Numbers look good

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

During their season-long five-game home stand, the Raptors are holding teams to below-average shooting numbers.

They limited the Bobcats, Clippers, Bucks and Thunder to a 44.8% field-goal percentage compared to those clubs' combined average of 45.9%, while their foes' three-point shooting is 36.4% (37.3%) and free-throw percentage is 84.4% (85.2%). The Raptors out-rebounded the four to the tune of plus-46 heading into this afternoon's game against the Bulls.

"Just baby steps," forward Shawn Marion said. "Advance the ball and that makes it easier on offence and puts the defence on their heels. Everyone is trying to step up and take the challenge."

Don't rush Roko

Coach Jay Triano has learned not to put too much on rookie point guard Roko Ukic's plate when he comes off the bench for Jose Calderon.

"He's so effective in a screen roll and we'd want to run a play to get him going," Triano said. "But we're better off now making his first play a swing play, where he gives it up and gets loose and runs. You don't want to put the ball in his hands and have him make a (rash) decision, take a shot or drive to the basket cold after sitting on the bench."

Buzzer beaters

The most recent time Marion played the Bulls he was with the Miami Heat. Teammate Dwyane Wade sank a running three-pointer at the buzzer in double overtime and then found Marion for a game-winning dunk with one second on the clock.

"An exciting game for me and very cool," Marion said.

But he warned the Raps can't take the Bulls lightly, even though they played yesterday.

"It was an early game and they have a short flight," Marion said.


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