Raps need to stand up for each other: Triano

LANCE HORNBY, Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:54 PM ET

When word filtered from the gym yesterday that the Raptors would be practising an extra 45 minutes, many thought coach Jay Triano was using the extra time to screen some old war movies or buddy flicks.

Anything to inspire his team to stick up for each other after the latest in a series of meek responses occurred Friday night in Boston.

Bosh was momentarily injured after being “below the decks” during a mid-air collision when Paul Pierce dunked over him.

With Bosh down in pain, Pierce stood over Toronto’s MVP in triumph while no one responded, except enraged coach Jay Triano and his staff.

Antoine Wright sounded off in the press on his teammates after the 116-103 loss.

“You have to look yourself in the mirror and take that challenge because it’s a basketball game,” Wright said. “Nobody’s fighting anybody. We’ve got guys standing over our best player, flexing, it’s not something we can stand for. I was pretty frustrated sitting on the bench and watching their whole team run out there and we only have our coaches up shouting and screaming at their players.

“I don’t like that. (It’s) something that’s kind of been accepted around here.”

Triano preferred the message not be delivered in scatter-gun style, but he couldn’t argue with his forward’s conviction.

“I think if I were Chris, I’d confront my teammates,” Triano said as they readied for another dominant club, the 13-3 Phoenix Suns, this afternoon at the ACC.

“It’s like any time one of your guys goes down. You don’t have to go out and start a fight, just help your teammate and we didn’t do that. He laid there on the floor without anybody going over and see how he was doing or anything. That was the thing (angering the coach) looking at it today.

Wright added that if the Raptors didn’t make a stand soon, word would get around the NBA that they can be pushed around every time .

“I’m not surprised (Wright spoke out),” Triano said. “He has said some of the things (before). They read the paper. Is it warranted in some cases? Yes. Should he go through the media? No. But he speaks from the heart and I appreciate it. He just has to be careful how he delivers the message.”

Hedo Turkoglu said Wright’s words should resonate with the younger Raptors.

“He tried to (stand up) in a good way for the guys to prepare them for the challenges that will come up,” Turkoglu said. “Antoine is a good guy who is always trying to do his best for this team.

“All we have to do are the things that are right for this team and try to take this team where it should be in the long season that’s coming. There will be a lot of different comments from a lot of different people. (Wright) meant to say to the guys ‘be ready’ and we have a lot of young players and he wanted them to be ready for (today’s) game. We have to move on.”

Triano joked about how close he came to getting into it physically with counterpart Doc Rivers.

“Doc was protecting his player because I went after his player and I was protecting mine. I didn’t do it to fire (the Raptors) up, I did it because he’s one of my players. I didn’t realize until we watched it on tape that we backed off (with Bosh down) as much as we did.”

Triano was asked if there was a link between the perceived lack of team toughness and all the points the Raps have given up in the paint of late.

“When you look at points in the paint the past two games, (many) against Charlotte were transition. So there’s nothing tough about that, you just have to get back. And if that’s tough, then classify that as a (lack of) toughness. Against the Celtics, we didn’t step up, take charge and were a little bit late getting over than we have to be better at containing the ball and not letting them into the lane.

“I don’t want to say ‘fairweather’, but when things are going well we’re aggressive and active and when things don’t, we tend to step back a little bit and let things happen to us. I think that’s where I’d like to see a little more fight.

“Everybody can buy into everything you’ve preached when things are going well, but true character is tested when things aren’t. Obviously we want to change and that’s a growth process. We got guys like Antoine and Reggie (Evans) to help that and we’ve been without one for awhile (Wright) and the other has been injured. So it’s kind of tough for guys to lead by example when they’re not on the floor.”

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca


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