Rookies feel the pressure

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

With three days off between games, Raptors coach Sam Mitchell was bombarded with questions about the team's poor 1-9 home record heading into last night.

Sometimes he was sarcastic -- "Do you want me to prepare a certain meal or something," he said at one point -- sometimes he was short and sometimes he was honest.

An honest answer came last night when he was asked whether young players feel more pressure at home.

"I think younger guys feel more nerves, period," Mitchell said. "Everybody expects you to win at home, which is not always the case. I'm sure they do (feel pressure).

"Part of being a professional athlete is learning how to block out the good and the bad. The good, when you're playing great and everybody is patting you on the back, you have to block that out and keep it in proper perspective. When you're not playing so well, you have to be able to block that out, too, because it will continue to bring you down."

DECEMBER TO REMEMBER

The Raptors already have matched their win total from last December. The Raptors were 3-2 in December heading into last night's game against the Chicago Bulls. The Raptors were 3-12 in December last season, the month which featured the bad Vince Carter trade.

MO GAMES THAN ANYONE

Raptors swingman Morris Peterson played his NBA-active leading 300th consecutive game last night and is just seven games away from becoming the Raptors' career games leader. The injured Alvin Williams is the current leader at 417 games. Peterson, barring an injury or trade, will play his 418th on Dec. 28.

"It's a blessing to be with one organization through its ups and downs," said Peterson, a career Raptor.

BRIEFLY

In seven games with the Arkansas RimRockers of the D-league, Raptors forward Pape Sow is averaging 21.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 35 minutes and is shooting 52% from the field ... Today is the first day when NBA teams can trade players who signed contracts in the off-season.


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