Desperate times might call for Parker

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

There was a day when Raptors coach Jay Triano would go into a game with Steve Nash on the floor confident in the knowledge of an advantage at the most important position in the game.

Sadly for Triano and the Raptors, those days were back when Triano was the head coach of the Canadian national team.

This afternoon at the ACC, Nash will be in the orange of the Phoenix Suns. So not only will Triano and the Raptors have to contend with Nash's wizardry with the basketball, they will continue to look for some semblance of consistency from their own point guards.

Jose Calderon, who has been out since Jan. 2 (strained hamstring) with one briefly aborted return attempt last Sunday, is expected to be a spectator again today. And with no practice time until at least Thursday -- the Raps play back-to-back today and tomorrow so they won't practise Tuesday -- Calderon probably won't see action until Friday's game in Chicago at the earliest.

In his absence, the tandem of Will Solomon and Roko Ukic have shown flashes of NBA readiness but to ask either at this point in the season to assume starting point guard responsibilities clearly is asking too much. Flow almost is non-existent in the Raptors offence for long stretches. Too often the ball moves around the perimeter or simply stops, killing any rhythm. It's not all on the point guards, but they do bear the brunt of the responsibility.

Friday in Indiana with his offence nearly at a standstill and his defence equally lethargic, Triano rolled the dice and moved shooting guard Anthony Parker to the point. Maybe it was the desperation of the situation, but for the first time all night the Raptors found some life and nearly wound up coming back from a 25-point deficit.

Triano is toying with the idea of trying Parker there again today, but as of practice yesterday had not made up his mind.

"I'll think about, yeah," Triano said. "I don't know if I'll do it but I would think about it."

Triano clearly liked what Parker brought to the equation at the point on Friday.

"We had a bigger lineup obviously, so we were rebounding the ball and Jamario (Moon) would push it if he got it and Joey would push it if he got it and (AP) would push it if he got it or one of the other guys got it they would give it to one of those three. There was no real pattern of who was allowed to bring it up or who could bring it up. We just ran.

"I think one of the first plays we got a rebound and AP just took off," Triano said. "We got it to him and from that point on it just kind of magnified and everyone kept running."

The Raptors are going to need to do that and more just to stay with the Suns today.

"We showed them today (via film) the difference with the urgency in which we played late in the game," Triano said looking back at the Indy loss. "The message was: We can't wait to get down to play better. We have to find a way to be (like they were in the fourth quarter) from the start of the game."

And with a Phoenix team that is becoming more and more comfortable with new head coach Terry Porter and his style, the Raps can't afford to be playing catchup all game like they have been lately.


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