Raps throw AD into fire

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

Everything old is new again for Antonio Davis.

The veteran centre was back playing heavy minutes, like he did in his first go-round with the Raptors, in his first game with the 2005-06 Raptors on Wednesday night and he was feeling it yesterday morning.

"I was in here (yesterday) telling them we didn't practise like that in New York," Davis, 37, said yesterday after playing 33 minutes in an overtime loss against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre.

"We didn't get up and down the floor (and) I didn't play those type of minutes (with the New York Knicks before he was traded last Friday). I wasn't in games late in the fourth quarter and things like that. It's a little bit of a shocker to me and to my body and all that. But it doesn't take long to get back to doing what you have to do. If you just put in the time and get on the trainers a little bit to help me out, in a week or so I'll be ready."

In his final 14 games with the Knicks, Davis played more than 30 minutes just once. Combine that with the fact he had played just one game since Jan. 18 -- the night when he went into the stands and was then charged with a five-game suspension -- and it leads to a body that is not in top gear.

The effort was there, but the execution was not for Davis against the Spurs and perhaps that has something to do with fatigue. He was 1-for-6 from the free throw line, where tired legs can make life miserable.

Still, Davis was thrilled to have a chance to contribute to in crunch time, something he wasn't always called upon do do with the Knicks.

"It just feels good to be part of a team like that," Davis said.

IMPROVING REPUTATION

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich praised the Raptors after they gave the defending champs a battle.

"They are on a bit of a roll when you consider the way they started the season," he said. "(Coach) Sam (Mitchell) and his staff and all the players deserve a lot of credit for being persistent. Instead of hanging it up or crying and moaning and all that stuff, they've had a hell of a run and turned the whole season around."


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