The James gang

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

Last night's tilt between the Raptors and Houston Rockets almost turned into a basketbrawl game.

Late in the second quarter, Raptors guard Mike James scored on a running jump shot from four feet out to put Toronto ahead 34-33, took a foul, and then had words with former teammate Juwan Howard.

Howard then walked over to James and shoved the basketball right in the Toronto's player face, at which point James had to be restrained by mates Morris Peterson and Jalen Rose.

Toronto coach Sam Mitchell charged on to the court to help break up a potential brawl, as Houston's Tracy McGrady, a former Raptor, escorted Howard off the court.

James and Howard were both nailed with a technical foul, while Howard was also thrown out of the game. James then stepped up and buried the foul.

NOT EXACTLY THE PISTONS

Mitchell waived aside fears that his team, which had won four straight heading into last night's game, would start taking winning for granted.

"I don't think we've won enough (to do that)," he said. "We're still 10-22. That's the thing we have to stay focussed on. We dug such a deep hole (in the beginning of the year)."

INJURY UPDATE

Rookie point guard Jose Calderon returned to the lineup last night after missing three games because of a bruised right heel. Centre Aaron Williams was put on the inactive list because of the stomach flu.

FUN WITH STATS

The Raptors are dead-last in the NBA in rebounding, but are second in preventing offensive rebounds ... Toronto is also last in total defence, giving up an average of 102.1 points per game ... Matt Bonner started for only the third time this season last night.


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