Mitchell defends strategy

Sam Mitchell defended using Chris Bosh as a decoy against the Celtics. (Sun Media/Greg Henkenhaf)

Sam Mitchell defended using Chris Bosh as a decoy against the Celtics. (Sun Media/Greg Henkenhaf)

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:41 AM ET

Sam Mitchell knew the questions were coming and he had some answers prepared.

But even Mitchell admitted he wasn't prepared to share all the reasons the Raptors did what they did against the Celtics Monday night in Boston.

The big question, without question, was Mitchell's decision to live with deploying his greatest offensive asset, namely Chris Bosh, as a decoy for the entire 48 minutes of what turned into a 94-87 defeat.

The fact that Bosh didn't take a shot the final 12 minutes while his teammates repeatedly failed to pull the trigger on what looked like makeable shots didn't mean the plan was flawed in Mitchell's opinion -- only the execution of it was flawed.

"Understand something," Mitchell said. "We beat Boston in Boston last year. We beat them because we know Kevin (Garnett) is not going to leave Chris. He is going to stay attached to him and we used that to our advantage."

Last year with Garnett playing just about inside Bosh's uniform, Jose Calderon turned the corner on a pick and roll and layed in the game-winner in the dying seconds. This year though, despite taking a 12-point lead into the second half, the Raptors were outgunned down the stretch.

Paul Pierce, ironically looking about as dominant as Bosh was the previous evening in a Raptors win over Charlotte, scored 22 points in the final quarter to complete the comeback.

Mitchell said Bosh did his job regardless of the number of shots he took.

"If they are going to take their best defender (Garnett) and he's just going to stay with Chris, it's going to open up the rest of the court," Mitchell said. "A lot of times when we had a pick and roll we had a 4-on-3 advantage because it took two guys to guard Chris. I tell you guys this all the time. When Chris has two guys guarding him, he has done his job."

After the game, Bosh said he felt he could have been involved in the offence a little more but quickly corrected a reporter yesterday when he suggested Bosh was being critical of the team strategy.

"I wasn't critical," Bosh said. "I just stated what I could have done better and what we could have done better. I am very critical of myself first and foremost."

Bosh already is thinking about the next matchup with Garnett and the Celtics. He agrees being a decoy, given what the Celtics were doing, was a sound strategy, but he wouldn't like to see it employed for quite so long.

"In certain situations, but not for a whole game," Bosh said.

Mitchell was asked point blank how many games he thought he would win with Bosh scoring just one basket in the second half.

"If they keep putting two people on Chris, other guys have to score," Mitchell said. "The difference in the game was we didn't make shots."


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