In the Knick of time

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:39 AM ET

The Raptors might not be Vince Carter's ideal employer these days, but there is one team he apparently wants to play for even less.

Can you say Washington Generals?

After a heartless 102-86 defeat to the Washington Wizards Tuesday night, coach Sam Mitchell compared his moribund squad to the Generals, the long-time whipping boys of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Less than 24 hours later, the Raptors took to the Air Canada Centre floor and delivered a Trotter-like pasting to the visiting New York Knicks, featuring a third-quarter Vinsanity dunk that would make Curly Neal proud.

What's the deal with the turnaround?

Was it something Mitchell said?

That's a safe bet, judging by the Raptors' 114-91 blowout last night over the hapless Knicks team of ex- Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens.

With their ears likely still burning from Slammin' Sammy's pull-no-punches-tirade, the Raps dominated.

Carter was the catalyst, registering 14 points in the first quarter alone en route to a 22-point evening. Some cynics might suggest the performance was nothing more than an audition for the Knicks, said to be one of Carter's preferred destinations.

But let's give Carter the benefit of a doubt. For today, anyway.

Give Mitchell credit. Maybe his team didn't like being reamed out in public, but it certainly paid dividends.

"Look, I'm not going to say anything about our team that I don't say in front of them," Mitchell said, refusing to make apologies for his stinging comments in Washington.

Mitchell added that his team's lacklustre play can make him lose his mind.

What about having your coach lose his mind?

"No comment," forward Morris Peterson said. "We're professionals. It's not our job to take things personally. It might not be the best way (to motivate) but it's (Mitchell's) way."

Peterson admitted Tom Izzo, his coach at Michigan State, used to ride his players much harder than Mitchell.

"That's why I'm used to it," he said. "It's tough love.

"Sometimes (a coach) may say something to hurt you in order to make you better."

Whatever the case, the Raptors were much better last night.

Although they were outrebounded yet again -- the team's obvious Achilles heel through the first month of the season -- at least the Raptors hit the glass with an intensity that obviously did not accompanying them to Washington the previous night.

Mitchell also received a season high 50 points from the bench, led by Milt Palacio's 18.

The two teams finish off the home-and-home series Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

The Raps hope Donyell Marshall, who has missed the past eight games with a strained right hamstring, said he expects to come off the injured list and play against the Knicks.


Videos

Photos