Raps look to Delfino's versatility

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

Carlos Delfino, the ultimate quiet talker, may wind up being one of the Raptors' noise makers coming off the bench if this playoff series unfolds as expected.

Delfino, as energetic and active as any of the Raptors on defence and on rebounds, brings just what is needed from a defensive perspective facing an Orlando Magic team that is capable of hurting you from both beneath the basket and beyond the arc.

He's also a shooter capable of going on a hot streak from beyond the arc, one of the Magic's big strengths and potentially a great equalizer.

"You can put Carlos on some different guys," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said of his versatile Argentine. "He can guard some point guards, too."

But in a series fraught with matchup problems for the Raps -- many of them with Hedo Turkoglu in the role of chief headache maker -- Delfino's versatility may wind up earning him a lot more playing time than a guy coming off the bench would normally get.

His shooting too could wind up being a deciding factor. Delfino has shown at times an ability to carry a team offensively with his outside shooting. The downside is that if he is not on, he is not shy about firing away anyway.

Mitchell says it is up to him to make sure he has the right guys in the game.

"Hey, if it's not working, I have a lot of room to my right," Mitchell said gesturing to an imaginary bench.

Delfino had a first-hand look at this Magic club in what was the playoff debut for most of its players last year.

Delfino was coming off the Detroit Pistons bench then, and while the Magic has added a couple of significant pieces since in Rashard Lewis and guard Marice Evans, he doesn't view them as tremendously different from the club that got swept by the Pistons last year.

STARTS WITH HOWARD

"I think with the addition of Lewis they want to shoot the ball more, but they still have the big guy (Dwight Howard) in the middle and we have to figure out a way to defend him. It's almost the same team but with a little more (outside) shooting," Delfino said.

There was a lot of talk about the Magic's ability to hurt a team with the three-point shot, but Delfino said it still starts with Howard and that's where the Raptors will have to attack defensively.

"They make a lot of threes, but the thing that generates all those threes is the big guy in the middle," Delfino said.

The hope is that once the ball gets into Howard's hands, the Raptors defence can collapse on him and force Howard to pass, one of the few areas of his game that can be considered just average.


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