Raps have a shot

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

Morris Peterson sank a shot from mid-court at the end of practice and immediately wheeled, looking for the closest TV camera.

"Did you get that?" Peterson asked, a big smile spreading across his face.

When you're a member of the 1-15 Raptors, getting anything good on tape is rare. A few minutes later, Peterson was clinging to the hope his shot was a positive omen.

"Jalen Rose and I practise those shots every day and hopefully it is (a sign of) good things to come," Peterson said. "We might have to pull it out (tonight)."

That would be in Atlanta against the Hawks, where the opposition will provide the Raptors' best chance in a while at win No. 2. Toronto has a firm grip on the basement in the Atlantic Division, and Atlanta (2-12) occupies the same spot in the Southeast. There was no word whether tickets would be hard to come by tonight at Philips Arena for the match between the two worst teams in the NBA.

After facing the Hawks, the Raptors are in New Jersey to meet Vince Carter and the Nets tomorrow night before moving on to play the Wizards in Washington on Tuesday night.

Media is not allowed to watch the majority of each Raptors practice but apparently the one at the Air Canada Centre yesterday was intense, with coach Sam Mitchell letting his players go at it.

"The coaches rolled the ball on the court and told us to play," Peterson said. "They made us coach ourselves and go out there and figure out what we need to do make adjustments on the floor. I think overall we had a great practice."

The Raptors were out of their most recent loss, 92-66 to the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night at the ACC, not long after the opening tip and it's something that understandably bothered Mitchell. He had a clear message to his charges yesterday.

"A lot of times, you try harder against your brother than you do against the guy down the street," Rose said. "That is the kind of overtone that Sam was giving the team, that just as hard as we compete against each other, we have to be that competitive against the opponent, to take it personally."

With one win in 16 games, the Raptors are on pace for five, and even with the manner in which they have been performing, it seems inconceivable they will set a record for fewest wins in an NBA season. It's nine, held by the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers. Despite their on-court misery, the players say they don't figure major changes, either in the front office or on the court, would do much good.

"Why not shake things up by playing 48 minutes as hard as we can?"Chris Bosh said. "That would be enough shaking up for everybody here. If we can do that just one time, we could give ourselves a chance to be up at the end of a game. We have to police each other and get on each other. The coaches, all they can do is tell us to play hard. It is up to us to bring the intensity every night."


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