Raptors coming together entering 2010

Part of the result of the Raptors being comfortable with each other is coming to the aid of...

Part of the result of the Raptors being comfortable with each other is coming to the aid of teammates when it is required. (DAVE ABEL/QMI Agency)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:24 PM ET

Chris Bosh was holding court with reporters Thursday when suddenly he felt a large weight on his back.

It was Raptors teammate Amir Johnson, playfully jumping on Toronto’s star player, and wishing all those watching a “Happy New Year!”

“It’s not that uptight, as you can see,” Bosh said with a broad smile.

There’s no doubt the Raptors, a game under .500 thanks to a five-game winning streak, are a cool bunch as the calendar turns to 2010. Hard to believe it’s the same group that returned two weeks ago from a trip to Florida questioning its resolve after a pair of blowout losses.

“Guys are playing together, sharing the basketball together, and I think everybody feels like we are starting to become more of a team,” coach Jay Triano said. “At the beginning of the year, we were thinking and trying to process before we reacted. Now things are becoming more comfortable and more reactionary.

“They know what to expect from me. I know what to expect from them. They, in turn, know what to expect from each other.”

TOUGH GAMES

The Raptors’ good tidings and joy, however, will face a severe test in the next three games. After beating up on a handful of teams below them in the standings, the Raptors are in Boston Saturday to take on the Celtics, play host to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday and visit the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. In other words, games against two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference sandwich a tilt with a difficult Spurs club.

And the Raps probably will have to do without forward Hedo Turkoglu in Beantown, as a bruised knee is making him doubtful. Antoine Wright would start in Turkoglu’s place.

“There is a good chance that Turk is not going to play,” Triano said. “I would probably start Antoine. He is a guy who leaves our other rotations the same. He is a good defender. I just like the mix better and it does not take anybody out of their comfort zones.”

Part of the result of being comfortable with each other is coming to the aid of teammates when it is required. When Marcus Banks had a disagreement with the Charlotte Bobcats’ Gerald Wallace on Wednesday, several of his teammates were there for support.

“We’re not leaving anybody on the out,” guard Jarrett Jack said. “Any challenge, any altercation, we are there as a unit.”

Though the Raps’ next trio of games could be pivotal, Triano doesn’t see them as telling him anything more about his team, win or lose, than he knows after this five-game streak of success.

“I’m not going to judge on the next three games,” Triano said. “I did not judge when we were 7-13. It’s a long season.”

As for Bosh and any New Year’s resolutions? The man about to become the top scorer in franchise history, and one who could leave as a free agent this summer, wasn’t saying.

“I have some, but you can’t talk about them,” Bosh said. “Just a nice quiet evening at home, have a toast with some Kool-Aid, and go to bed at 12:30.”

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca


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