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Raptors regroup with defensive emphasis

The Raptors tinkered with their starting lineup and tried a few newplays early in their first-round playoff opener against the OrlandoMagic.


The Raptors tinkered with their starting lineup and tried a few new plays early in their first-round playoff opener against the Orlando Magic.

The result? After 12 minutes and a barrage of Magic three-pointers, they were down 43-23, and all but out of it with three quarters left. But Raptors coach Sam Mitchell doesn’t think their 114-100 loss Sunday had anything to do with the changes.

“The problem was we didn’t play defence in the first quarter,” Mitchell said.

He’s convinced they can do better. As evidence, he mentioned the last six minutes of the first half, when the Magic scored only three points.

“I think any coach in the history of all sports would take that,” Mitchell said. “So we understand that we can play a lot better defence.”

Mitchell said he intends to stay with Andrea Bargnani at small forward in Game 2 tonight instead of rookie Jamario Moon, who had started 75 games.

The Raptors wanted the seven-foot Bargnani’s size to keep Orlando’s Hedo Turkoglu out of the post, but it’s out of position for the former No. 1 overall pick. Moon saw his 28-minute-per-game average shrunk to just 4:48 on Sunday.

“We’re asking a lot of (Bargnani) to go out there, step outside and be involved in pick and rolls — something he’s not used to,” Raptors forward Chris Bosh said. “We know it’s tough on him but we’re trying to take away their post-ups.”

Bosh, too, will be making adjustments. Blanketed by Rashard Lewis, he was 4-of-11 from the field but a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line for 21 points in Game 1. He said Toronto was trying too hard to adjust to the Magic, the playoff opponent it has known for weeks it would draw.

“I think the players got caught up in it, especially on defence,” Bosh said. “We’d start giving them lanes, trying to cut off their right or left hand instead of playing them straight up, and that’s how they got a lot of threes. Tomorrow we just need to play straight up, play a classic style of basketball.”


 
 
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