Raptors in shape

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell has a straight-forward theory as to why his team has a tendency to come back late in games: The Raptors generally are in better shape than most of their opponents.

"It's individuals," Mitchell said of his club's resilience. "But it's also the fact we had a hard training camp and really pushed our guys. I think we're in shape. At the end of games, we're not as tired as most teams. And I think the fact I've played a lot of people this year is a factor, too.

"We run every day. We make sure all our guys run every day. Even (yesterday during practice at Oakland University) we did a lot of running. You have to keep your legs fresh. I just think our guys are in shape and they play hard, man. For what we lack in size and talent sometimes, we make up for in playing with toughness, playing hard and playing together."

IN PRAISE OF MILT

With a day to think about it under his belt, Mitchell -- who has been hard on his players at times this season -- expressed extreme pride in the Raptors' effort during a 110-109 loss to the Boston Celtics at the Fleet Center on Wednesday night. Even though forward Chris Bosh left the game early in the fourth quarter with a bruised lower back, the remaining Raptors erased what earlier had been a 16-point deficit.

"We have to take our chances with what we've got," Mitchell said. "This is our team and I was proud of them. If we would have got a call or two it would have helped us, but we played hard. Our main thing is, don't quit, and don't quit on each other. To our guys' credit, they haven't done that."

The game was not decided till Raptors guard Milt Palacio's failed attempt at a driving layup as the clock expired. It appeared as if Palacio got fouled twice.

"One thing Milt is good at is getting to the basket strong," Mitchell said. "I thought he got a pretty good look. He could have passed it (Jalen Rose was open). But in that situation, I thought we got as good a shot as we would have got in any other situation. We had options and Milt took the ball strong to the basket. That's all you can ask."


Videos

Photos