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Author Topic: We wanted to shut him down but hes tough  (Read 361 times)

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Offline fu0222

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TORONTO - Once he got going, no one could calm Jonas Valanciunas down, despite Kyle Lowrys best efforts. As Valanciunas was whistled for a rare technical toward the end of the third quarter - a result of waving his hand at an official after being called for a foul - Lowry pulled the Raptors sophomore aside, corralling him by his Jersey and patting him on the back. "Youve got to be smart in certain situations," Lowry told the young centre. "I just tried to say look, you cant waste your money." "Yeah, he was trying to calm me down," Valanciunas said of the conversation with his point guard, speaking with a mischievous look on his face following the Raptors 98-91 win over the Cavaliers. "That technical foul cost me, so I feel bad now." He shouldnt. The tech will cost Valanciunas a small fraction of his next paycheque but the unbridled emotion he played with in the second half of Fridays game was the driving force of Torontos rapid turnaround. Valanciunas, like the rest of his team, got off to an ugly start. The Raptors were fortunate to be down by only five going into the break, scoring just 39 points in the first half and shooting 33 per cent from the field. For the third straight game coming out of the All-Star break, Valanciunas got a quick hook in the first quarter. The seven-footer has been strangely quiet of late, averaging under six points in four games entering Fridays contest. His minutes have been down, as hes battled growing pains on the defensive end. After being sent to the bench midway through the opening quarter, he sat for around 12 minutes of game time before re-entering. Somewhere, somehow, someone lit a fire under the sophomore and not only did it spark him, it ignited the whole team. Valanciunas was a possessed man coming out of the halftime break. He was aggressive on defence, manic on the boards and dominant down low. He ran the floor with a purpose, worked to establish position, then demanded the ball. As he turned to face up Clevelands Tyler Zeller midway through the third, he pump faked - not once, but twice - took the contact and drained the jumper. Before completing the three-point play, he pumped his fist in the air and yelled out to the crowd, or the Cavs, or his teammates, or whoever was listening. His face was as red as the logo at centre court. He meant business. "Hes going to have ups and downs but tonight he was intense," Lowry said of Valanciunas, who had 10 points and four rebounds in the third quarter, finishing the game with 18 points and eight boards. "He really kind of carried us with his intensity and his passion and fire tonight." The 21-year-olds inspired play lifted the Raptors in what turned out to be a game-deciding third quarter. Toronto scored 37 points in the frame - two fewer than its first-half total - and shot 70 per cent, turning a five-point deficit at intermission into an 11-point advantage going into the fourth. "Hes our enforcer in the paint," said Amir Johnson, who returned to the starting lineup Friday after coming off the bench in his two previous outings, nursing an ankle injury. "When he gets going, everybody else plays good and that just gets everybody open shots when hes scoring in the paint." Johnson also came to life in the second half, the two bigs even hooked up on an alley-oop lob - from Johnson to Valanciunas - late in game.  "We had to give our bigs a wakeup call," Dwane Casey said. "They turned it around in the second half. We reminded them, theres more to the game than the offensive end." "You can do a lot of different things other than make shots," he continued, "and I thought the second half, Amir Johnson and JV worked at it and got it done." Although Valanciunas helped turn the game, the best Raptor on the night - from start to finish - was fellow sophomore Terrence Ross, hands down. Ross scored a team-high 20 points, shooting 9-for-18, but his most important contribution was on the defensive end, where he went toe-to-toe with All-Star Game MVP Kyrie Irving. When the game began, Ross was assigned to check former Raptor Jarrett Jack while Lowry defended Irving. Early in the first quarter, there was a switch and Ross ended up on the Cavs point guard and leading scorer. It stuck for the rest of the evening, and Ross did not disappoint. The Raptors forward used his length and athleticism to frustrate Irving, forcing him to launch tough perimeter jumpers, keeping him out of the paint and holding him to 3-of-16 shooting. "He can score in a lot of different ways [and] get his teammates involved," Ross said of Irving, who ended up with 17 points and nine assists for Cleveland. "So if you slow him down, you slow the team down." "He had to chase [Irving] everywhere," Johnson said of Ross. "He chased him off screens, he didnt quit on plays and thats how you have to play a guy like that. [Irvings] so crafty and hes always moving so you just have to keep a body on him and stay in front of him. [Ross] did a great job." It was Canada Basketball Night at the Air