Same old story

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Raptors game on television yesterday actually was a live broadcast.

It just seemed like a repeat.

Once again, the Raptors had a chance to win and once again, they spit it out with ill-timed turnovers and other mistakes.

The Raptors extended their losing streak to six games with a 105-100 overtime loss against the New Jersey Nets yesterday at Continental Airlines Arena. The Raptors (20-38) have lost the six games by a combined 24 points.

"Deja vu," hard-working Raptors swingman Morris Peterson said. "It's tough, man. It's tough."

This time, the Raptors led by 10 with six minutes to go in the fourth quarter before starting their choke job. They had just one field goal in the final six minutes of the fourth -- a Mike James three-pointer -- and committed three costly turnovers.

TURNOVERS

Then, in overtime, there were four more turnovers -- point guard James has to do a much better job handling the ball down the stretch -- and four key offensive rebounds for the Nets. The final offensive rebound was grabbed by Richard Jefferson, who missed a shot but then caught his assigned defender, Chris Bosh, standing flat-footed and corralled the ball. That same possession, the Nets found Jacque Vaughn for an open shot, putting New Jersey up by five in the final minute, all but killing Toronto's chances.

"Close game, lost another," said Bosh, whose team has been outscored by a combined 32 points in the past six fourth quarters. "It's the same thing. You're not used to it. It's just, you get so close and the outcome stays the same. We just have to overcome a couple of things at the end of the game."

Bosh was not his usual self late in the game as the smaller Jefferson was assigned to cover him. Jefferson's quick feet helped take Bosh off his game. But there may have been another factor.

"I thought (Jefferson) did a good job, but I also feel like sometimes Chris can get a little tired," Mitchell said of Bosh, who has played 43 or more minutes in five of the past six games. "Some of the shots he takes and some of the moves he can't get to are because of fatigue. I'm trying to do a better job of getting him a (rest), but it's just tough right now."

It's tough because the Raptors bench is giving the team next to no production. For the second time in a week, the Raptors went an entire half (the first half) without a point from their bench. All they got the entire game was 14 second-half points from Matt Bonner. Mitchell used Charlie Villanueva for 48 minutes, Bosh and Peterson for 49 apiece and James for 46.

"It's a lot of minutes," Peterson said. "We want the younger guys to step up. But when I'm out there, I'm not really thinking about it. When I go home at night, that's when I really feel it. I've got to get my rest."

Peterson led the Raptors with 25 points, while some guy named Vince Carter scored a game-high 31 for the Nets.

The Raptors flew home immediately after the game. They play the Boston Celtics at the Air Canada Centre tonight.

REPORT CARD

C Offence: When Richard Jefferson started giving Chris Bosh fits, the Raps had no answer. Loads of crunch-time turnovers.

B Defence: Vince Carter didn't kill the Raptors, but the Nets did a much better job than Toronto down the stretch.


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