More time for better guys

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

As the Raptors run into more injuries and the bench continues to decline in terms of productively (nine and 10 points in the past two games), coach Sam Mitchell said yesterday that he'll likely give his starting five major minutes right through to the end of the season.

Through much of the season, Mitchell has given many of the young players, such as Joey Graham and Jose Calderon, more minutes than they have earned, as he wanted to see what they brought to the table.

But now that the coach has a good idea of what kind of game everybody possesses, he's going to concentrate more on keeping his better guys, the starters, in games longer.

"You have to understand, we have paying customers that come to watch us play," Mitchell said. "So we're not just going to throw five guys on the court to throw five guys on the court. That's not what we're about. We're trying to win every game and be competitive and have a chance to win.

"We've seen enough of the guys in that we have a good idea of what they can do and we're going to play the guys that have been playing. We're not going to screw with the integrity of the game, or our team."

Mitchell acknowledged that his starters -- Chris Bosh, Charlie Villanueva, Morris Peterson, Mike James and Antonio Davis, when he's healthy -- may begin to wear down with the extra minutes this late in the season. With that in mind, Mitchell has cut down their practice time.

RAPTORS LOOKING AROUND

General manager Bryan Colangelo and Mitchell have discussed the possibility of signing a player or two to a 10-game contract, but only under certain conditions.

"We're not going to bring in a 33-year-old guy, with 25 games (left)," Mitchell said. "That wouldn't make sense. If there's someone we want to look at, it's going to be someone young that we think may have a shot of being on our roster next year."

ROSE NOT BLOOMING

Ex-Raptor Jalen Rose seems to have fallen into Larry Brown's doghouse with the New York Knicks. Rose was a healthy scratch against Memphis on Wednesday and he has started in only one of New York's past four games.


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