Mitchell can't complain

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- At least Raptors coach Sam Mitchell wasn't ripping his players after the team's most recent pre-season loss.

In fact, Mitchell seemed reasonably pleased with his squad's effort in a 107-100 loss against the Boston Celtics last night at Verizon Wireless Arena.

In the wake of a 102-101 overtime loss against the Utah Jazz in the pre-season opener, after which Mitchell blasted the players for their poor rebounding, the Raptors competed well and wilted only in the final minute. The Celtics, who overcame a 39-22 second-quarter deficit, scored the game's final seven points.

"For a second pre-season game, I can't complain," Mitchell said. "I thought we improved a lot in some of the areas we didn't do as well in first game."

Specifically rebounding, where the Celtics pulled away at the end to beat the Raptors 44-36 in that category. One problem for the Raptors continues to be foul trouble as the Celtics took 60 free throws, compared to 34 for the Raptors.

"We've got to (bring the referees) in and just let them call everything because we've just got to clean that up," Mitchell said.

Mitchell gave the starting unit a bit more time yesterday and it performed well. The best player on the floor was point guard Mike James, who scored a game-high 20 points. Occasionally, Mitchell put the ball in Jalen Rose's hands at the point and let him run the show.

"(When the Raptors' starters) start playing more together and get a better feel for each other, I think we're going to really jell together easy," James said.

Mitchell made a couple of changes to his starting lineup last night, inserting local star Matt Bonner for Morris Peterson, who played despite a stiff back, and replacing Loren Woods with Rafael Araujo.

The Raptors, meanwhile, continue to have injury problems. Three players joined forward Eric Williams (knee) and guard Alvin Williams (knee) on the sideline last night -- forwards Joey Graham (knee), Pape Sow (groin) and Aaron Williams (ankle).

The Raptors play host to Maccabi Tel Aviv of Israel tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre.


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