No changes in store

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell believes that the best way for his team to have success in the playoffs is to stay the course.

Mitchell took mild exception, following yesterday's shootaround at the Palace of Auburn Hills, to suggestions that he has to figure out some way to get his team playoff-ready.

"Look, I've been an assistant coach in the playoffs and I've played in the playoffs. Do you got a mental exercise that we can do?" Mitchell asked some reporters. "You're trying to get too deep into something that's not like that. What am I going to do? Sit the players in a room in front of a blinking light that's blinking, playoffs, playoffs, playoffs.

"What Larry Brown (Mitchell's coach in Indiana) taught us is you just try to get as efficient in what you do as possible. Clean up all the little things that you're not doing well and then let them go play. They don't need to think that the world is coming to an end. They just need to relax and go play.

"I don't need to keep drilling, playoffs, playoffs. If you do that, you have them too uptight to play. It's still a basketball game. You have to win four games (and) the world is not going to end after the first game, or the second game or even the third game. Leave them alone. Let them go play. They know it's the playoffs. Some of them are a lot smarter than you and I. I'm not going to have to tell them to play hard. They played hard to get here."

The Raptors likely will play the New Jersey Nets or the Washington Wizards in the first round of playoffs, and the fact that they have played both teams four times this season means that there shouldn't be any major surprises.

The Raptors went 2-2 against the Nets and 3-1 against the Wizards, who presently are without star players Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.

"Is any team going to change a lot of what they're going to do (in the playoffs)?" Mitchell said.

"No. Apparently every team that's in the playoffs did something right to get in, so how much are you going to change in two or three days?

"We're just going to try to clean up. Make sure we set better picks, make harder cuts. We'll tell them maybe some of the passes you threw during the regular season, be a little bit careful with it. They still have to be allowed to take some chances.

"Because if they don't, how are we going to win?"


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