Tough talk for Raps

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

Thanks to an Andrew Bogut moment Monday night in Milwaukee, team toughness was the theme for the Raptors at practice yesterday.

Bogut, who let his frustration get the better of him when he shoved Chris Bosh out of bounds and exchanged words with T.J. Ford before being ejected, did not display Ford's idea of toughness.

"They're just frustrated with the way the season is going for them," Ford said when asked for his interpretation of Bogut's mini-meltdown. "And he didn't touch the ball very much so I'm sure it just carried over."

When Bogut shoved Bosh, Ford quickly went to Bosh's defence.

Ford said he has no problem with hard fouls, but questioned why Bogut would wait until the game was almost over before staging his little temper tantrum with a shove at Bosh.

Ford's definition of basketball toughness is "taking on the challenge, mentally and physically every night.

"Toughness isn't necessarily hitting someone hard or sending a message with a flagrant foul. It's just playing hard and mentally being in the game for 48 minutes."

Ford said he expects more hard fouls as the stretch run to the playoffs continues.

Asked who would answer should an opponent start to take liberties with the Raptors' better players, Ford said: "We got 15 people.

"I'm pretty sure we'll take care of matters when it's necessary. There are only a few guys who have been in this situation so for a lot of the guys it's still a learning process. We're just trying to progress every day. It's going to get physical, but as long as someone doesn't do anything to harm anyone, it's good basketball. There's nothing wrong with hard fouls. There's nothing wrong with putting someone on the floor. As long as it's done in the right manner."

With two of their next three games against the New York Knicks, the Raptors' closest rival for the Atlantic Division title, the physical nature of the games should reach a new level.

Bosh also is confident the Raps will handle it.

Bosh deals with teams trying to physically intimidate him on a nightly basis. He thought responding in kind would play into the opponent's hands.

"Tough is staying in the game and doing your job no matter what happens, no matter what someone tries to do to get in your head," he said. "You just come and play all game and play every night. A lot of people can't do that."


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