The Toronto Raptors are off to a disappointing 1-5 start to the season, and are still only 2 years removed from winning an NBA Championship, and point guard Kyle Lowry believes the team needs to regain their ‘swagger’ in order to get back on track.
Toronto lost 126-114 to an undermanned Boston Celtics team on Monday night, hitting a new low for the struggling Raptors this season, a low that Lowry is looking to help the team get past. The Celtics won despite being without Kemba Walker and Marcus Smart and playing on the second half of a back-to-back.
“We just need to get a little bit grittier, get a little bit tougher and a little bit nastier, and have a little bit of a swagger to us,” Lowry said, according to ESPN’s Tim Botemps. “Right now, we have no swagger to us. “We have nothing. There’s nothing to us. Teams are looking at us like, ‘All right, let’s go eat’ … That’s not a good feeling.”
The slow start is new to the Raptors, who have been one of the Eastern Conference elites over the past several years.
“This is probably uncharted territory for most of us,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. “Just speaking for myself, I’ve never been a part of something like this. But we can’t hang our heads. No one’s feeling sorry for us.
“It’s tough,” VanVleet said. “This game will break your heart, man. We get paid a lot of money, and it’s given me the highest highs in my life besides having kids, and the lowest lows. This is a roller coaster … it’s a heartbreaking game.
“When things are going great, it’s great. When they’re going bad, it hurts. So I put my blood, sweat and tears into this and I care. So this stuff keeps me up at night, so it’s tough. It’s tough to be in this position, but we got a long way to go. We got a lot a lot of season in front of us, we’ve got a lot of talent, and we’ve got guys that can figure it out.
“So we’ve got to stay positive and believe in ourselves and find ways to get through this.”
“There’s no secret recipe. There’s a boatload of problems and we gotta find ways to solve them.”
“We’re having a tough time,” head coach Nick Nurse said. “Like, we missed so many layups. And we cannot make an and-1, either. Some of those fouls real early, and you’re continuing on to a wide-open layup, and they’re rolling off, so just finishing in general really hurt us.
“We did get there a lot tonight. We got to the free throw line a lot tonight. But we just didn’t make enough. We’ve got to get tougher, man. Got to play through some slaps and hits. Got to play through some bumps. Got to make those when you get that deep in there. That’s it.”