Raptors in a zone

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:59 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell decided to employ a zone defence for stretches in the second and third quarters against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

One of the reasons Mitchell opted for the zone was that so many of his players were in foul trouble, not to mention the fact that forward Donyell Marshall left the game just before the half after suffering a strained right hamstring.

"It partially was to protect the guys in foul trouble, but it also was just to do something, to change the flow of the game, because (the Jazz was) picking us apart," Mitchell said.

"Sacramento (the Raptors played the Kings on Tuesday) and Utah are two of the better passing teams in the league. They cut hard. And you don't see that every day. We just tried to change the rhythm of the game to throw them off.

"We were in foul trouble, Donyell was injured, it was looking kind of bleak. We just felt like we needed to buy some time and hang in the game."

If that was the intent, mission accomplished. The Raptors wound up winning 104-95.

NOTHING'S FREE

The Raptors had only 15 free-throw attempts on Wednesday, as opposed to 35 by the Jazz. But Mitchell didn't think his team got a raw deal.

"We're not going to get anything, nobody is going to give us anything," said Mitchell, intimating that it's going to take a while for the Raptors to build up some respect around the league again. "Anything we get, we're going to have to go out and take it, earn it, fight for it. And as long as we keep that mentality, we're going to be okay.

"We just did some dumb things. We fouled shooters, we tapped them on the elbow. The referees don't want to call that stuff. But if you do it when a guy's in the act of shooting, they have to call it."

HITTING THE CLUBS

The Raptors did not have a formal practice yesterday, but they worked out together at a health club in Seattle. Hopefully they all did the courteous thing and wiped the machines clear of sweat when they were finished using them.


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