Raptors breathing easier

Memphis Grizzlies' Junior Harrington reaches in a little too far as he tries to keep guard T.J....

Memphis Grizzlies' Junior Harrington reaches in a little too far as he tries to keep guard T.J. Ford of the Raptors from driving to the basket last night at the ACC. (Sun Media/Stan Behal)

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:23 AM ET

Call off the suicide watch.

The Raptors' three-game losing skid came to an end last night thanks in large part to an uninterested and unmotivated opponent in the last-place Memphis Grizzlies.

Just as importantly, however, was a return to the all-around game from the home side that has been missing for the better part of the past week.

The Grizzlies, dead last and headed no where, were in this game for all of about one quarter, even managing to put a scare into some of the bigger worriers down at the Air Canada Centre last night when they opened the game on a 10-0 run.

The Raps had eliminated that lead with a minute to go in the quarter and two minutes into the second had flipped the score completely taking a 10-point lead of their own on their way to a 94-87 win that was not as close as the score would indicate.

Avoiding panic has been Sam Mitchell's main goal throughout this mini-slump and his team has followed his lead remaining calm when it seemed like many around them were losing their heads.

Mitchell accused the Toronto media in his pre-game scrum of inciting some of that panic.

"It seems like you guys are the ones who are panicking," Mitchell said.

"But I remember when we were 2-8. Look how long it took us to get to .500 alone. It was a dogfight and a struggle. But we've been through this. That's the ebb and flow of the NBA. You have stretches where you don't play very well."

Mitchell got all that and more but most importantly he got the kind of performance from his Raptors that their fans had grown accustomed to and that had gone sorely missing in the past few games. They moved the ball on offence. They switched off and helped each other on defence and they went after rebounds the way Washington did a night earlier when they flat-out embarrassed the Raptors.

In that loss to Washington on Monday, the Raps were pounded on the glass and paid the price giving up 33 second-chance points.

Last night the Grizzlies, who came into the game having defeated Toronto in eight consecutive games dating back to March of 2003, managed just 40, three more than the Raps but a huge improvement over the night before for the Raps.

BOSH BACK

Chris Bosh, who was held to one rebound in that loss to Washington was back in more familiar territory with nine last night to go along with his 19 points.

Juan Dixon, starting his second game in place of the injured Anthony Parker, looked very comfortable once again putting up 17 on the heels of the 14 he contributed in that shootout in Washington on Monday.

Parker, whose stock has skyrocketed in his absence with the Raptors dearly missing his ability to shut down an opponent's top scorer not to mention his knack for knocking down the three-pointer with some regularity, is expected back Sunday against Seattle, the Raps next game.


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