The Raptors sent their fans on a roller coaster ride tonight as they surged out to a large lead in the first quarter (29-18) only to get worked like a cheap mule in the second quarter (Cleveland out-scored them 31-14). Instead of folding like a cheap lawn chair Toronto worked hard in the third quarter to outscore Cleveland 31 to 20. Both teams scrapped and clawed to the end of the game but a huge three by Damon Jones as time expired robbed Toronto of a win. Damon Jones? You’ve got to be kidding me! He couldn’t catch a cold all season and he picks tonight to hit a big shot.

Following the game Sam Mitchell was in a grumpy mood and had one of his shortest press conferences of the season. When asked about the heartbreaking end to the game Mitchell told reporters that, "LeBron made a great play and he found the open guy and Damon Jones hit the shot. That’s all I want to say about it."

When a reporter kept prodding a frustrated Mitchell repeated that, "we got the match-up that we wanted and we had Mo on LeBron. He just made a big play."

As Mitchell was walked off of the podium after answering just two questions a brave reporter attempted to ask how the team could be in the game despite Charlie Villanueva and Chris Bosh going scoreless. I’m still not sure if this question was him showing huge cajones of if it was just an idiotic question. Mitchell stopped for a second, muttered something un-decipherarable and marched back to the locker room. Despite the bad timing, the reporter raises a good question. How can our All-Star forward and his side kick not score any points in a half - it’s not like Cleveland’s bigs are known for their defensive prowess. The Raptors should have been feeding Bosh in the post all night and taking advantage Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Drew Gooden and Anderson Varajeo in the post.

Speaking of Mitchell, is he trying to kill Morris Peterson? Check out Peterson’s minutes for his last five games - 47 against Atlanta, 49 against New Jersey, 48 against the Celtics, 45 against Cleveland and tonight he played 47 minutes. There’s no way that any player should be playing those kinds of minutes. Add to this that those five games have occurred over just seven games and it’s baffling as to why Mitchell’s giving Peterson these absurd minutes. Peterson has been chasing around players like Vince Carter, Paul Pierce and LeBron James (twice) during this span and it’s no wonder he doesn’t collapse from exhaustion.


Wed 03/08/06, 10:52 pm EST


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