Jay's big night

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:40 AM ET

While Jay Triano tried to play down last night's occasion, many got caught up in him serving as Raptors head coach.

Through text messages and e-mails, expressions of encouragement were expressed from virtually every corner in Canada for Triano.

"I had to shut my phone off," the Niagara Falls native said as he served as Sam Mitchell's replacement.

Mitchell, whose father in-law passed away earlier this week, will rejoin the Raptors following this weekend's all-star break.

No Canadian has ever served as head coach for an NBA game, a distinction that now separates Triano, a one-time player and coach for our national team.

"Jay is a tremendous person and a wonderful coach," Nets assistant Brian Hill said. "It's a great honour for Jay to become the first Canadian to coach a game."

Hill served as head coach for the Grizzlies when the club was based in Vancouver.

"Brian is a great guy, someone who taught me a lot,'' Triano, who held several positions with the Vancouver Grizzlies said.

LESSON LEARNED

In the past post-season, the Raptors, despite home-court advantage, lost their first round series to the Nets in six games.

More than anything, the series revealed a flaw in Chris Bosh's game.

When the Nets came with double-teams, Bosh had a difficult time finding cutters or making the right decision when an extra defender came at him.

"It was a painful lesson,'' Bosh said. "You have to grow from moments like that and I feel I have grown.

"As a team, we've grown as well, but it was a difficult time and a difficult way to learn through mistakes."

Toronto exacted some revenge last night by simply manhandling the undermanned Nets.

Bosh had a feast, but the visitors had no front-court body to match up against him.


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