Raptors almost perfect

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:08 AM ET

BOSTON -- If nothing else, the Raptors are a pre-season juggernaut.

The run-and-gun Dinos (7-0) remain perfect in games that do not count after a 106-102 win over the Boston Celtics last night at TD Banknorth Garden, putting them one win away from a perfect pre-season.

The Raptors, who again played without Chris Bosh and T.J. Ford, will try for the crazy eight tomorrow night in Chicago against the Bulls.

When asked if the Raptors could go 90-0 (pre-season and regular season) this season, Morris Peterson smiled and said, "Well, we've got a chance.

"We're just working, man. We're trying to win every game. We're not waiting until the season starts to try to pick things up. We're trying to play now and do everything the right way."

MESSAGE SINKING IN

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell has told his team it is playing a 90-game season, not 82, and the message seems to be sinking in.

The Raptors coughed up a 10-point fourth quarter lead last night, but they kept the game tight after giving up the edge and gave themselves a chance down the stretch.

Jose Calderon hit a pair of free throws with 29.5 seconds left to put Toronto up 105-103 and then the Raptors had a solid defensive stand, forcing Wally Szczerbiak into taking a tough shot, a miss.

After Anthony Parker hit one free throw to put Toronto ahead by three, the Raptors did the smart thing and fouled Sebastian Telfair, preventing a possible game-tying three. Calderon, who scored 19 points in a rare starting role, then hit two frees to seal the win.

"We've got nine new guys and a new attitude," Peterson said. "We don't care if it's pre-season or not, we're trying to win games. The guys we have now are the guys we're going to be playing with during the season and we're trying to get used to playing with each other."

The Raptors have had a worse shooting percentage and been outrebounded by opposing teams regularly, but they're making up for it by taking a lot of shots -- 86 last night. Mitchell has said his goal is to get to a whopping 100.

Peterson, who has struggled with his shot in the pre-season, found his form last night, connecting on 8 of 15 shots from the field for a team-leading 21 points.

"Somebody, somebody," Mitchell said when asked if it was nice to see Peterson find the net regularly. "We're going to need his shooting. I think for the pre-season we're shooting 40%. People think I'm crazy talking about how we need to get 100 shots. That's why we need to get 100 shots, we're shooting 40%. The more attempts, the more opportunities we'll get, maybe we'll make some."

Bosh (sore left heel) and Ford (sore left hamstring) both sat out for the second game in a row. They're expected to play tomorrow. Celtics star Paul Pierce (infected finger) also did not play.

First overall pick Andrea Bargnani returned to the lineup after missing the previous game with an ankle injury.

Mitchell felt Bargnani looked rusty in his 18 minutes. The Italian scored eight points.


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