Going away present

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

Jumping to a 3-0 start to begin the season is big, but it is especially so for the Raptors.

A slow start in the first three games of the season, all at home, would have put Toronto against the eight-ball, as the team now heads out to the west coast for six very tough games, beginning tomorrow against the Sacramento Kings.

"You want to start off with at least two out of the first three at home. So to get all three is good," forward Jalen Rose said. "Hopefully we can go on the road and play some good basketball.

"We're the underdogs, that's how we're approaching it, like we're trying to get famous," he added. "Nobody knows who we are, nobody's paying attention to us.

"The road is a different animal," added coach Sam Mitchell. "We just have to come out and play hard."

NOT COMFORTABLE

Mitchell winced yesterday when asked if this current Raptors squad reminded him of the overachieving Milwaukee Bucks team he helped coach last season.

"Milwaukee was a great experience for myself and coach (Jim) Todd, but we're not in Milwaukee any more. We don't bring up comparisons with Milwaukee with our team," he said, suggesting that the Raps are actually more talented.

"We didn't have Vince Carter, Chris Bosh and Jalen Rose in Milwaukee," Mitchell said, adding that he expects his starters to log less minutes this season than last, especially if the bench is playing well.

"The difficulty is understanding that the days and the nights when our guys coming off the bench are giving us quality minutes, we have to enjoy that," he said.

NOTES

Yesterday's attendance (13,863) was not only the lowest ever, but also marked the first time a Raptors game drew less than 14,000 ... Mike Cvitkovic, Raptors media coordinator, sang the national anthems yesterday when the regular warbler failed to make it on time. The verdict? Not bad, but Sony Music will not be calling.


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