Raptors rest and recuperate

STEVE BUFFERY

, Last Updated: 9:55 AM ET

The Raptors should be fresh when they face the Seattle SuperSonics tomorrow at the Air Canada Centre.

After defeating the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday 94-87, which snapped a three-game losing streak, the Raptors were given the day off to rest and recuperate on Thursday, and then practised yesterday and this morning. The break couldn't have come at a better time.

Not only did the rest give tired players such as Chris Bosh and Jorge Garbajosa a chance to recharge, it also gave injured shooting guard Anthony Parker two days of practice, after he missed two weeks with a sprained ankle.

"We don't have to just throw him in a game now," head coach Sam Mitchell said.

CONTRACT HEADACHES

There's no getting around it.

No matter where Mitchell has gone, whether it's on the road at back at the ACC, media people keep asking him about a possible contract extension for next season and beyond, and whether he believes he is an improved coach from the man who guided his team to a 27-win season last year.

The likes of Charles Barkley and media mouthpiece Stephen A. Smith, among others, have suggested that Mitchell deserves NBA coach-of-the-year honours.

"It's flattering that people say those things, but ... you just take it with a grain of salt," he said.

"I don't know how to respond to it, because I just don't get too caught up in what people say, the good or the bad.

"Listen, I've got a job to do. I've got a good group of guys that are playing hard, playing together, and that's it," he said.

As for whether or not he is a better coach compared to last year, Mitchell isn't so sure, adding that he's definitely the same person as he was in previous seasons.

"You spend your life trying to prove things to other people, then what are you doing here? I try to prove things to myself," he said.

"Because you never will measure up (to others) As long as you have confidence in yourself and believe in yourself ... and I believe in God and myself.

"I felt the same way when we won 27 games last year, I felt the same way when we won 33 the year before. You try to do the best you can do, try to be comfortable with yourself in your own skin, That's all you can do.

"I think every year you grow and you learn," he said. "But you have your core beliefs and I'm not going to compromise those things, and the players know that.

"I have my beliefs on how a team should work and how a team should function and I'm not going to back away from that," the coach added.


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