James has to watch

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:05 AM ET

He had a great season, but point guard Mike James isn't feeling good about missing out on the post-season.

James, acquired in a trade from Houston for Rafer Alston early in training camp and the team's second-leading scorer averaging more than 20 points per game, won a world championship two years ago with Detroit.

This season he'll be watching on television because the Raptors failed to make the playoffs. He's participated in the playoffs the last two years and won a world championship with Detroit two seasons ago.

"It's tough (missing the playoffs) because the main reason you play the game is to win the world championship," James said yesterday. Asked for a prediction of what he thinks is going to happen in the post-season, James said it's wide open.

"Detroit is a tough team. They're (probably) going to be the team coming out of the East," he said. "The West can be any one of San Antonio, Dallas, Phoenix. Anybody is capable of winning the championship."

FEELING FINE

The season will come to a close just when rookie guard Jose Calderon has returned to health.

Bothered by plantar fasciatis --a soft tissue injury -- in his right foot, Calderon missed a stretch of games from March 15-29. He played off and on for a period afterward, but has been strong in the last two games.

"I played well early in the season, but the last injury cut into my progression," he said. "My foot now is 100% and that's the most important thing."

PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM

Raps head coach Sam Mitchell played 13 seasons in the National Basketball Association and appeared in the post-season nine times. But he'll miss the post-season for the second consecutive year with Toronto.

"I haven't experienced many things in life that gives you the high as playing in the playoffs, especially when you get to the conference final," he said.

Mitchell reached the Eastern Conference final with Indiana in 1993-94 and 1994-1995.


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