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News » Toronto Raptors Getting Inside 2009-03-02

Toronto Raptors Getting Inside 2009-03-02

Toronto Raptors Getting Inside 2009-03-02
The Raptors will finish up their last extended road trip in Houston Tuesday night with the same, smallish merry band of players they've been used to.

But some wonder whether that's been a problem all along.

The team decided before the season began to go with the minimum 13 players because they were too close to the tax threshold to add one or two more and now with Kris Humphries on the shelf with a broken leg and Nate Jawai with the Idaho Stampede in the D-League, Toronto's down to only 11 bodies at most for the final quarter of the season.

And that's a gamble since Joey Graham missed two games with a strained hamstring, Shawn Marion's at less than 100 percent because of the flu and any more injuries could cripple any hope they have of challenging for a playoff berth in the final quarter of the regular season.

"It's tough when you don't have the bodies to give these guys a rest and I think that was part of our problem in Phoenix," coach Jay Triano said, alluding to a collapse in the fourth quarter of Friday's 133-113 loss to the Suns. "Playing the style we're playing, guys get fatigued a little bit. But there's no excuse, some teams play seven, eight guys deep in a rotation, we're forced to do that and we have to play through it."

And it's not as if the bench is populated by candidates for the Sixth Man Award. Only Graham and Jason Kapono have any experience to speak of, the others are rookie point guard Roko Ukic, journeymen big men Jake Voskuhl and Patrick O'Bryant and Marcus Banks.

Hardly a murderer's row of subs.

That's putting extreme pressure on the likes of Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani, who are capable of playing both center and power forward but they are already starting to wear down from a long season -- Bosh's knees are bothering him more each game -- and if they go down, the team's chances go with them.

MAVS 109, RAPTORS 98: With Shawn Marion out for half a game with the flu, facing a more talented team rested and playing at home, and misfiring to the tune of 37 per cent inefficiency from the floor and just 3-14 from three-point range, Toronto fell 109-98 to the Dallas Mavericks, making the Raptors 0-for-2 on this current road trip.

Marion, who missed practice here Saturday and yesterday morning's shoot-around with "flu-like symptoms" lasted only six minutes before retiring for the evening.

The Mavs broke the game open with a 30-point third quarter, giving them a 90-75 lead entering the fourth that made the final 12 minutes unremarkable. Toronto never got within 10 with any late push as the Mavs coasted.

Dirk Nowitzki had 24 points to lead Dallas while Chris Bosh, playing in front of his hometown crowd, had 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: March 2, 2009


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