Raptors back in rhythm

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:33 AM ET

MIAMI -- It may be premature to call the post Chris Bosh-injury adjustment period over, but a visit with the lowly Miami Heat certainly made it look that way.

The Heat have added Shawn Marion since the Raptors were last here a month ago and lost Shaquille O'Neal, but the stench that has lingered here at American Airlines Arena remains.

With no post game to speak of and a starting five that is being outplayed by its own bench these days, the Heat is Team Turmoil. It's no surprise that Marion, coming from a winning franchise such as Phoenix, already has called out his teammates on at least three occasions for their shoddy effort.

The Raptors, meanwhile look to have found some of that offensive rhythm that was decidedly absent a night earlier in a loss in Orlando. They defeated the Heat 108-83 in a romp to snap a three-game losing skid.

Without Bosh, the Raptors finally settled down and played the kind of team game they have to play in order to win with their big scoring threat unavailable.

Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell seemed to be of the opinion that a handful of the Raptors were trying to do too much in Bosh's absence. He didn't name names.

"The thing we talked about today was that without Chris, just remember how we play," Mitchell said. "Not one guy trying to go out and do too much. Not one guy feeling like he has to score 30 points for us to win. Just trust each other. We have guys who are good enough shooters that if we get them open shots with ball movement, they can make shots. I thought we just trusted each other on the offensive end tonight."

A look at the stat sheet confirmed Mitchell got his point across.

Seven different Raptors had nine points or more, no one more than the team-high 16 Rasho Nesterovic poured in as Bosh's replacement in the starting five.

Name a Raptor who has been struggling of late, and last night was a get-well night for one and all.

Jose Calderon, after carrying a heavy workload in T.J. Ford's absence, had seen his production fall off a little of late but last night he was back to his normal contributions with nine points and a team-high 13 assists.

"We had a little meeting this morning at the hotel and we just talked about getting back to playing our basketball. Finding the wide-open guy. Rasho was unbelievable tonight doing a great job and Andrea too in that first quarter. When we do that it's easier for everyone."

Nesterovic, whose 16 points matched his season high set just four days ago in Charlotte, did not want to use Bosh's absence as an excuse for the team's recent struggles.

"We're a good team with or without Chris. We're obviously much better with Chris but we are a good team and if we just play our defence like a team, not one on one, and in offence create our open shots we will be in good shape."

The game was not rosy for all the Raptors however. Andrea Bargnani, whose 10 first-quarter points got the Raptors going, is looking at some future dental work after an Alexander Johnson elbow re-arranged his front teeth a little and sent him crashing to the court midway through the third quarter.

Heat head coach Pat Riley seemed to be experiencing a different kind of pain after the game.

"That was hard to watch," Riley said. "I should write a cheque tomorrow to each season ticket holder and send them back at least for (last night's) game."


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