Raptors run hot, cold

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:55 AM ET

SEATTLE -- Sam Mitchell is perplexed.

How can his Raptors look so good one minute and so bad the next?

Why does his team follow instructions on one trip down the court and then do the opposite a minute later?

These are just a couple of the questions the Raptors coach can't answer. Somehow, some way, the Raptors need to deliver a consistent effort to salvage a five-game West Coast trip that has started with two losses.

The Raptors will try to break a 13-game losing streak out west tonight against the struggling Sonics here in football-crazy Seattle.

"When we do the things we work on, we're actually a pretty good basketball team," Mitchell said. "That's the tough part. That's the thing that drives me crazy, because we've shown when we do those things, it works."

The Raptors began this trip with the fourth fewest turnovers per game in the NBA. But all of a sudden, the ball is squirting loose all the time. There were 15 turnovers in Tuesday's loss to the Utah Jazz and 18 more the next night in a gut-wrenching, two-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers.

"We're turning the ball over because we're trying to make passes we haven't been trying to make," Mitchell said. "Make easy passes and it leads to easy plays. We're trying to skip the ball. We're trying to throw the ball through the defence. We're trying to make bounce passes to people. Trust me, we talk about it, we show them, we explain why we don't make those passes."

The Raptors, thanks to the turnovers, had a franchise-low 60 field-goal attempts against the Trail Blazers. That's a good way to ruin a 53.3% shooting night.

"If we get 85 attempts like we normally do and we shoot the ball the way we shoot the ball, we win the game," Mitchell said. "I have no idea why for 10 games we would pass the ball and the last two, we haven't."

Mitchell had a long, passionate conversation with his players after the Portland game to remind them of all the lessons they supposedly have learned.

"We were just talking about things we do and trying to get an understanding of why we continue to do the same things and why we wait until we get down to decide to execute our game plan and play," he said.

Of course, Mitchell doesn't have a great lineup at his disposal. With Chris Bosh as his only big stud, he was forced to employ Matt Bonner to guard large and tough Zach Randolph at times. Not exactly an ideal scenario, is it coach?

"Is there an answer you want me to give you?" Mitchell said.

"You keep talking perfect world scenarios but in a perfect world a lot of these games we lost, we would have won. I can't dwell on that, our team is what it is."


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