Raps feeling rejuvenated

, Last Updated: 10:39 AM ET

TORONTO - What a difference one win makes.

The combination of the end of Toronto's 13-game losing streak and a rare day off had the Raptors in high spirits at practice on Super Bowl Sunday at the ACC.

Most of the team's younger players engaged in an impromptu dunkoff following practice and in perhaps the surest sign of just how well everybody was feeling, the "old man" of the group, point guard Jose Calderon, threw down a couple jams.

Saturday's off-day was the first for the team since Christmas and it came on the heels of Friday's win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"The number of games we've had in a short period of time and you put in the delays we've had with the travel it was nice to get away for a day and they brought some good energy which is good," head coach Jay Triano said.

"We just needed it," agreed Calderon of the welcome respite.

"It was getting a little heavy we were losing by a little ... practising hard but couldn't get a win."

Calderon was also pleased that he likely will get an important teammate back for Tuesday's road tilt with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Leandro Barbosa has been out since Jan. 14 but said he expects to play, as long as he makes it through practice on Monday.

Barbosa said he was sore and exhausted -- he didn't even have the strength to get off the trainer's table to speak with the media -- but otherwise happy to be close to a return to action.

The Brazilian said it was killing him not being able to help out as his teammates went through the second-longest losing streak in club history, especially since he had been playing well before he went down (16.6 points on 52.5% shooting in his previous five games).

"It's really tough when you see your team out there on the court trying to win games (and) you know that you can (help)," Barbosa said.

"It's not fun, it's not happy to watch. Sometimes I almost say depressed, you get low."

Fun appears to have returned to the Raptors though and Barbosa says it is important to enjoy being on the court.

"This is how we need to do it," he said.

"If we have fun, things work better. We communicate better right now."

Triano said Barbosa's ability to change speeds and create offence without the aid of screens will be a big boost to an offence that has had its struggles at times.

While Calderon said he is feeling as good as he has in some time, the news wasn't as good regarding fellow point guard Jerryd Bayless.

Bayless did not make it through the entire practice because of his sprained knee, and Triano said Bayless will not play on Tuesday if he cannot practice fully on Monday.

Triano also said forward Reggie Evan's recovery from foot surgery remains on track, but a return before the all-star break which comes at the end of the month is unlikely.

In Evans' absence, Amir Johnson has filled in admirably and the big man has showed he can step out and hit jumpers of late.

Not that Triano is ready to make him a featured part of the offence just yet.

"Amir can be involved in the offence every single play he wants if he goes and gets an offensive rebound," said a smiling Triano.

The coach quickly added that Johnson has made himself into "a little bit of a threat," by being able to knock down mid-range jumpers and that if he does it with consistency it "improves our overall game."

Much like pulling off a rare win did.

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