Raptors coach Sam Mitchell will keep an extra close eye on T.J. Ford and Chris Bosh tomorrow night in New Jersey.
If Mitchell feels either one of the two key starters is sucking wind during the season opener against the Nets, he'll give the fatigued player an early break. With both players coming off injuries and missing significant time in the pre-season, Bosh (heel) and Ford (hamstring) have been trying to get up to speed in practices this week.
"I'm concerned that (Ford) and (Bosh) have missed some significant time in practice, but we just have to do a better job of monitoring their minutes," Mitchell said. "If Chris gets tired early, we just have to get him out, then get him back in.
"I probably can't play (Bosh) to start the season (in) eight, 10 minutes stretches like I used to. Maybe five, six minute stretches. It's just going to depend on how he feels."
As of yesterday, Bosh still wasn't where he wanted to be, conditioning-wise. He was the last man out of the gym after practice, however, doing some extra work to try to be ready.
Basically, I'm out of shape, to put it in a nutshell," said Bosh, who wasn't his usual dominant self on the court in a 108-97 loss against the Chicago Bulls Friday in the pre-season finale. "I have one more day to really kind of get some more conditioning under my belt and get as close to game shape as possible.
"I'll let (Mitchell) know when I'm a little winded. I expect a fast-paced game. New Jersey likes to run the break, we like to run he break and it's the first game of the year so guys are really going to be getting after it."
The other concern is the chemistry of the starting unit after Ford missed the final three pre-season games.
"Once we get out there and the competition goes, everything will flow," Ford said. "Everybody kind of knows each other's styles now. We're used to each other from playing with each other for a month. I think we'll be fine. The ultimate thing is to defend.
"If we defend and create turnovers, that will eliminate a lot of the half-court sets we may have to run."