A large task ahead

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

With all the challenges the Raptors face, few are bigger than shutting down Yao Ming.

The Raptors will give it a try tonight when the 7-foot-6 Yao and the Houston Rockets visit the Air Canada Centre.

"He poses a big problem to us," Raptors coach Jay Triano said. "I think the biggest thing with him is you have to play him early. You have to get into his body. He is getting better every year at finding ways to get good position in the low post."

But don't expect to see the Raptors double-team Yao.

"If you guys double me, I am still going to do this," Triano said as he mimicked shooting over members of the media.

ROCKETS FIRED UP

The Rockets weren't pleased with themselves after their most recent win, an 85-81 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

"That win was horrible," Ron Artest said. "We've got to play better and that's it. There's so much of the game where we have to play better."

The Rockets had a 15-point lead in the game, but the Bucks got to within one point before Houston rebuilt a small cushion.

Houston opens a five-game trip tonight in Toronto. In 25 games between the teams, the Rockets hold a 15-10 edge.

PRACTISING PLAYING

Triano let the Raptors do their thing during practice yesterday.

"We played a little scrimmage game. We called timeouts, the coaches stayed out of it," Triano said. "Let them figure it out, let them talk. Once they start doing that and taking on that leadership role, they will start to become more comfortable."

Triano was referring to Jose Calderon, Roko Ukic and Will Solomon.


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