Coach has plenty of tricks

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:55 PM ET

When it comes to pushing his three rookies, Sam Mitchell is not a one-trick pony.

The Raptors coach has a number of ways to light a fire under Charlie Villanueva, Joey Graham and Jose Calderon.

One is to call out a player in the media, as he did Wednesday night to Villanueva after a loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Another is to remind them of first-round picks who are out of the NBA. He brought up Marcus Haislip, whom Mitchell coached as an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks, and fellow Georgia native Will Avery as examples yesterday.

"You use examples not in a bad way, but just to let them know that every time you think you deserve something without working for it, there are two things that can happen," Mitchell said. "You may not get what you think you should get and then you really may get something you shouldn't get. You just have to constantly work and stay level-headed and stay focused."

It's easy for players to start feeling sorry for themselves and Mitchell doesn't want his youngsters to get in that habit.

"There are two lines, one short (one) of people who get everything they want and there is one that stretches endlessly," Mitchell said. "You just might as well fill your tank up with gas and put some extra gallons of gas in the trunk and just keep on riding because that line is going to stretch a long way."

AN INCONSISTENT BUNCH

Before the game last night, Mitchell was talking about how his team had lost plenty of games where it outscored its opponent in three of four quarters.

Well, that's a bit of an exaggeration. But Mitchell does have a point.

In seven of their past nine losses heading into the game last night, the Raptors had been outscored in two or fewer quarters in the respective game.

BRIEFLY

How the mighty have fallen.

Vince Carter, yes that Vince Carter, has been mentioned in some Ron Artest trade rumours involving the New Jersey Nets and the Indiana Pacers.


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