No rest for weary Raptors

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:50 AM ET

The fun just never stops for the Raptors.

Who wouldn't want to sweat it out in the practice gym for more than an hour immediately after a long flight home from San Francisco?

That was the not-so-lovely schedule for the 1-13 team yesterday in the wake of a 117-91 loss against the Golden State Warriors Saturday night, capping an 0-4 West- Coast swing. The team boarded a bus at the airport and headed straight to the Air Canada Centre for a practice.

Frustrated Raptors coach Sam Mitchell was in such a good mood after practice yesterday that he refused to talk to reporters, pretty much the first time he has done that without a valid excuse in his two-year tenure.

So it was left to the players and assistant coach Jim Todd to toe the party line. This was a much-needed practice, not a punishment for a team that has to return to the Air Canada Centre court tonight against the Dallas Mavericks.

"I don't even think it was a message," the personable Todd said. "It was a matter of we had three good games (on the road), we played well enough to win and unfortunately lost. One of the things Sam said earlier (yesterday) is we just laid an egg in this game. If anything, it was just trying to get a sour taste out of our mouth and get their legs back underneath them. We don't want to have that memory of the last thing we did is getting blown out going into another game (tonight)."

Struggling swingman Jalen Rose wasn't surprised with Mitchell's decision to call a practice, considering the team has had just one day off since the start of training camp. After playing four games in five days, Rose was asked whether he thought it was beneficial to practise with another game on the agenda tonight.

"It's a catch-22," he said. "If we go out and play well, it was a great move. If we don't play well, it's going to be questioned.

"The bottom line is we're a young team and practising is something we need to do."

With the Raptors last in the league in defence and in the overall standings, they have plenty to work on.

"They just have to execute the best they possibly can," Todd said. "The only way you're going to do that is drilling. Whatever your sport is or your profession is, it's repetition, repetition. If you're in sales, you've got to get out there and bang the bushes and keep after it, after it, after it until you get it. It's the same for us. We have to keep working on it until we do it right. If you're 29th or 30th in the league in defence, you can't afford to take a day off if you're 1-13."


Videos

Photos