qualify for the post-season.

At least the Knicks showed up to play. The Raptors didn't.

Jay Triano wasn't going to speak on behalf of his beleaguered players, but the interim head coach did say he was embarrassed at the way the Knicks were able to impose their will so easily and without any resistance from the Raptors.

From the time he took over from Sam Mitchell, Triano told the players he wouldn't address them following games.

He said he wants emotions to settle down and clarity to prevail before making statements.

When they were blown out in Cleveland on Feb. 3, Triano saw the video evidence and felt the Raptors we beaten by a team that made a lot of contested shots.

"When we graded them out, we were at 81%,'' Triano said. "That was after watching film.

"We were not 81% against New York. When we watched the tape it wasn't pretty."

Chris Bosh played close to 31 minutes in his return from a knee injury.

At least New York's up-tempo pace allowed Toronto's all-star forward to find his legs much quicker had the opposition been a plodding half-court team.

"Conditioning affects everything,'' Bosh said. "We've got a quick around and that should help us."

FRANK.ZICARELLI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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