Bad day not OK with Calderon

FRANK ZICARELLI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 12:35 PM ET

Jose Calderon dismissed it as a bad day at the office, an off night when shots weren't dropping and just about anything he attempted went awry.

Perhaps Friday's folly will be remembered as a one-game aberration, but perhaps it's a sign that Calderon is beginning to wear down.

The timing of Friday's meltdown was curious given Calderon was coming off a game in which he tied his career-high by recording 16 assists.

It's no secret he's been playing through a tender hamstring, but Calderon isn't one to complain or turn to any convenient excuse.

"You have your good days and you have your bad days,'' Calderon said yesterday after practice. "I have to be ready for every game.

"Sometimes it happens."

As in making only one of six attempts from the field, including missing both heaves from beyond the arc, and watching from the bench in the fourth quarter when your team is making a run.

Calderon knows he has to be better and the Raptors are hoping their starting point guard can step up for today's matinee against the red-hot Utah Jazz (12:30 p.m., CBC), winners of 10 in a row.

The Raptors have lost four in a row, including Friday's 108-102 setback to the visiting Miami Heat, and are inching perilously close to being mathematically eliminated from the post-season.

As long as the Raptors remain alive for the playoffs, Calderon will continue to play.

But once the Raptors are eliminated, there's a growing sense the team will shut down Calderon.

When the Raptors gathered yesterday, Calderon was working on his jumper with the team's assistant coaches well after his teammates had gotten off their shots.

No player, outside of Chris Bosh, shoulders the burden of losing more than Calderon.

"He feels it more than anyone,'' interim head coach Jay Triano said of Calderon.

"He cares. He feels bad and when he doesn't play well it bothers him."

Today's challenge for Calderon is to rediscover his game and try to disrupt Deron Williams, who is one of those rare point guards who is both quick and physical.

Calderon says he's ready to match up against Williams.

"It's all about team defence,'' he said. "Utah runs a lot of pick and rolls.

"Utah executes and they play like a team. They cut hard and they set hard screens."


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