Mo Pete takes high road

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

OAKLAND -- Morris Peterson was not about to do anything drastic, like tear a strip off coach Sam Mitchell or demand a trade.

Instead, the Raptors' veteran swingman took the safe approach, choosing his words carefully while allowing his body language to express his disappointment when asked about his demotion yesterday.

"It is what it is, you know what I'm saying," Peterson said, a day after he was told he had lost his starting spot to Fred Jones. "I'm wise enough to know when there is stuff you can't control, don't worry about it. It's still basketball. Let everything take care of itself."

Make no mistake, Peterson isn't thrilled with Mitchell's decision. A usual go-to guy for reporters, Peterson was polite with the media yesterday, but kept his answers "short and sweet." The longest-serving Raptor had his head down as he walked off the court slowly after morning shootaround.

Peterson came off the bench for the first time since the fifth game of last season late last night against the Golden State Warriors.

"This is professional basketball. I'm not surprised," Peterson said. "I've been through a lot worse, so I feel anything can happen.

"I've dealt with things much bigger than that. Like I said, control what I can control. Ultimately, it's not my decision to make. I've just got to roll with the punches."

If he follows his own advice, things just might work out for Mo Pete in the final year of his three-year contract. He likely will be the first man off the bench and could be in the 25-30 minute range on good nights. Peterson, when asked yesterday if he will speak to president/general manager Bryan Colangelo about Mitchell's move, responded with a simple, "No."

"I've still got the same goals, same agenda (off the bench) -- helping this team win," Peterson said.

Mitchell's pledge to stick to a nine-man rotation, barring exceptional circumstances, yesterday should give Peterson plenty of time to make things happen.

In most games this season, Mitchell has gone deep into his bench, with the only real exception being the team's home opener, a convincing win over the Milwaukee Bucks when the final three dressed players didn't enter play until garbage time.

Kris Humphries, Joey Graham and P.J. Tucker figure to be the odd men out.

"There are going to be nights where you can throw a guy in because of foul trouble or you just feel you (need) some energy," Mitchell said. "But normally, you've got to have nine guys, get your rotation down to nine.

"It's not easy, but that's just the way it is."

The Raptors play Game 3 of their five-game west coast swing Friday against Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. It's Bryant's first game against the Raptors since he put up 81 points against visiting Toronto last January.


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