Dose of reality

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

So much for that undefeated season on which the Raptors had been working.

To borrow a harsh assessment from Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, the Raptors were too stupid last night to overcome the Sacramento Kings, who won 108-92 at Arco Arena.

"We just took bad shots and didn't pass the ball," said Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, being more polite than Parcells.

"And we can't play that way. Our strength is our passing."

The Raptors had only 16 assists, compared to 31 by Sacramento.

The Kings have no great inside presence, but the Raptors spent the evening tossing up jump shots, the majority of which they were missing badly. And for the first time this season, the Raptors were far more error-prone than their opponents.

That the Raptors were energetic enough to hang around for a while made their mistakes even harder to digest. They shot a paltry 36.1% from the field and hit on only five of 22 three-point attempts while allowing the Kings to shoot 54.2% overall.

"We're a jump-shooting team, we are what we are," Mitchell said. "But it was one-pass, shoot, two-pass, shoot. We took quick shots, bad shots."

The Raptors dropped to 3-1 with the loss in their first road game of the season. The Kings had lost their first three games in Texas, but improved to 1-3 with a win in their home opener.

Chris Webber had a triple-double for the Kings with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. Rafer Alston and Jalen Rose led the Raptors with 15 points each, while Vince Carter scored only 12 and Chris Bosh only two.

"I felt like I was a non-factor," Bosh said. "I think we learned a lesson -- we have to trust our offence and pass the ball. We panicked when (the Kings) got off to their quick run."

The Raptors knew they would have to find a way to survive the first few frantic minutes, with the Kings desperate for a win.

"We're not going to wait for them to punch us in the mouth," Mitchell had said beforehand.

Well, the Raptors not only got punched in the mouth early in the first quarter, they had their shins kicked and their ears boxed, too. Before the Raptors cracked a sweat, they were down 9-0 and had missed their first eight shots.

Toronto's second unit got outplayed by Sacramento's second unit in the second quarter, as the visitors couldn't buy a bucket. Symbolizing the team's frustration was an offensive series on which Loren Woods had a shot blocked, snagged the rebound, had another shot blocked, snagged the rebound, and had a third shot blocked, all in a matter of seconds.

Still, the Raptors went on a mini-run just before the break to cut the deficit to 52-45.

"We just have to make sure that at the half we're in the game," Mitchell had said.

The coach got his wish.

However, the Raptors were puzzlingly flat in the third quarter and fell behind by an insurmountable 22 points. Even Mitchell's first technical foul of the season, for pointing out some curious officiating, didn't provide a spark.

"We weren't the unselfish team you saw in the first three games," Carter said.

The Raptors' gruelling six-game Western trip continues tonight in Salt Lake City against the red-hot Utah Jazz.


Videos

Photos