Raps looking for leader

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:10 AM ET

The Raptors do not demonstrate leadership ability, follow instructions or play much defence.

Other than that, Sam Mitchell feels all is well with his bad, bad team.

The fiery coach tore apart his team in an emotional rant after the Raptors (4-18) lost 105-94 against the Chicago Bulls last night before 16,169 at the Air Canada Centre.

The greatest concern for Mitchell is that the players are not standing up and taking charge of the dressing room.

"The disappointing thing for me is at some point somebody in the locker room should say something to each other," Mitchell said after his team fell to 1-10 at home. "The coaches were on them, but at some point they're going to have to understand this is their basketball team and they've got to take ownership of it and somebody in the locker room has got to say something and guys have got to be able to accept it when they say it and go out and play. That's what teams do. That's what we've got to do.

"Every now and then, you've got to grab a guy and say: 'Hey, get his ass off the post. Meet him early. But we have 1,000 excuses why it didn't get done."

The Raptors defence was atrocious last night as the Bulls shot an opponent season-high 58% from the field to extend their winning streak against Toronto to 10 games. The Bulls also outrebounded the Raptors 42-25. If not for the Bulls' 22 turnovers, this one would have been severely one-sided.

"At some point, you've got to be able to process information and start doing it," Mitchell said.

"The reality of it is we're doing it every day, we're teaching it, we're drilling it, we're talking about it, we're showing it on tape, it's in the scouting report, it's on the board, we're reading it to them. At some point, you've got to be able to process information and go out and actually do it. If you can't do that, you need to find something else you can do."

Disjointed on offence, the Raptors gave away a 56-51 halftime lead when they were outscored 25-12 in the third quarter, including an 11-0 lead-changing run. It was the Raptors' second-lowest point total in a quarter this season.

The Raptors whittled a 13-point deficit down to three with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, but Chris Bosh then threw a pass out of bounds and Mike James took an ill-advised long shot that missed (something he did way too much) on consecutive possessions.

"They're not pressuring us, we're throwing cross-court passes with one hand, things that you're taught not to do from pre-school," Mitchell said.

The big three of James, Bosh and Morris Peterson were a combined 15-of-44 from the field. James (17) actually took one more shot than Bosh, who finished with a team-leading 25 points but just three rebounds.

Meanwhile, Jalen Rose scored a grand total zero points for the second time this season and didn't get off the bench in the second half for the second game in a row.

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REPORT CARD

B Offence: Too many long jump shots, too early in the shot clock, notably Mike James who jacked it up from everywhere.

D Defence: The Bulls shot 58% from the floor and out-scored the Raptors in the paint, 40-28.


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