Coach likes how Bosh-less Raps are reacting

DEAN MCNULTY, TORONTO SUN

, Last Updated: 1:00 PM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell doesn't like talking about things he can't control -- such as a National Basketball Association schedule that will see his team embark on a brutal four game pre-Christmas west coast swing after today's game against the Golden State Warriors at the Air Canada Centre.

"We have a game (today)," Mitchell said. "Then we go out west where we have four games in five days. I can't control the schedule. I'm just worried about (today)."

The third-year coach can control the team's play during the next five games, despite sending out a lineup still minus its franchise player -- Chris Bosh -- and Mitchell likes what has happened to the rest of the team in the big man's absence.

The Raptors carry a two-game win streak into today's game against the Warriors, with the mindset that they can compete without having Bosh on the court to bail them out of tough situations.

"It's great to see our players play with confidence," Mitchell said.

He was particularly happy with the kind of defence the team showed in wins over Orlando and New Jersey.

"To win in this league, we have to force the opposition to try bad shots," Mitchell said. "And that is what we did the past two games."

Bosh, meanwhile, who worked out pain-free on his bruised knee for the first time yesterday, said that the defensive play of guys such as Rasho Nesterovic have made a big difference on the club.

'ANCHORING DEFENCE'

"He is playing really well," Bosh said. "He is getting his confidence back up. He is shooting the ball real well but, most of all, he is anchoring that defence.

"He is always talking a lot in the background. Plus he can block shots and really guard the other team's big guys."

As for his own immediate future the 22-year old Bosh is just taking it one day at a time.

"I am pain-free for the first time in about a week," he said. "I just have to continue to get (the knee) stronger and be patient."

Bosh is enough of a realist, however, to know that a full recovery is still a ways off.

"I am not going to try to make a prediction for when I will come back," he said. "I doubt that it will be during the road trip."

Bosh said that, in just a week away from playing, he has noticed a fall-off in his conditioning as well.

"You know you lose your wind," he said. "And your muscles get tired faster."

He said that he will need to do several days of full practices with the team before he'll attempt a game situation comeback.


Videos

Photos