The past two days, Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell has designed his practice around the offence and, specifically, ways to take some scoring pressure of star forward Chris Bosh, who has been playing major minutes of late.
"We don't want to spend 40 minutes of Chris' time just throwing the ball at him, because it wears him out. It makes him less effective on the defensive end," Mitchell said. "(And so), the last two days we've worked on trying to get the ball up the floor quicker, get down, get into our offence quicker, get some easier baskets. I've been on players to attack early."
Bosh has played over 40 minutes in three out of the past five games, including 55 in a double-overtime win over Portland on Jan.13.
Mitchell said the news out of Houston, where starting point guard T.J. Ford is training with John Lucas, is good, although he did add that when Ford eventually returns to the lineup, he likely won't start for some time -- or perhaps not at all this season.
Mitchell doesn't want to put any undue pressure on Ford to perform. On top of that, Jose Calderon, who has been starting at the point in Ford's absence, has played well, averaging 13.8 points and 9.5 assists while shooting 51% from the field this month.
SEARCHING FOR AN IDENTITY
Despite being three games ahead of last season's pace at this point of the season (22-19), Mitchell said the Raptors still are in search of an identity.
"We've been up and down," he said. "In the past, we've been a scoring team. And this year, we're not scoring like we used to, but our defence is better. But we need to finish it off by rebounding the basketball. When you look at the games where we've gotten hurt, it's been offensive rebounds."