Mitchell's sage advice

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

Sam Mitchell is no dummy.

He knows what he has with this season's Raptors squad, he knows his team's limitations and he knows it's not always going to work out the way he would like.

So despite watching his team put up back-to-back stinkers on consecutive nights against Milwaukee and in Cleveland, the Raptors head coach, who is getting plenty of mentions in coach of the year talk, pulled back and preached a little togetherness rather than attacking his team's first real slump in more than two months.

"Every team is going to go through some ups and downs and the thing that is so good about this group is we started the season 2-8 and we bounced back," Mitchell said. "We hit some other tough stretches and we bounced back and we'll bounce back again."

Mitchell isn't saying he doesn't want his players to learn from their mistakes, but his preference is that they just forget them because outside of a handful of games, in the past few months, these past two have been about as bad as the Raptors have played.

"We've hit a tough little two-game stretch, but we're going to be fine," Mitchell said.

What is clear from these two games is this team, while able to sustain some absences earlier in the season, needs all hands on deck if it is going to maintain or improve on its conference seeding. Without Anthony Parker and Andrea Bargnani on Saturday, the Raptors' offence stalled noticeably.

Bargnani could be back as soon as tomorrow, when the Raptors play in Washington. He left for Italy on Saturday morning to be with his ailing grandfather. Both GM Bryan Colangelo and Mitchell have left Bargnani's return date up to their prized rookie. They have made it clear that it will be his decision when he comes back.

Parker, who is out with a twisted ankle, is at least a few games from returning.

In the interim, the onus will fall on the rest of the team to right the ship and in Mitchell's mind, the last thing they need is a coach on their back. As far as Mitchell is concerned any miscues they may have committed in those losses Friday and Saturday didn't happen.

"Nobody blew as assignment, nobody missed a shot, nobody did anything wrong offensively or defensively," Mitchell said. "We'll get back. These things happen in the NBA. It's 82 games and we've been resilient. I have all the confidence that our guys are going to bounce back. We'll get our guys back and we'll be fine."

Mitchell suggested he and his coaches might add a new wrinkle or two to their schemes, but he wasn't stuck on the idea.

Two of his more veteran players, Morris Peterson and Chris Bosh, said the idea of adding something new appealed to them.

"That might help," Peterson said. "At this point in the season, teams know what you do. This is when teams start making their push so they've definitely been watching us so I think it would be good to tweak things a little bit, keep other teams guessing."


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