Schedule helps Raps

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

Sam Mitchell has been ornery at times with the media lately, but yesterday the Raptors head coach had them laughing at the MCI Center when asked about the team's victory in Minnesota on Monday. "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then," Mitchell said of the win, which snapped the club's 11-game road losing streak.

The Raptors have only one extended road swing left after spending the first two months of the season constantly on the road, including two west-coast swings. Most teams in the Eastern Conference have a more difficult schedule than the Raps from here on in.

"The road is tough (and) there are teams in the East, when they make these long, west-coast trips, they'll find out," he said. "They haven't been on them yet. And if (the NBA) does to them like they did to us, put them out for 12 days and six games, they'll find out just how tough it really is."

ROSE BLOSSOMS IN FOURTH

In the Raptors' four games before their contest in Washington last night, Jalen Rose had averaged 11 points and shot 55% from the field in the fourth quarter. He has scored 37% of the Raptors' points in the fourth quarter.

AROUND THE RIM

Other stats entering play last night: The Raptors are 9-0 when Chris Bosh records 20 or more points ... Morris Peterson ranks third in the NBA for current consecutive playing streaks with 237 games in a row, a franchise record, behind Washington's Antawn Jamison (365) and Desmond Mason of Milwaukee (256) ... Under Kevin O'Neill's strict half-court defensive style last season, the Raptors scored the fewest points in the NBA, scoring fewer than 80 points 26 times. This season the Raptors have not scored fewer than 80 in a single game ... The Raps rank second in the NBA in three-point efficiency, shooting 38% from beyond the arc. They rank fourth in the league, behind Phoenix, the Lakers and Seattle for most three-point attempts, averaging 20.55 per outing ... Lamond Murray is shooting 47% from three-point range this season, third in the NBA ... Forward Matt Bonner ranks second among rookies with a 56% field-goal percentage.


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