Raps' backs against wall

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:04 AM ET

The Raptors certainly have their backs against the wall these days, in more ways the one.

Head coach Sam Mitchell gave second-year forward Pape Sow only his seventh start of the season in 23 games last night, after veteran forward Eric Williams went down with a sore back, joining centre Antonio Davis on the bad-back brigade. Davis, who was acquired from the New York Knicks last month for Jalen Rose, has missed the past seven games because of a strained lower back.

Sow has averaged 2.1 points and 1.9 rebounds this season for the Raps. Earlier this year, the native of Senegal was sent to the Arkansas RimRockers of the NBA Development League, where he caught fire, averaging 19.7 points (third in the league) and a NBADL-best 11.6 boards per game.

Mitchell is hoping that Sow contributes to the starting lineup.

"He just has to play hard, rebound, and give us some defensive presence out there," Mitchell said.

Mitchell elected to leave forward Matt Bonner on the bench, even though the Red Rocket has played well of late.

"I think Matt right now is a little more comfortable coming off the bench," Mitchell said. "I think he likes that role better, probably suits him better. We need a guy (off the bench) who can make a few shots."

Bonner has recorded double-digits in scoring in four of the past five games, mostly off the bench.

RUNNING ZOMBIES

The Raptors coach hates being asked about his starters running out of gas, even though it's clear that the likes of Morris Peterson and Chris Bosh are wearing down as the season progresses.

"I'm not going to say fatigue isn't an issue, we're just not going to use it as an excuse," Mitchell said. "Every team in the NBA plays the same type of schedule.

"You know, I've been watching these college tournaments, this kids are playing four games in four days. And I haven't heard one announcer or one coach scream fatigue yet," he added. "Everybody gets tired certain nights but for the most part, your mind and body gets used to it."


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