Road rough on Raps

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:26 AM ET

The Raptors were a loose bunch after their practice at the American Airlines Arena in Miami yesterday.

But the team's relaxed front was deceiving. This is a slumping squad that is about to play six games in a row on the road. In eight road games thus far this season, Toronto has won only once.

Head coach Sam Mitchell wasn't about to dish out a speech to the Toronto media yesterday when asked how his team will prepare for the long road swing.

"Whatever I said (on Sunday) about the road trip, is what I'm saying today," Mitchell told the media. "I can't remember what it was, but that's what it is. If it was good and juicy, then you've got something good. If it was bland, that's what you've got."

On Sunday, following a disheartening 114-109 overtime loss to Washington, Mitchell said his club has to find a way to win away from the Air Canada Centre.

BOUNCE BACK

Point guard Rafer Alston, who had a breakthrough year playing for the Miami Heat last season, is not overly concerned that his game will destruct at the American Airlines Arena tonight like it did last Saturday in his home town of New York City.

"You bounce back from it," he said. "That's the one thing about the NBA, you have to get ready for the next night and the months to come.

"I have these slumps," he added. "I'm a streaky shooter. I can go on a four-, five-game tear, I can go on a four-game slump where I'm not shooting the ball right. But I'm comfortable shooting in this building. What better chance to break out of a slump than against your former team?"

WADE TO GO

Mitchell had good words for young Miami point guard Dwyane Wade, who has cracked the NBA top-10 in both scoring (25.2 ppg) and assists (7.6).

"He's got confidence. You look at him on tape, he's just confident. From last year to this year, it's night and day," Mitchell said. "He's one of the great young players in the league."


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