Mitchell preaches patience

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

While the Raptors are riding high these days, the same can't be said for forward Fred Jones.

Jones, who was acquired during the off-season to provide some scoring help, is mired in a huge slump and has recorded four "did not play -- coaches decision" in the past seven games.

And when he has played, Jones has averaged just over two points in his past eight games. To say that he has dropped out of the rotation would be an understatement.

But head coach Sam Mitchell insists he has not given up on his veteran forward.

"Look, you can only play so many guys, only so many minutes, and Freddy just has to be patient, continue to work (in practice) and when an opportunity comes, be ready to play," Mitchell said. "There's going to be opportunities during the season when we're going to need Freddy and Kris Humphries and all those guys and when they get the opportunity, they just have to be ready to play."

Veteran Morris Peterson had gone through similar tribulations as Jones, but has started playing his way out of it. Mo Pete came off the bench to lead all Raptors scorers with 22 points in their 101-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.

RAFAEL RETURNS

Tonight's matchup at the Air Canada Centre marks the not-so-glorious return of whipping boy Rafael Araujo, the 2004 eighth overall draft pick by the Raptors, who never really accomplished much in Toronto.

General manager Bryan Colangelo shipped Araujo off to the Utah Jazz last summer for Humphries.

Unfortunately for Araujo, who was often booed at the ACC, the new locale has done little to revitalize his career. The big Brazilian has not played in Utah's past two games and has seen action in only five games all season, where he's averaged 2.0 points and 2.2 rebounds.

Mitchell was somewhat taken aback when asked what he thought about the Raptors facing Araujo tonight.

"Dude, what does that have to do with what we're doing now?" Mitchell said. "I will make sure I will say hello when I see him. What else do you want from me?"

AROUND THE RIM

Chris Bosh had kind words for the ACC crowds.

"The crowd is amazing, they really need to know how much they help us," he said. "During this homestand it's really important."


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