Davis' debut wasn't great

KEN FIDLIN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:16 AM ET

Who says you can't go home again?

A 6-foot-10 former Raptor came back to Toronto last night and lit the place up, scoring 10 first-half points, 16 in all, to go with five rebounds.

So much for Sean Marks of the San Antonio Spurs. But what about Antonio Davis?

To be perfectly honest, Davis would just as soon forget his second debut in Toronto. He played 35 minutes in this overtime thriller and will remember it for what he didn't do rather than what he did during a 125-118 loss.

Late in the game, down by three points, he had a two-foot layup to get Toronto within one and missed it, but got the ball back, then missed the same shot again.

Later, in overtime, he missed a pair of free throws that would have given Toronto the lead for the first time in the game. In all, he played 33 minutes, scored seven points and had seven rebounds. And went 1-for-6 from the free-throw line. Ouch.

For a guy who has been making a lot of headlines this year, he flew way under the radar in his debut.

And that more or less falls into line with coach Sam Mitchell's expectations of Davis for his second incarnation as a Raptor.

"Tone knows how to play but I'm not going to put undue pressure on him that he's going to save us," Mitchell said.

"He's 37 years old and that wouldn't be fair. I just want him to go play and do the things that he can do well.

"We need better post play. That's no secret and we're hoping he can do that but again. What I don't want to do is make him feel like, cause he's walked through the door, that all of a sudden all our problems are going to be cured. It wouldn't be fair for me to ask him to go out there and control the paint.

"Tone definitely brings a lot to our team just with his knowledge. As physical as he is and the way he knows how to play the game, we look forward to getting him in."

If Davis was wondering about what kind of team he is joining, he got some answers in the fourth quarter last night against the world champion San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors, led by Mike James' virtuoso performance, came back from what at one point was a 16-point deficit to tie the game late, and nearly win it.

But, alas, the overtime falls into the "live by the sword, die by the sword" category. James hogged the ball for the entire five minute extra session and the Raps didn't score even one field goal and made only four of their eight free throws. As valiant as the fourth- quarter comeback was, the overtime was pitiful to watch.

Chris Bosh, who scored 30 points in regulation, didn't score in overtime and, inexplicably, didn't even touch the ball more than once or twice.

It's absolutely clear that Davis is not the player he was even two years ago before he left for Chicago, but he still is a well-respected veteran who can make his mark here by teaching some of the young players such as Pape Sow, Charlie Villanueva and Joey Graham.

"So much of this game is knowing your opponent and being in the right position," Davis said. "If I can get some of these guys to not rely on their physical ability so much and to use their minds and their hearts, then I can contribute that way."

There was no faulting Toronto's heart last night. The Raptors battled, scratched and clawed against perhaps the league's deepest team.

With team leader Tim Duncan sidelined by the flu, the Spurs dug into their bench and found guys like Marks, who played eight years ago for the Raptors, to get the job done.

In the end, it was another bitter disappointment for the young Raptors, another lesson on the way to someplace better. If Davis can help get them there, then whatever he doesn't accomplish on the court can be forgiven.


Videos

Photos