Whether the Wizards win or lose, the post game journey from the media room to Randy Foye’s locker is usually a pleasant one. He usually does not officially talk to the media until he’s close to fully dressed, but if you happen to be standing near him before then, you can hear him crack a joke, talk sports, and just let loose before its “official.”
Once the recording devices and cameras are on, Foye shuns the usual hubris displayed by so many athletes, and he is diplomatic, selfless and introspective with his answers. It doesn’t always make for good stories, but he’s consistent.
That Randy Foye was nowhere to be found on Monday night.
The Wizards were defeated by the Boston Celtics tonight, 99-88. After a strong first three quarters, they were outscored 25-10 in the fourth, and they weren’t able to survive their putrid closing output. Even team captain Antawn Jamison, who was coming off a 21 point, 23 rebound effort on Saturday night against the New York Knicks, struggled on this night with a 2-for-17, eight point, eight rebound effort.
Foye, in 18 minutes of play, had the following line: 0-for-3 from the field, four assists, two fouls, two turnovers and just two points. He was relegated to bench duty for all but five minutes of the second half. His backup, Earl Boykins, put up a much more impressive 14 points in 30 minutes.
After the game, Foye shunned his usual humility, and seemed to blame Coach Flip Saunders’ substitution patters for his lack of a rhythm, instead of his own play.
“Early on I felt good. I got three assists right away, and then I came out of the game and that was about it,” a glum Foye said while barely making eye contact with reporters. “I was just trying to get my teammates the ball. Usually, if you watch me early on, I take what the defense gives me..I found Mike [Miller], I found Brendan [Haywood], but after that, I got taken out.”
When asked if the coach said anything to him about his play, Foye was even more succinct with his response.
“He ain’t say nothing…he ain’t say nothing..”
Although Coach Saunders said nothing to Foye directly after the game, he did take the time to tell media what he thought went wrong with Foye against the Celtics.
“He struggled so bad in both of his stints in there, and the only time we seemed to have any pace to the game is when Earl was in there. And Earl did a better job as far as on Rondo, ” Saunders explained. “Rondo was getting wherever he wanted early in the game, and in the third quarter, and Earl was getting better angles so we decided to go that way.”
To his credit, Earl Boykins was in no mood to gloat about his extended playing time, or even talk about what he did well. He begrudgingly admitted that his quickness gave Celtics’ guard Rajon Rondo (17 points, 12 assists, six turnovers) a difficult time, but he was quick to also say that the team as a whole did not get the job done.
When Hoops Addict asked him what advice he had for Foye, or what he thought Foye was possibly doing wrong from his vantage point, he again chose to take the high road.
“Flip makes the decision of who plays and how many minutes they play, and its just my job to be ready, ” Boykins told me quietly. “I did notice some things about Foye’s play, but I’d much rather talk to him individually about those things, rather than tell you and the media.”
Foye was complimentary of Boykins’ play in the Wizards’ loss, but his body language, his facial expressions, and his tone of voice displayed a frustration that rarely seen from the man who is supposed to be replacing Gilbert Arenas.
When asked about his mind state about not playing during the fourth quarter, Foye gave his usual politically correct answer, but he lacked his usual sincerity.
“I just try to be ready, you know? I don’t think that I’m not going to be put back in or when I’m going to put back in. I just try to always be ready and try to keep myself as warm as I can, so when I get back out there I’m loose.”
After those words were uttered, a reporter asked Foye if he’d be available to talk tomorrow after practice and he quietly said that he would be.
Then, Foye capped his frustrating night by putting on his New York Yankee hat cocked to one side, picking up his shoes without bothering to put them on, and slowly walking out of the locker room with his head down.