Mitchell sends a message

Chris Bosh is fouled on his way to the net against the Red Army last night. (Sun Media/Greg...

Chris Bosh is fouled on his way to the net against the Red Army last night. (Sun Media/Greg Henkenhaf)

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

It took a couple of weeks but Sam Mitchell's patience finally wore thin last night.

Upset at a number of his players -- most of them from his second unit who refused to apply the work they had been doing in practice to last night's 86-78 win over CSKA Moscow -- Mitchell played the only card he could.

He benched them.

That was Mitchell's explanation for why Jose Calderon played the entire second half. Why Chris Bosh played a pre-season high 351/2 minutes. Why his starters were on the floor with six minutes left in a game in which the outcome meant less than nothing to the Raps' head coach

"I was a little disappointed with the way some of our guys played," Mitchell said. "I thought Andrea (Bargnani) played great, I thought Jason (Kapono) was fine but some of the other guys didn't play as well and I left Jose out there for a reason

"We work on certain things in practice and it's time to start applying them," Mitchell said. "We coddled them, we pushed them, we're pulling them ... I don't scream and yell, but charity time is almost over. If you are not going to come out there and apply the things we are working on in practice, you are not going to play. We played the first four pre-season games, just playing people and showing them things on tape. If some of them need to sit there and watch, that's what they are going to do. We have played with fewer numbers before."

Mitchell did not specifically name the players he was upset with but when you consider potential backup point guard Will Solomon played just under eight minutes and Kris Humphries spent all but 13 minutes on the bench while the other three bigs were all over 25 minutes, the targets become apparent.

Jamario Moon was the only starter not to reach 21 minutes and his absence in the final six minutes with Kapono on the floor was telling.

The game also saw the debut of Bargnani at the small forward position in the fourth quarter, although Mitchell admitted it was not something he was planning to do.

"We thought Joey (Graham) was going to play tonight so once we found out he wasn't, I didn't want to go to that lineup right away. I wasn't happy with some of the way the other guys were playing. As coach, you do what you have to do to win a basketball game, and I thought Andrea responded well."

Mitchell said he's not sure it's a lineup he can use that much in the regular season.

"Will we use that lineup sometimes?" Mitchell asked. "Depends on who we are playing. Depends on the matchups. These guys it was easier to do because all their bigs are similar and it was easier to switch. Their small forwards played more like a power forward. It will be tougher against other matchups, but tonight we did it because I wasn't happy with the way other guys were playing."

Bosh led all scorers with 24 points and 10 rebounds, his first double-double of the pre-season. Outside of the opening basket, the Raptors did not have a lead in the game until the final minute of the third quarter.

Bargnani had a strong night as well with 11 points and six rebounds.

Rasmunas Siskaukas led Moscow with 15 points. He was one of five Russian players to get into double digits.

The Raptors play the Minnesota Timberwolves in pre-season action at the ACC tomorrow night.


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