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Tip In: Slapped Back To Reality

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Never have I not wanted to write something on this team....until now. It's like someone kicked you in the gut, and then stomped on your back as you went down. It's like running into the ex-girlfriend only to find out she's a supermodel, won the lottery, or is engaged. It's like finding out your favorite team just drafted Kwame Brown (sorry Washington fans) or that you just traded for him (I never apologize to LA Laker fans). You just BURN inside.

The three of us here at RapsHQ got together Sunday, sat at the RapsHQ table in the Harbourside and talked ball over a few cups of coffee and a couple of killer burgers. As the game started we were pumped. The Raps were hot to go, feeling the momentum, and there was no greater challenge then a streaking NJ Nets squad. Confidence was at an all-time high when RJ tweaked his back....a victory looked like a strong possibility. You could tell when the game started that the Raps came to play....all the way down to Hoffa. One could even argue that the boys were too excited but they were playing well, although rebounding was a concern.

Suddenly.....things go out of control. Not sure if I want to talk about it. Not sure I want to discuss the "slap heard across Toronto," the Mo Pete ejection, the Vince Carter threes, or the teams inability to close out. I could focus on the solid D played by our franchise player, his desire to win, his desire to carry the team. I could focus on Mike James giving us another ride with all the twists and turns including an argument over whether him going 1 on 5 near the end of the game, was the right thing to do. The reality is however, neither we, nor the team should give this game another thought. It's over, it is done. Don't take the positives, don't take the negatives. Just focus on the game tomorrow and don't let a guy named Carter ruin the recent winning ways. Focus on Chicago. Focus on Luol Deng, Scott Skiles and Harry Potter. Just get over it and move on, because if the team dwells on this the repurcussions could be long and painful. Don't give VC that satisfaction. Let the loss burn, and turn that burn into team intensity. The Raps have to remember it's still them (as a team) against the rest of the L, and no-one, in particular an up and down Bulls team is going to show mercy.

Let's look forward, not back. Looking back makes me sick. Who is going to step up tonight? Who is going to say, "Let's just play, we've won 4 of the last 5, let's make it 5 of the last 6". The fact remains that no-one should drop their heads. These losses happen. Just don't let it happen again.

It hurts, it burns. Turn the rage into intensity, fight, let it be the cause of a chip on your shoulder, but Raps, I'm begging you, don't let this loss take the fight out of you. Don't dwell. The best thing is I think NOW is when we realize what sort of player CB4 is. You know he wants that game back, but you know he will fight on. Mitchell has kept him in blowout losses and made him endure the rough times so he can step up at times like these. Lead us Chris. LEAD.

HOWLAND