Home
 
Choose Your City
Change City

Down 2-0 to Magic, Mitchell says there will be lineup changes for Game 3

TORONTO - Take away two ghastly quarters and the Toronto Raptors would surely be breathing a lot easier right now.


TORONTO - Take away two ghastly quarters and the Toronto Raptors would surely be breathing a lot easier right now.

Instead, the Raptors were back in Toronto on Wednesday hoping to turn around a playoff series gone wrong, while coach Sam Mitchell pondered more changes to his starting lineup.

The Raptors trail 2-0 in their best-of-seven playoff series against the Magic, buried by double-digit deficits in the opening quarters of both games in Orlando - 20 and 17 points respectively.

While Mitchell wouldn't divulge who will start for Thursday's Game 3 at the Air Canada Centre (7:30 p.m. ET), he said changes are coming.

"The worst thing that can happen is we lose, and we lost the first two so you've got to do something," Mitchell said after practice. "We've got to try to do something to avoid those starts.

"The changes are going to be to try to get us off to a better start."

The Raptors managed to dig their way out in both games, pulling to within five points in Game 1 and losing 104-103 after a Chris Bosh jump shot with 1.9 seconds remaining missed its mark.

"We have to stop digging holes for ourselves in the first quarter, first and foremost," Bosh said. "It's just effort.

"You can have all the game plans, but when (Magic forward) Hedo Turkoglu drives 94 feet and gets a dunk, that has nothing to do with game plan, that's being aware of your surroundings and doing your job the right way."

Much of the spotlight's heat fell on starting point guard T.J. Ford on Wednesday, and there was speculation Jose Calderon could be the one on the court when the ball's thrown up for Game 3.

Ford had four turnovers Tuesday, uncharacteristic for the starting guard, and scored 11 points on 2-for-17 shooting. Toronto coughed up the ball nine times in the first quarter alone.

While Mitchell told a Toronto all-sports radio station, Wednesday morning that Ford would keep his starting job, he joked with reporters later in the day, saying "Anything I said on that show, I would take with a bag of salt, not a grain."

Much like a quarterback in football, Mitchell said, the point guard sets the tone for the game.

"The guy with the ball that starts the game, he's got to make sure he runs things and gets people in the right spots, and I just want our guys to be aggressive," Mitchell said.

Calderon, who started 24 games Ford missed after injuring his back and neck in a frightening fall Dec. 11 in Atlanta, finished with 18 points Tuesday, and was on the court for Toronto's late-game surge.

Calderon insisted it doesn't matter who starts, but said it's crucial the team doesn't fall behind by double digits again.

"It's really difficult in the NBA to come back 17, 20 points down, even more in the playoffs," said the Spaniard. "We have to be ready in the beginning. We won six of the eight quarters in the series."

For his part, Ford said he'll do what's asked of him.

"Whatever they want to do that they feel is necessary for us to win," Ford said. "There's nothing I can do about it. I'm all for it.

"It's the playoffs, you don't want to struggle but the reality is, I am struggling," Ford added. "I've just got to find a way to get through it."

Another potential change would see Jason Kapono starting, with centre Rasho Nesterovic heading to the bench. Kapono was big off the bench in both games in Orlando, with 18-and 20-point performances.

The Raptors were happy to be home Wednesday, hoping the rowdy crowd at the Air Canada Centre can help spark a strong start. The arena will be a sea of red, with the 19,800 fans receiving red "Are you RED-s" playoff T-shirts.

"It's kind of like payback for us, we're down 0-2, they played well at home, now it's time for us to play well at home," Bosh said. "Now we have that out of the way, I know our crowd is going to be a lot louder and a lot crazier than their's, so that's one thing we have over them right now."

Bosh said he spent much of Tuesday night and Wednesday replaying his heart-breaking last shot that fell short in Game 2.

"You have no idea," Bosh said, laughing. "I've replayed it a lot.

"Of course I can always say there's things I could have done better, but at the end of the day that's the shot I took, and I'd take it again if I had it. Just didn't go in, can't really pay attention to it, it's over now."

Game 4 is Saturday at the Air Canada Centre, while Game 5 if necessary would be played Monday at Orlando.

A Game 6 would be May 1 at Toronto and Game 7 back at Orlando on May 3.

 
Consider AlsoFurther Articles