Graham learning fast

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:40 AM ET

After a slow start in his first professional season, Joey Graham might be poised to join fellow Raptors freshmen Charlie Villanueva and Jose Calderon in the spotlight.

While Villanueva and Calderon have made bigger early season splashes, Graham opened some eyes Tuesday with a solid performance in a 104-92 loss against Philadelphia 76ers.

"I thought Joey played better (Tuesday) night," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said before his team played host to the 76ers in the rematch last night at the ACC. "It seems like the light is coming on a little bit."

Graham brought some energy to the court and scored seven points on three-of-seven shooting. The small forward was a starter for the first five games of the season, matching up against athletic all-stars like LeBron James and Antawn Jamison, and struggled at times at both ends of the court.

But coming off the bench, Graham is playing with Calderon and Villanueva and seems to be improving.

"There's a lot of energy and intensity," the Oklahoma State product said when asked about the second unit, which brought the Raptors back into the game after a horrible start on Tuesday.

Graham doesn't see his new role as a demotion.

"I know it's a long process and a learning period for me," he said. "When I was coming in here, I thought I was going to come off the bench anyway. It's just going back to what I thought was going to happen."

PAPE SITS

To make room for new point guard Darrick Martin, they put forward Pape Sow on the inactive list.

CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH

Calderon tweaked an ankle Tuesday night in Philly, but he played last night. "I'm good," Calderon said

BRIEFLY

Food Drive Awareness Month continues Sunday at the Air Canada Centre with a special promotion before the afternoon game against the Miami Heat.

The first 25 fans to bring three or more non-perishable food items to Gate 1 will have the chance to meet Raptors star forward Chris Bosh and have their photo taken with him.


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