Mitchell makes team work

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell called a shootaround yesterday morning at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee after his team's lifeless 101-86 loss in New Jersey on Tuesday night.

The Raptors rarely hold a shootaround after playing the night before. But Mitchell dragged his players out of bed, despite the fact that they didn't get to their hotel until about 1 a.m on Wednesday morning.

The players, though, didn't seem to mind.

"I think that mentally we weren't ready to play, and sometimes you need to be reminded that you have to make sacrifices," said point guard T.J. Ford. "That's one thing coach talked about during shootaround."

T.J. RETURNS

Last night's game marked the return of point guard Ford, who was traded to the Raptors from the Milwaukee Bucks last June 30 for rookie forward Charlie Villanueva.

Ford admitted that he was pumped for last night's game, but not just because of his return to Milwaukee. He was still reeling from his zero point performance in New Jersey the night before.

"I'll play more with a chip on my shoulder just because of the way I performed (in Jersey). I'm not happy about it. It was on my mind all night, it's on my mind right now," Ford said. "We were playing for first place and I wasn't able to perform," he added. "I want to come out and prove to myself that I can bounce back after a bad game."

Ford, who was picked by the Bucks eighth overall in the 2003 draft, told the local media that it hurt to be traded.

"I enjoyed my three years here," he said. "But we all know that this is a business and everybody has to move on and they did what they felt was best for their team."

AROUND THE RIM

Raptors forward Pape Sow, who suffered a fractured vertebrae when he feel during a Summer League practice, returned to Las Vegas yesterday to have the surgeon who operated on his neck check it out, and has been cleared to resume full practices. Sow will join the team later this week, though he will stay on the inactive list until the coaching staff deems that he is in game shape ... Cleveland assistant Mike Malone has been named an assistant coach for the Canadian team that will take part at this summer's Olympic qualifier in Vegas. The head coach is Raptors broadcaster Leo Rautins.


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