Raps coach gives Celtics their due

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:02 AM ET

Sam Mitchell didn't get angry. He didn't even get confrontational.

Instead the normally combative Mitchell chose to wave the white flag in the wake of a thorough 90-77 beat-down by the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics.

"They are a better basketball team than we are right now," Mitchell said in his post-game news conference before a question could even be asked.

"You have got to give credit where credit is due," he said. "We have just got to work and get better. We won four games in a row and they beat us, they just beat us and they are better than us right now.

"They set the bar for where all the teams need to try to be and that's what we'll strive to do. We've got to get better offensively, we've got to get better defensively and we are not that far away."

And with that Mitchell attempted to make his exit stage left.

He lingered at the door to the interview room long enough to rebut one journalists' opinion that the Raps didn't show their normal effort yesterday.

"We always play hard," Mitchell said. "We played hard and they were better. It wasn't for lack of effort. There's a difference between not playing hard and getting beat. You are just going to have some games like that."

While that strategy is new to the Mitchell arsenal when it comes to his dealings with the media, it was a premise shared by his players as well.

Jose Calderon said he had no excuses for what happened in the game. The Raptors just got beat by a better team.

"We just have to forget this one and move on," Calderon said.

Guard Anthony Parker used the phrase "You have to give them credit" at least three times in a two-minute conversation with the media.

But while all the Raptors seemed willing to give the Celtics their due yesterday, at least a few made sure to point out the Celtics were not unbeatable.

"It's not a situation where they are invincible or anything like that," Parker said. "They are a good basketball team and they execute but we just have to be aggressive on both ends like they were with us and knock some shots down."


Videos

Photos