Kapono has game dialed in again

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:58 AM ET

Back-to-back three-point shooting titles in the NBA, not to mention consecutive seasons of some pretty gaudy three-point numbers, are a testament to Jason Kapono's ability to shoot from long distances.

But for the better part of the calendar year, that one NBA all-star night in New Orleans notwithstanding, the Raptors' Kapono has not been getting his shot off like he's capable.

The onset of the playoffs has changed that.

Kapono again has his greatest individual skill on display and no number of Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy's sideline tantrums as Kapono drains another three has been able to change that in three games.

Kapono says his scoring ability returned with a substantial nightly workload.

"It's really hard as a player to play well in a short amount of time," Kapono said. "If you miss one shot or two shots, you might get benched. It's a confidence game and if you play and play a lot you feel better knowing you can afford to miss a couple of shots."

Kapono has averaged just over 29 minute a night in the Raptors' three playoff games. In the final 31/2 months of the regular season his nightly court time had been cut to just over 161/2 minutes.

Chris Bosh, a guy as happy as anyone to see Kapono draining threes like he did earlier in the season, said he had been on Kapono to shoot.

"There were a couple of times where I don't know if he wasn't sure in his shot, but, you know, we knew he could flat-out shoot the ball and most of the time when he lets it go it's going in. So we encouraged him to shoot the ball and he knows it. He knows he has to let it go."

Bosh sees first-hand the impact a shot-happy Kapono has on an opposition. In the fourth quarter on Thursday, Kapono went 3-for-4 from the three-point line and Bosh had some room to roam the paint that wasn't there in the first three quarters.

Coach Sam Mitchell, perhaps not wanting to give the Magic any advantage going into Game 4 today, swore up and down he didn't know why Kapono was effective again after a 31/2 month drought.


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