Sam sounds off

FRANK ZICARELLI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 1:26 PM ET

In the wake of yet another blown opportunity, Sam Mitchell was talking tough as the team's tough times continue.

After huddling with his staff in New Jersey on Saturday night, Mitchell surfaced to address the media, reminding everyone within earshot that the Raptors are playoff-bound.

"There's going to be (14) teams (that don't qualify for the playoffs). You (media) go in their locker room and guess what, they aren't going to be there," Mitchell said.

"We'll be there! I'll tell you all what to do. You go to the teams that won't be there and do some interviews then.

"And then come back and see me."

And so ended his media availability, a coach clearly on the hot seat.

RASHO NO SLOUCH

Veteran Rasho Nesterovic scored a team-high 22 points against the Nets after posting a 23-point game a night earlier to tie Chris Bosh for top club honours.

Nesterovic is one of the few players on the team who understands what it takes to play under pressure, how to step up and provide honest comments.

He encouraged his embattled teammates to refocus when the Raptors gather today for the first time since Saturday night's not-so special experience.

COLD AS ICE

Almost overlooked from Saturday was the 1-of-10 three-point shooting in the fourth quarter and the combined four points scored to end the third quarter after T.J. Ford gave the Raptors a 70-69 lead with 4:42 left in the period.

FOUR THE RECORD

The Raptors decided not to scout this weekend's Final Four in San Antonio. The next showcase of college talent takes place at the annual Portsmouth Invitational, which begins Wednesday in Portsmouth, Va.


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