A sad showing by Raptors

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Ten minutes into the second quarter last night, a Raptors fan stood up and began chanting "defence"!

The home team already was trailing by 19, with the Memphis Grizzlies shooting 65% from the field.

His chant lasted exactly two words and died out, the crowd too shell-shocked to join in, which is understandable as last night's game, a 92-66 loss at the hands of the Grizzlies, was about as ugly and uninspiring as you can get.

Memphis shot 51% from the floor, largely because it was either getting uncontested looks or the Toronto defenders were out of position.

The Raps shot 35%.

The fans, at least the ones who still cared after the first quarter, began booing at half time and picked it up as the Raptors fell behind by 28 in the third. Frankly, the Raps deserved much worse.

Head coach Sam Mitchell has maintained that his club, if anything else, has been playing hard during the club's 1-15 start. Last night in front of 14,993 fans, the Raptors did not play especially hard.

"The effort was disappointing," a low-key Mitchell said, waving aside suggestions that he is on the verge losing it with some of his players.

"I don't think that's going to do any good right now," he said. "We have to keep searching and digging and trying different lineups, and different combinations and keep working. The only way out of this is to dig deep and find it."

The bottom line is, all the talk about Mitchell and/or general manager Rob Babcock getting fired may hold water. Babcock told the Toronto Sun before the season began that this team would probably not win as many games as last season (33). But nobody expected the situation to be as grim as it is now.

If the Raptors young players are slow to learn, that's one thing. But last night, the Raptors were never in the game.

Bringing Jalen Rose off the bench hasn't been the answer. Rose came into the game in the second quarter, played 12 minutes, shot 1-for-4 and then sat for the rest of the game. The most emotion he demonstrated was when he sat on the bench, bobbing his head to a Pat Benatar song on the PA system.

"It's not about me," Rose said, when asked about his frustration level. "I'm going to be a pro about whatever happens. I'm going to stay quiet and pray."

The Raptors shot 1-for-13 from beyond the arc and the 66 points was the lowest total since April 9, 2004. Memphis was 7-for-13 from the three-point line. Former Raptor Damon Stoudamire scored 19, while Pau Gasol had 15 and 10 rebounds.

Mike James, who started as the shooting guard, didn't get the job done. He was 0-for-7 from the field. For the second consecutive game, rookie point guard Jose Calderon started. His game was adequate, picking up seven assists and six points. But the Raptors need much more than that to start finding the win column.

The Raptors trailed 58-35 at half -- the most the Raps have trailed after 24 minutes this season -- as Memphis shot 62% to Toronto's 32%.


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