After Game 5's blowout loss on Wednesday, I'm at a rare loss for words. All throughout these playoffs, we've been able to point to areas for improvement, or silver linings following a loss. We've been able to pinpoint what went wrong, and vociferously debate the proper solutions. There's been a passion about this team. A frustration at times, but an unrelenting passion.
Now though? It's desperation.
For a third time this post-season, the Toronto Raptors are on the brink of elimination. The previous two times, they triumphed. This time, they'll have to do it twice to stay alive.
So what are your keys for Game 6? Well, after a whupping like that, what can you even say? There are so many areas for improvement that it feels like we're at the beginning of an episode of Property Brothers, amirite? Heyo!
We could hash all those out, but we know what they are already.
Instead, I decided to bring in a guest speaker to fire up the boys.
Without further adieu, here is current motivational speaker, and former Head Coach of the Miami Sharks, Tony D'Amato!
Tony, take it away.
Tony D'Amato: I don't know what to say really...
Dan Grant: Well that's not a great start.
TD: There's (checks watch) roughly nine hours until the biggest battle of our professional lives
DG: Oh, you were just warming up colloquially. I get it. Go on.
TD: It all comes down to today. Either we heal now, as a team... or we are going to crumble. Inch by inch, play by play, until we're finished.
DG: This isn't taking quite the positive tack I was hoping for...
TD: We're in hell right now gentlemen. Believe me.
DG: I do!
TD: And we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us... or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch at time.
DG: But how? Can you just do it for us?
TD: Now I can't do it for you.
TD: I'm too old. I look around and I see these young faces... and I think... I mean, I made every wrong choice a middle aged man can make.
DG: This is getting weirdly personal. (Pulls aside Raptors HQ intern) Where did we get this guy from again?
TD: I pissed away all my money, believe it or not.
DG: I mean, that's probably why you're here right now.
TD: I chased off anyone who has ever loved me. And lately, I can't even stand the face I see in the mirror...
DG: This sounds like it's more about you than about us, Tony.
TD: You know, when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That's just part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out that life is just this game of inches. So is (consults his notes) basketball. Because in either game, the margin for error is so small.
DG: I follow your analogy.
TD: I mean, one half step too early or too late and you don't make it. One half second too slow or too fast, and you don't catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They're in every break of the game, every minute, every second.
On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us, to pieces for that inch. We CLAW with our fingernails for that inch!
'Cause we know, when we add up all those inches, that's going to make the fucking difference between winning and losing!
Between living and dying.
TD: I'll tell you this. In any fight, it's the guy who's willing to die who's going to win that inch. And I know, if I'm going to have any life anymore, it is because I am still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that's what living is! The six inches in front of your face!
DG: That and burritos.
TD: Now I can't make you do it. You gotta look in the eyes of the guy next to you. Look into his eyes. Now I think you're going to see a guy who will go that inch with you. You are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you're gonna do the same thing for him.
DG: But I'm next to Bruno.
TD: That's a team gentlemen. And either we heal now, as a team... or we will die, as individuals.
That's basketball guys.
That's all it is.
NOW WHAT'RE YOU GONNA DO?
Where to Watch: TSN at 8:30pm