Steep learning curve

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:26 AM ET

It's about as good an explanation as one could get last night.

Toronto Raptors coach Jay Triano was asked where his team was at, after a 107-98 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.

"We've played one preseason game," he said.

It's going to take a lot more to find out just how good, or not, the Raptors are going to be.

The Raptors and 76ers opened their respective NBA preseason schedules at the John Labatt Centre in front of 7,231 mostly Raptor supporters.

The Sixers went out to a 15-point halftime lead, stretched it to 23 in the third quarter and although the Raptors closed to within five, they couldn't make it all the way back.

"The learning curve is going to be pretty steep for us," Triano said. "We found out where we are. There are some good things that happened out there but a lot of things we have to clean up."

Triano only has three players back from last year's year and one of them, Chris Bosh, didn't play. Also sitting was the Raptors biggest offseason acquisition, Hedu Turkoglu.

They won't play in the Raptors' second game tonight against the same Sixers in Toronto.

Jose Calderon and Andrea Bargnani were the only two players who were Raptors last year who were in last night's lineup.

Bargnani led his team with 22 ponts. Louis Williams with 17, Andre Iguodala with 15 and Jason Kapono and Marreese Speights chipped in with 12 each for the Sixers.

Even though it was an exhibition, Triano was excited to see what the club could do.

"I think they're all excited to be playing against someone else. So far we've been playing against ourselves," he said.

A key to the Raptors' success is whether they've gotten tough enough with all the changes they made. Triano believes Philadelphia was a good test.

"They have big guys inside who like to get outside and run," he said.

Samuel Dalembert provides some of that toughness.


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