Raptors try to shake memory of meltdown

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

After going into the tank on Monday night, the Raptors are hoping to flush away the bad memories.

Coach Jay Triano gave his players a day off Tuesday, following a 105-101 loss in Indianapolis to the Indiana Pacers, during which the Raps blew a 23-point lead.

“It’s one game,” Raptors guard Jose Calderon said. “For me, it is erased right now. You can still think about the game, but they are not going to give you the game back. So that’s it.”

Only twice in their history have the Raptors lost when they led by more than 23 points, and on both occasions they coughed up 24-point leads to the Dallas Mavericks, once in 2006 and once in 2007.

The Raptor fell a game under .500 with the loss to Indiana, and though they are 8-3 in their past 11 games, they have lost two in a row and there seems to be little doubt their mental state will be tested after such a difficult loss.

The Raptors don’t play again until Friday night in New York versus the Knicks, which means there should be plenty of time to leave the setback to the Pacers behind. On the other hand, it might be a bit of a challenge for Triano to get his players to pretend the Indiana game never happened.

Triano might also have to work hard to convince them that the momentum they carried in winning eight of nine games before losing their past two isn’t gone.

The Raptors did a lot of good things in the nine games leading up to Sunday, when they lost at home to the Boston Celtics.

For the most part, they had tightened up defence and confidence was high. But after losses on consecutive nights, Toronto will have plenty to work on during practice Wednesday and Thursday.

Interestingly, most Raps said Monday night that fatigue was not necessarily a factor in losing to the Pacers.

“I think this definitely forces us to get back on track on Friday,” Jarrett Jack said. “We have another team that can score as well, and we have to be ready to play them tooth and nail in their building. You just have to know that the game is not over until the final buzzer goes off.”

Like the Pacers were before playing host to Toronto, the Knicks are a game under .500 at home.

Chris Bosh, one Raptor who was not satisfied just with attempting jump shots against the Pacers — his aggressive play got him 20 free throws, just four shy of his career high, and he made 15 — was glad for the three-day break between games.

“We should just forget about it,” Bosh said. “We probably just need to settle down, just re-set, watch a lot of film.

“I don’t think we relaxed. We just missed a lot of shots (the Raps were good on 39.5% of their attempts). We need to do a better job of not letting our offence dictate what we do on defence.”

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca


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