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  Tue, December 30, 2003


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Rose is back in full bloom
Raptors go as point guard goes

By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

DENVER -- For the Raptors to do well, Vince Carter must do well. But he no longer is alone in that regard.

Increasingly, for the Raptors to do well, Jalen Rose must do well, too. The numbers don't lie.

The Raptors have won five of their past 11 games. Rose, the club's starting point guard, scored at least 18 points in each of the five wins.

Breaking it down further, the Raptors have won only two of their past eight games, including a 94-88 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center on Sunday. Rose scored at least 21 points in each of those two wins.

It isn't just about scoring, of course. But it's becoming clear that the Raptors have a tough time winning games in which Rose does not find a way to make a positive impact, either through shooting, passing, playing defence or all three.

"We understand we can be an explosive team," the 30-year-old Rose said. "Any time you have myself and Vince Carter on the court, we understand we're going to cause matchup problems."

Carter singled out Rose for sparking the win in L.A.

"It was Jalen Rose who got us started," Carter said. "I just finished where he left off and that's the beauty of this team.

"Most importantly, we need to just take our time and execute (on offence), because we can get what we want when we take our time."

The 6-foot-8 Rose, who joined the Raptors 13 games ago in a three-for-three trade with the Chicago Bulls, is not an old-style, traditional point guard.

He doesn't always pass first and shoot second. He doesn't wear crotch-pinching short-shorts that look like they're made of silk. And he doesn't resemble manic-butterfly Bob Cousy, dribbling round and round and round in dizzying fashion until his opponents either lose interest or barf.

But Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill does not expect that of Rose. O'Neill knows Rose needs to score to find his rhythm, regardless of what position he's playing.

"Jalen always has been an excellent scorer and an excellent shooter," said O'Neill, whose team will complete its Western trip with a game tonight in Denver -- where Rose began his NBA career -- against Carmelo Anthony and the Nuggets. "(Rose) hasn't shot particularly well from the outside since he came over to our place, but I think a lot of it is repetition.

"You need to give him some rope to let him do some things offensively. He hit two huge shots when we were struggling (against the Clippers). That's what we need to see out of Jalen."

O'Neill has been noticeably and consistently complimentary of Rose ever since the trade, and it's understandable given Rose's reputation as a squeaky wheel. O'Neill knows he needs to keep Rose on board, both mentally and physically.

For Rose's part, he simply was relieved to see a few jumpers falling on Sunday, when he went 10-for-17 from the field.

After the game he alluded to some minor injuries that are on the mend but may have been affecting his shooting previously.

However, on a lot of nights it just seemed as if his shot was out of sync. He was arching his shooting wrist way too far back and essentially catapulting the ball toward the basket, with predictable results.

"One thing I never was worried about was (Rose's) shot," Carter said. "I've seen him score, and he can score."

Not that everything is solved now, but the more often Rose shoots the ball efficiently, the more often the Raptors will have a chance to win.

"We need to shore up our rebounding and our defence, obviously," Rose said. "But every team in this league has loopholes and we just have to play around that, rebound as a unit and play as a unit.

"Personally, I'm just playing with confidence and I'm going to keep improving."

If Rose keeps improving, the Raptors will, too.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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