From T-Mac last night:
"We’re doing too much talking," McGrady said Saturday. "We have to play some basketball and get some wins. This is not the time to point a finger here and there on what somebody needs to do. No, we all need to step it up.""When things are not going well, everybody wants to say things they normally don’t say and that’s what’s happening now. We have to win and stop doing too much damn talking."
This was his quick response to Ron Artest's comments concerning Tracy's defense. Of course, our new vocal leader, Rafer Alston, also had to chime in:
"We don’t have the mindset to every day come prepared or ready," Alston said. "We don’t have the mindset today at shootaround. Guys are loafing around, playing around. We don’t have the mindset of a team that’s contending. We don’t play the defense of a team that’s contending. We’re not sharing the basketball like a team that’s contending. We’re going through the motions like we’re going to waltz into the playoffs because we have three talented players."
A few thoughts:
- I understand Tracy's comments, or at least his purpose. Ron, in effect, called him out, no matter how much he tried to sugar-coat it. Tracy wasn't having any of it, and he let it be known. While it is strange that a guy who comes up with excuses on the dot like Tracy is finally telling everyone to shut up, I'm glad he said something. It should have been the last negative sentiment from a Rocket this year. But...
- Rafer opened his mouth, which is never a good thing. I don't care if what he is saying is true (it probably is) - my issue is that of all the players on this team, Rafer is talking. He's not even defending himself; he's attacking. Since when does a point guard with a terrible shooting percentage call out his teammates? Ask Stephon Marbury. If Rafer isn't bad enough on the court, the last thing we need from him is to act as a cancer to our locker room. Just because he plays a good game doesn't mean he can pour his heart out to the media that night. What he should have done is...
- Keep the mouths closed. There's no reason to complain to the media. As Tracy said, we talk too much. Why tell Jonathan Feigen something that a teammate needs to know? The best teams always keep the problems in-house and speak positively to the media. Even if what is being said is bullshit, at least reputations aren't hurt. When someone like Ron Artest calls out McGrady's defense publicly, it begs for a public response and creates a huge mess. Go find Daryl, a teammate, or wake up coach if you want to complain. Otherwise, deal with it yourself.
We had a good win last night, so there's no reason we should be having to discuss annoying issues such as this. Let's take Tracy's advice and move on in silence. As all of those cliched commercials say, "Let your game speak."
Editor's Note: Shane Battier provides us with a good example of what to tell reporters.
"Our locker room has been the same since Day 1," Shane Battier said. "Guys are still loose and cracking on each other.
Why can't we all be like Shane?