Raps get crash course

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

HOUSTON -- Sam Mitchell is never happy when he loses, but the morning after a tough night in San Antonio, even the tough-to-please Raptors coach saw reason for optimism.

A big part of that was the opponent. A San Antonio club operating at peak efficiency, as it was, would have been a handful for any opponent. But Mitchell believes the Raptors at least got something out of that loss that should make them better down the road.

"We didn't move the ball as efficiently as we normally do," Mitchell said of the 107-91 pounding the Raptors took at the hands of a veteran Spurs club.

"The good thing about it is you get beat but you have to take something away from the game. If you play the game and got beat and didn't learn anything, then you shouldn't have even played. But the fact that our captain (Chris Bosh) and our best player understood some things we didn't do as well as we could do, well ... hopefully we can rebound. We've been pretty good about coming back from these things."

Bosh made those feelings known as the team got together yesterday morning at the Toyota Center for an off-day practice.

"He just said to the team, we have to make sure we trust each other and do the things we do well. Move the basketball, help each other on defence, just those things and you always have those things throughout the course of a season," Mitchell said.

Bosh had one of his tougher nights of the season as the Spurs ran a trio of big men -- Francisco Elson, Robert Horry, and Fabricio Oberto -- in a rotation of one physical defender after another at Bosh ultimately holding the Raps leading scorer to 14 points on 6-for-16 shooting. It was just the sixth time this season he has been held under 15 points.

In the games that followed those first five sub-par peformances, Bosh led his team in scoring each time as the Raptors won four of five.

"He has been pretty good about coming back with a better game after a sub-par performance," Mitchell said.

Bosh was not at all happy with his performance Monday night and fully expects better from himself tonight.

"Give credit to (the Spurs) for playing physical, but I just think I didn't make any shots," Bosh said.

"You know me, I'm just trying to make a statement. Let people know I don't get in slumps," Bosh said of his penchant for rebounding from a bad game. "I may have a slump for a game, but I try not to make it two games. My focus is a little bit more intense. I just don't like having two back-to-back bad games."

But Bosh wasn't the only Raptor to be taken out of his game by the red-hot Spurs on Monday night. T.J. Ford felt the Spurs did that to the whole Raptors team by getting out to an early lead. He says the lesson learned from that game was the importance of not overreacting to what the opposition does.

"You have to settle down, especially after they go on a run, you have to keep your composure," Ford said. "Just continue to believe in the pass and making the right plays. That pretty much goes for everybody. We just have to stick to the game plan and we'll be better off. When they went on a run, we pressed a little I think."

With a similarly defensive-oriented team in the Houston Rockets capable of going on runs of its own providing the opposition tonight, the Raps will get to show just how much they learned from that San Antonio slamming.

BOSH BOUNCES BACK

Six times this season Chris Bosh has been held to under 15 points in a game, including Monday's loss in San Antonio. Here's a look at those games and what he did his next game.

DATE Pts Reb Win/loss Score. Opponent

Nov. 1 14 5 Loss 102-92 New Jersey

Nov. 3 26 15 Win 109-92 Milwaukee

Nov. 24 11 7 Loss 97-93 Atlanta

Nov. 26 17 11 Win 92-83 Indiana

Dec. 8 13 12 Loss 93-90 Chicago

Jan. 3 26 14 Loss 100-98 Phoenix

Jan. 9 12 6 Loss 101-86 New Jersey

Jan. 10 30 8 Win 90-77 Milwaukee

Feb. 10 14 11 Loss 98-92 Detroit

Feb. 13 25 14 Win 112-111 Chicago

Feb. 26 14 9 Loss 107-91 San Antonio

Feb. 28 ? ? ???? ????? Houston


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