Raptors' schedule horror

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:28 AM ET

The Raptors will not be sending a Christmas card to the NBA's schedule maker.

For the first time in their 10 seasons in the NBA, the Raptors have two six-game road swings in a season this year. The first trip begins tonight in Sacramento against the Kings, while the next six-gamer isn't far off -- a Nov. 30-Dec. 8 east coast journey.

Overall, the Raptors play 14 of their next 18 on the road, but the players aren't fretting.

"Right from the door, a lot of people counted us out," Raptors big man Donyell Marshall said. "You can probably look back and (find many people who believed the Raptors would be) 0-3 right now going into this long trip and could possibly come back 0-9. It's good to be underdogs. People don't put any pressure on you."

Surprisingly, the Raptors' previous six-game trip was a success. In 2001-02, the Raptors went 4-2 on a western jaunt.

The Raptors' longest trips were a pair of seven-game visits, way back in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

NO WORRIES

Much has been made about Marshall playing in the final year of his contract, but the 11th-year pro said he's not concerned.

"I think you guys (the media) are worried about that," he said. "I don't think I've brought up the contract at the end of the year at all. I think I'm a lot smarter. Obviously, statistics are key, but I think if we make the playoffs, I'll get more rewarded for that than if I average 18 (points) and 10 (rebounds)."

BRIEFLY

Injured guard Alvin Williams (right knee) will not be with the Raptors on this trip as he has returned home to Philadelphia to deal with personal matters. Williams is expected to consult with Dr. Richard Steadman, in Vail, Colo., before deciding on a course of action for the knee, but it is unclear when that visit will take place.


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