Rose move timely

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

What Sam Mitchell hates more than being criticized by the media, is being praised by the same.

Mitchell became visibly uncomfortable this week when someone suggested that his moving an underperforming Jalen Rose to bench duty from Dec.22 to Jan. 26 was a wise move.

Instead of sulking, as another former Raptors star did during his time with the team this season, Rose responded by playing inspired ball, including setting a franchise record by netting 32 points as a reserve on Jan. 21 at Washington.

And since being moved back to the starting lineup, Rose has continued his stalwart ways, earning Eastern Conference player-of-the-week honours for Feb. 22-27.

By moving Rose to the bench and then back to the starting lineup, Mitchell has managed to get the most out of his veteran forward.

"I told Jalen when I made the move (to relegate him) I though there were certain things he could do better," Mitchell said. "Naturally he didn't agree, but I can accept that. But I'm making decisions based on what I think is best for the team."

For his part, Rose said the he "respects the game" too much to pout and give a poor effort.

"A lot of times as athletes, we get vilified for who we are -- the fame, the money, the prestige, that comes with being an athlete, when I'm just a guy who was born into the game, the biological son of a father who I never met that was an NBA star (Jimmy Walker)," he said. "Basketball was always in my blood and in my genes so if I wasn't playing against the Spurs (last night) I'd probably be at your local rec centre or YMCA or somebody's backyard trying to get a game of five-on-five. You have to still respect the game."

AROUND THE RIM

Raptors massage therapist Ray Chow was late arriving to San Antonio on Tuesday after missing the team charter at Pearson International because of the snowstorm in the Toronto area. The popular Chow had to find his own way to the Lone Star State. There was no fine issued, just a bit of good-natured ridicule by some of the players.


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