Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell joined the baseball world in mourning former Minnesota Twins star Kirby Puckett, who died as a result of complications from a stroke on Monday.
When Mitchell played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the early 1990's, Puckett was a fixture at the Wolves home games and got to know many of the players on the basketball team.
Puckett and Mitchell became good friends and Puckett eventually placed his children in the same school as Mitchell's. The two also played golf together and attended school fundraisers.
Like just about everyone else who knew Puckett, Mitchell said the former Twin had an infectious personality, who absolutely loved life.
"He was probably the most easy going, relaxed superstar I ever met," Mitchell said last night. "Everything people said about Kirby was true. He was just a fun-loving and good-hearted (person).
"We saw him out all the time, everywhere, and he didn't have an entourage or bodyguards. He was approachable and he made you feel like he had known for a long time."
Mitchell said Puckett was by far the most popular athlete in the Twin Cities.
"He was it (in that town)," Mitchell said. "It was Prince and Kirby Puckett."
DAVIS STILL OUT
Raptors centre Antonio Davis did not make the trip with the team to Cleveland on Monday, but he did show up just before game time yesterday. Davis has missed the past four games with a sprained back. Centre Rafael Araujo was placed on the active list last night after missing eight games last month because of a sore right shoulder.
FUN WITH STATS
With the game on the line, there are few players in the league this year who have come through as well as former Raptor Jalen Rose. Rose has made six out of 10 shot attempts with 24 seconds or less in a game when his team is either tied or down by one or two points. Inversely, another former Raptor Vince Carter has not done well with the game on the line this season. Heading into last weekend's games, Carter has attempted 25 shots and has only hit six.