Long bomb gives Raps shot in arm

Raptors forward Chris Bosh takes a shot during practice yesterday at the ACC. The team faces the...

Raptors forward Chris Bosh takes a shot during practice yesterday at the ACC. The team faces the Wizards tonight. (Toronto Sun/Ernest Doroszuk)

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

The Raptors do not have a Jerome Bettis-style player, a guy who is going to rumble to pay dirt.

Instead, the Raptors favour a Peyton Manning-style air show, looking deep early and often.

So says Jalen Rose, who ventured into football talk to explain the Raptors' propensity for jacking up three-pointers.

"That's our style of play, we're not a power team," said Rose, whose team has won three games in a row, thanks largely to the long ball. "It's kind of like having a running game. We're not the type of team that is going to pound you with the running game. We've got to beat you with trick plays, double reverses and things of that nature. That's how we play, that's our style and it has been working so far."

At least recently. The Raptors have hit 10 or more three-point shots during the past six games, a stretch in which they are 5-1. Toronto ranks second in the NBA in three-point percentage (.375) and is fourth in the league for most three-point attempts (20.55).

Cynics will say the long ball can only take a team so far. In football, Bettis' Pittsburgh Steelers are in the final four while Manning's Indianapolis Colts are toast.

And just last week, Raptors coach Sam Mitchell criticized his players for attempting a team-record 32 three-pointers in a loss against the Philadelphia 76ers. But many of those shots were rushed or ill-advised.

"It (isn't) the number (of threes), it's when we take them and where they come from," Mitchell said. "I don't think you dribble up and shoot three. If the ball is moved around the perimeter like we've been doing, those are good shots. If we throw it inside to Chris (Bosh) and he kicks it out, that's a good shot."

Besides, it would be foolish for Mitchell to tell his team to play away from its strengths.

"We're a jump shooting basketball team," he said. "We don't have Shaquille O'Neal. How is it we're supposed to score? We don't have guys taking people off the dribble one-on-one. We don't have Tracy McGrady, Kevin Garnett or Tim Duncan.

"Donyell Marshall is a three-point shooter, Matt Bonner is a jump shooter and Jalen and Chris are our only inside guys. What would you have me do? Take Matt Bonner and put him in the post? Tell Donyell, don't do what you do best?"

Rose agrees.

"We've got to be happy just to win at this point," he said. "We're in no position to pick and choose how we get it."

The Raptors (17-23) will attempt to win a season-high fourth consecutive game tonight in Washington against the Wizards.


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