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Old 01-26-2008, 09:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
Bob Loblaw
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Default Raptors thriving under Mitchell's tough-love approach

Very extensive article ... but worth the read
This is just a small portion about Sam Mitchell, the article goes on to talk about a variety of different topics on the Raptors tho
Raptors thriving under Mitchell's tough-love approach

He (Mitchell) is among the most entertaining and articulate people in the league, as well as the reigning coach of the year. But the key with him is to get through the first five minutes of the interview while his eyes roll and he makes fun of the questions he's grown tired of hearing. It's entertaining in a heckling way for everybody except the person who asked the question.

"Whenever y'all ready!" was how Mitchell, arms folded and leaning against the hallway wall, began his pregame meeting Wednesday with the press.

Somebody asked if this was a big game for the Raptors in order to avoid a four-game season sweep by the Celtics.

"No," Mitchell answered. "This is the next game on our schedule. I don't even know how to answer the question."

It's hard to beat somebody four times, the reporter insisted.

"Yeah, it is," Mitchell said. "But we're not looking at that. What, we're going to try harder because it's the fourth time? I think our team tries hard every night."

I truncate his answers to provide the gist. Somebody asked if having two days to practice had helped prepare the Raptors.

"We're trying to work on things that we need to get better at. So we're going to take two days, not worry about us and put all our energy into playing Boston? And then what are we going to do? What are we going to do with the other 40-something games? We had two days of practice, we focused on Boston, and if you happen to win the game is the season over?"

Someone else tried to change the subject by bringing up the good play of Carlos Delfino.

"You pick one player and act like one player has helped us to get to where we are."

But weren't the Raptors surprised by how well Delfino has been playing?

"I don't think we would have traded for him if we didn't think he could play."

Then came a question about T.J. Ford's continuing rehab. What kind of work was he doing in Houston?

"Guys, he's doing a lot of things. He's doing ... there's not enough time for me to sit down and talk about all the things that T.J. Ford is doing down in Houston.

"Basketball things. I would think he's doing a little running. I would think he's doing some shooting. Some ball-handling. Things of that nature. The things that you have to do to play basketball. I don't think he's rock climbing. I don't think he's down swimming off the coast of Galveston. I don't think he's doing anything like that. I think he's doing basketball things."

It was quiet. Mitchell said, "Is there anybody going to ask me something good?"

"Everybody's scared," I told him.

"Good," said Mitchell with the slightest grin. "Good."
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