Dismal times for Rose

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell wandered over to Jalen Rose inside the locker room at the Staples Center and gave the veteran swingman a playful tap on the shoulder.

"Hang in there man," Mitchell said, as Rose hung his head in frustration following Toronto's 103-100 loss to the L.A. Clippers on Wednesday night -- a game in which Rose shot a dismal 1-for-12 from the field, 1-for-4 from three-point range, and missed two free throws in five attempts.

A veteran of 12 seasons in the NBA, Rose is mired in what he describes as the worse shooting slump of his career. After 12 games, he is averaging 34% from the field, down from 46% last season, and is scoring 12.6 points per game, which is a good six points below last year.

BELOW AVERAGE

What makes the slump even worse is that the Raptors have lost 11 of 12 and a decent game here and there by Rose, including Wednesday's game in L.A., and the last-place club might have a couple more notches in the win column. Rose acknowledges that and is beating himself up inside.

"I've never endured something like this," he said, shaking his head. "It's a unique scenario overall - our record and my play. There has been other good things I guess I've been doing out there on the floor, but this team needs me to put the ball in the basket and I haven't been doing that. And that really upsets me."

Another troubling aspect of the his early-season slump is that Rose is getting open looks on the court. A couple of times Mitchell has put the veteran on the bench, but Rose generally is getting a healthy number of minutes. Basically, there's no one else to blame for his problems, and Rose acknowledges that.

"I'm getting out there on the floor and it's just not happening," he said. "Not from the floor, not from the post, not from the free-throw line ... At least I'm not discriminating."

Some NBA insiders have been waiting for Rose, who wants to end his career on a winner, to demand a trade or lash out at the state of the Raptors organization. To his credit, he hasn't done that, and blames himself for many of the team's problems. He had been criticized early in the season for not playing hard on defence, but that part of his game hasn't been questioned of late.

"It's frustrating first and foremost to lose ball games, especially when we're getting valiant efforts and we're playing hard like we have the last couple of games," he said. "It's doubly frustrating the way I've been playing. The guys are doing what they can to help us win ball games, they're competing hard, they're playing up to their capabilities and they need me to step up and play the way I'm of playing. And I flat out haven't been shooting the ball the way I'm capable.

"I call this game the great humbler for a reason," said Rose, adding that there is no magic pill for coming out of a slump. "I'm going to continue to work hard in practice and be aggressive and do what I can. It's definitely part of the problem and I take it personally because we're not getting wins.

"If we were getting wins, I wouldn't care at all. But we're 1-11, so I care that much more."

The Raptors continue their four-game West Coast swing tonight in Sacramento with the final game on Saturday against the Golden State Warriors.


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