Canada Centre Friday, as local product and first overall pick Anthony Bennett made his NBA debut in Toronto. Bennett, who continues to improve after a slow start to the season, knocked down his first two shots and finished with nine points in 15 minute of action while fellow Canadian Tristan Thompson scored 13 to go along with nine boards. In snapping Clevelands six-game winning streak, the Raptors picked up their 30th win of the campaign, doing so in just 55 games. It took them 78 contests to reach the 30-win mark a year ago. sort nike Roshe One Flyknit .Arsenal had already qualified for the last 16 of the competition and was playing for a chance to overtake Borussia Dortmund to top spot in the group, but the German side drew 1-1 with Anderlecht to secure top billing in the group. nike Roshe One Herre grøn . The 23-year-old Lander split the season between the Oilers and their American Hockey League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons. http://www.rosheonedk.com/nike-roshe-one-danmark-running/nike-roshe-one-br.html . - A Tuesday funeral is planned in Toronto for 20-year-old Saginaw Spirit forward Terry Trafford. nike Roshe One Herre Udsalg . - Lawyers involved in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez want to know if there are any die-hard Patriots fans in the jury pool. nike Roshe One Flyknit Dame . Canada (6-2) stole a point at the last end to secure an 8-6 win over the U.S., which now cannot qualify. The Canadians didnt know they had qualified when they came off the ice after a tense win over the U. NEW YORK -- It was an average performance from Jabari Parker, and it drew praise worthy of another stellar effort by the Duke freshman. "Hes a natural," Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said after Parker had 23 points and 10 rebounds in an 80-63 victory over UCLA on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. "In different sports there are people who are naturals. Jabari is a natural. He can become even better. He embraces the moment." Bruins coach Steve Alford was impressed with the 6-foot-8 Chicago native. "Hes gifted. Hes got a lot of smoothness to him. He can be a big guard or post you," the first-year UCLA coach said. "You dont see a lot who are this polished 10, 11 games into the year." UCLA sophomore guard Kyle Anderson jumped in on the praise. "Its tough to say who is the best player on the floor, especially with that team and our group of guys, but he played really well," said Anderson, who had another all-around game for the Bruins. "We wanted to shut him down but hes tough." Parker was 7 of 13 from the field, including a 4-for-8 performance from 3-point range. He also was 5 of 5 at the free throw line and had five assists while scoring at least 20 points for the ninth time in his 11 college games. He hit a big 3 and had an impressive dunk during Dukes 16-4 run that broke open a tie game in the second half. "Im just going to do whatever it takes to win," Parker said. "I dont have to take 20 shots for us to win, I can as long as theyre good shots. Im just learning to play the proper role right now." The Blue Devils (9-2) poked and prodded UCLAs 2-3 zone from the perimeter, making 11 3-pointers in a season-high 32 attempts from beyond the arc. Rodney Hood and Quinn Cook both had 14 points for the Blue Devils. Cook had five assists and all eight of DDukes steals.dddddddddddd "We did a good job hitting Amile (Jefferson) in the middle of the zone and he became the toss-back guy," Krzyzewski said. "He got the ball right back to guys and they got rhythm shots." David Wear led the Bruins (9-2) with 16 points and Anderson, who has taken over at point guard, had 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He entered the game averaging 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists. "Quinn Cook did a good job of pressuring the ball. That 94 feet of pressure is tough," said Anderson, who had six turnovers. "They didnt let us execute our offence. Dukes signature is the pressure defence, Thats what they want to do and we fell into it." UCLAs zone kept the Bruins in the game. Wear, who went 4 for 4 from beyond the arc, made a 3 to tie it at 43 with 17:58 to play. Duke suddenly began to connect from outside with consistency and Hood hit two 3s and Parker added another in a 16-4 run that put the Blue Devils up 61-49 with 11:33 to go. The Bruins twice got within eight points, but they got no closer in front of the crowd of 15,410. UCLA, which entered the game averaging 85.1 points, was 8 of 22 from 3-point range. Justin Adams, the Bruins leading scorer coming in with a 21.2 average, was held to 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting. "I thought they did a really good job on him," Alford said. "This was the first time this season hes been held like that, containing him and keeping him off the free throw line." The win was Dukes 23rd straight in the month of December and lifted Krzyzewski to an 8-1 record against UCLA. The Blue Devils are 2-1 at Madison Square Garden this season having beaten Alabama and lost to Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off in November. Dukes other loss this season was to Kansas. 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