Sam Mitchell wants his team to run.
He also wants to see his team shoot more.
And in case you missed it, NBA TV on Monday night showed just how much emphasis Mitchell is placing on both of these facets.
NBA TV, in their on-going pre-season coverage, dropped in on the Raptors' practice facility to get a look at the 5 and 0 (6 and 0 if you count the Maccabi win) Raptors and viewers were treated to Mitchell consistently telling his team to "get out and run." One of the drills that has been alluded to by the media is Sam Mitchell's "get a good shot off in nine seconds" drill and this was on full display. In tonight's rematch with the almost equally up-tempo Boston Celtics, expect to see lots replication of this drill.
The Celtics are coming off a tough 109-107 loss to the New Jersey Nets last night and played without Paul Pierce. Pierce may not play in tonight's matchup either but that would of course be negated by the fact that Chris Bosh will once again be sitting out for the Raptors. In fact, Andrea Bargnani, whose ankle continues to bother him, may not play either. As it is still pre-season, we are glad to hear that the Raptors' staff is being cautious with both players, especially Chris Bosh. As Jorge Garbajosa can apparently attest to, Bosh's injury is something that needs considerable rest...especially with the long season ahead.
So who is playing tonight?
Well it sounds like TJ Ford will be back in action so we can expect another break-neck game of cat and mouse pitting him, Jose Calderon and Fred Jones on the Raptors' side against Boston's Rajon Rondo, Sebastian Telfair and Delonte West. And without Bosh, and maybe Bargnani, expect Kris Humphries to see the lion's share of minutes down low with Garbajosa, PJ Tucker and Uros Slokar helping out.
The Raptors won their last match-up with the Celtics by playing solid defense and exploiting the Celtics' own defensive lapses and turnover issues. Doing so again tonight should result in win number seven keeping them atop the Eastern Conference standings and tied with Golden State for the best record in the league.