Raps get man-handled

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:25 AM ET

MADRID -- A trip that had been celebrated as being a great success came crashing to a distressing end last night at the Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad de Madrid.

The Raptors, wearing their road reds with yellow trim in honour of the host country, were defeated by the Spanish side Real Madrid, 104-103. But even worse than that, two key players, Anthony Parker and Jorge Garbajosa, collided with each other with 31 seconds remaining and had their respective bells rung. Parker stayed down on the court for a minute clutching his head before slowly getting up and being helped to the bench. Parker left the arena holding an ice pack to his head while Garbajosa needed stitches to close a cut on his scalp.

Even without all-star centre Chris Bosh in the lineup, the scare and the loss to a non-NBA club for the second time in franchise history (the Raptors lost to Maccabi Tel Aviv two seasons ago) put a damper on the team's two-week European tour.

The Raptors looked sluggish against the defending Spanish League champions, and were out-rebounded 52-38. There was also little in the way of an organized defence, as Madrid went 14-for-28 from the three- point line. Andrea Bargnani led Toronto scorers with 22 points, but he also had six turnovers and as many fouls.

"They beat us up on the boards (and) they beat us up physically," said Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell. "We haven't settled on our starting lineup yet, and we have to find guys who are going to get in there and do the tough things. We've got guys who can shoot the basketball, we've got guys who can pass the ball, but we've got to find some guys who are going to go in there and do the dirty work."

The loss dropped Toronto to 1-2 on the European trek.

It was a turnover by Madrid's favorite son, Garbajosa, with the Raptors trailing by two with 19 seconds left in the game that sealed the victory for Real Madrid. Juan Dixon made it a two-point game with a finger-roll basket with 3.6 seconds left, but Madrid's Louis Bullock hit two free throws to seal the deal for Real, much to the delight of the sellout crowd of 13,703.

Bosh, the team's leading rebounder, missed last night's game because of a sore left knee, which he "tweaked" over a week ago while the team was in Treviso, Italy training. He has been unable to practice since the club arrived in Madrid this week, although it's not thought to be serious.

"We're going to get him back to Toronto and get him fully evaluated, take another MRI (and) compare it to previous MRIs," said GM Bryan Colangelo. "With only a couple of days left on the trip we didn't want to push anything. Let's just get him rested, let's get the joint calmed down, let's get back and we'll take the necessary steps to find out where we are."


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