James shoots from the lip

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:20 AM ET

Mike James decided to shoot the messenger yesterday after comments he made following Toronto's 122-104 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night blew up in his face.

James was critical of his coach Sam Mitchell for supposedly not doing enough to stop the Kobe Bryant juggernaut at the Staples Center, after Bryant buried the Raptors for a historic 81 points.

"You can't point fingers at anyone, but at the end of the day, when a person's that hot, you can't allow somebody to be on a deserted island," James said in an interview on Sirius Satellite Radio's Full Court Press. "And we kept our players on an island the whole night trying to play him one-on-one.

"I felt like we should have been double-teaming," James said. "Let Lamar (Odom), let Smush (Parker), let anybody else get 30, but he can't score another basket. And I just think there really wasn't a scheme."

"You got to do something to let him know it ain't going to be this easy," James added. "I think some of the guys found themselves watching and I think even the coaching staff almost got mesmerized by it because after a while it just became a fiasco. It became like a little sideshow and that was the most frustrating thing about it."

James said last night prior to the Raptors' game against the Chicago Bulls that he did not intend to single out the coaching staff for criticism.

"The bottom line is this: The media loves to blow things out of proportion and they love to create drama and if they feel like it's going to be a drama issue, they're going to blow it up," James said.

"It wasn't as big and it wasn't as serious as it (came out)," he said. "I was basically saying, we just didn't change our strategy from the first half to the second half. I wasn't attacking no one. It's not attacking no one's status, because at the end of the day, the Toronto Raptors lost the game. And it's not about how many points Kobe had, it's about winning or losing."

James said that he talked to Mitchell and insisted that there are no problems between them.

"It's nothing," he said. "It's nothing to even talk about. The game is over with."


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