Raptors foiled by fatigue

MIKE GANTER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:49 AM ET

It's not often the head coach of the losing team goes home happy, but to hear Jay Triano tell it yesterday, that was exactly the case for the Raptors bench boss.

Triano is a realist, if nothing else, and knowing his main cogs aren't physically prepared for a 48-minute tilt, he was not the least bit surprised that the visiting Boston Celtics broke open a close game midway through the third quarter and romped to a 101-82 victory.

"Right now, due to the injuries and guys getting a late start to training camp, we are just over half a game ready and you can see it,'' Triano said.

"Physically we can't do it and when the physical part goes, the mental part goes."

Triano isn't worried.

"I kind of like it," he said of yesterday's result. "I have their attention. If we win ugly right now what do we get from it? They're going to come in feeling all good (today). I don't want them feeling good. I want them coming in ready to practise."

For Triano, it's what he can get out of these guys in the next four days of practice before they play their final pre-season game that really counts.

All yesterday's game really proved is that Hedo Turkoglu's conditioning is a far cry from where he or the Raptors need it to be. Turkoglu, who sat out the first three weeks of training camp, played just under the first six minutes of yesterday's game before calling for a sub.

In the third quarter, he lasted just four minutes before heading to the bench.

Ten more days of the pre-season, with at least six and likely seven practices over that stretch will go a long way toward addressing his and anyone else's conditioning deficiencies.

Triano is confident there is enough time to get it done.

"Now we're at the point where we have drilled it enough and in the past four or five days we have been playing more," Triano said. "But it's been tough to play when we had six games in 10 days. Now we have a great opportunity where we don't have to worry about games for at least the next four days."

Chris Bosh, who is still working his way up to regular-season conditioning, looked much stronger yesterday in 31 minutes, but like Turkoglu still has a ways to go.

"I felt good, nice and strong," said Bosh, whose 15 points was one off the team lead that belonged to Turkoglu.

"My wind was a lot better. I just have to work on the endurance, get used to playing 30-plus minutes a game."

But most important for Bosh is getting the team playing on the same page defensively, something they definitely weren't doing yesterday when they allowed the Celtics to shoot 50% from the field.

"We just have to work on defence," Bosh said.

"I'm not concerned about our offence. The ball is going to move. We're going to hit our shots ... We're gambling just a little too much (on defence) and we have to rely on each other and get it in our heads that if we're going to be good, we have to be a good defensive team. "

The Raps have 10 days to do that before the results start to count.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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