Coach raps Moiso after rout

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:12 AM ET

The toughest slam by a member of the Raptors last night was the one head coach Sam Mitchell laid on Toronto centre Jerome Moiso. Minutes after the Raptors recorded an embarrassing 129-108 loss against the Orlando Magic here in Orlando, Mitchell laid into Moiso for what he said is a lackadaisical attitude during practice.

The Raptors were out-rebounded an astounding 61-32 against the Magic and Mitchell was seething afterward, directing his wrath at Moiso, who has recorded very little playing time this year despite possessing great skills and a made-to-order body for the NBA.

"The frustrating thing for me ... look at Jerome Moiso sitting over there (on the bench) and he can go out and help us. And I'm asking him, 'when?' " Mitchell said. "But he's got to earn it. It's hard to put him in the game when he doesn't bring it in practice every day.

"He and I have had talks, and he feels like he has been treated unfairly," Mitchell said. "But it's hard to put him in the game over guys who come to practice and work hard every day, and he sits around and feels sorry for himself.

"The sad thing about it, he's the only guy on our team physical enough and athletic enough to compete against Kelvin Cato or a Dwight Howard because he has the physical stature (6-foot-10, 260 pounds) to do that.

"It's not really fair to this team for him to just sit there and take up air."

Moiso, who played six minutes of garbage time late in the debacle last night which dropped Toronto to 7-10 with four more games on the road swing, was taken aback by Mitchell's attack -- the first major blowout between the rookie head coach and a player this season.

"I do bring it. I'm just a little different in the way that it looks easy and if it's not working, it's looks like I'm not doing anything," Moiso said in defence of his practice work ethic. "I try to bring the best every day. I think I deserve the chance (to play)."

The Raptors travelled north to play the Magic last night, but their game went south. After an unexpected 94-92 victory in Miami against the Heat on Tuesday, the Raps were completely out-gunned by the Magic in a "battle" between two run-and-gun Eastern Conference squads.

Vince Carter, who grew up 80 km down the I-4 in Daytona Beach, led the Toronto charge with 21 points, while Magic point guard Steve Francis led the opposition with 23 points and nine assists.

Power forward Howard picked up 20 rebounds (a career high) and 15 points in an another game where the Raptors played marginal defence at best.

Orlando centre Cato also had a double-double, with 12 points and 14 boards.

The Magic shot 57% from the field, compared to 43% for Toronto.


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