Another game, another loss

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell seems ready to throw in the towel.

But you can't blame the guy, considering his Raptors are a flawed, selfish, defensively-soft basketball team.

In a surprise to no one, the defending champion Detroit Pistons beat the Raptors 113-103 last night before a sellout crowd of 19,800 at the Air Canada Centre.

"If I've got a miracle to use, I'd probably save it because it's going to take a big one," Mitchell said when asked about the Raptors' slim playoff hopes.

"Probably everybody above us has to go 0-9 and we have to go 9-0."

LOOKING TO NEXT YEAR

With the Raptors at 30-43 after watching the Pistons go on a 16-0 run to take a commanding 107-90 lead in the fourth quarter, this season can't end soon enough.

"We're going to play some of the young guys and let them play and see what we've got to build with next year," Mitchell said, all but confirming this season is toast.

Two days after Mitchell called the team out for individualistic play, the Raptors went out and played the same way.

Toronto had only 16 assists, compared to Detroit's 28. Starting point guard Rafer Alston had just two helpers. Once again, Alston and Rose barely passed the ball to each other in the first quarter. Not coincidentally, Rose had three points with Alston in the game during the first quarter and 14 with backup Milt Palacio at the point in the second.

"It's not just one guy's job necessarily to get me the ball and worry about if I get shots," Rose, who tied Morris Peterson with a team-high 22 points, said. "Obviously (Alston) has the ball the majority of the time, but I'm not really going to get into it."

It is clear Rose and Alston aren't seeing eye-to-eye, even after indicating all is well again.

"There are times when I drive the lane and have a layup and I get all the way to the rim and I throw it back out for a guy who is spotted up for a three," Alston said. "Assists only count if a guy makes the shot."

Frustration is setting in for the entire team. Donyell Marshall, 0-for-6 from the field, and Mitchell both received technical fouls.

It was mildly annoying for home fans to watch the Pistons slam home easy dunks on six of their first 14 field goals. Or how about watching the Raptors go eight minutes 37 seconds without a field goal in the fourth?

Defensively, the Raptors weren't good, either, as the Pistons shot 57.9%. Chauncey Billups scored a game-high 26 points for Detroit. On the positive side, a bunch of Raptors' backups cut the lead to six in the final minute and forced Pistons coach Larry Brown to bring back his starters.

"I'm not going to talk about that," Brown said in a disgusted tone.


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