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late spark from their bench to beat

#1 von wh3171 , 15.01.2020 03:02

BOSTON - An anonymous Raptors player stepped into the elevator descending from the third floor following a Saturday afternoon practice at Air Canada Centre and with the mental and physical grind of a long season beginning to weigh on him he let out a long sigh. [url=http://www.officialgreenbaypackerspro.com/Geronimo-allison-packers-jersey/]Geronimo Allison Super Bowl Jersey[/url] . "I just want the playoffs to start," he said in a moment of refreshing truthfulness. Hes not alone. He cant be. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel, a tunnel that has led to darkness so many times before for the bulk of this Toronto roster. On Wednesday they moved one step closer. "That was a character test for us," Dwane Casey said after his teams bounce-back 99-90 win in Boston. "I think this team has a lot of character. I get upset with them but theyre mine, just like youre kids. They compete hard and they make mistakes but its not from a lack of fight or togetherness." It was their first victory in Beantown since 2008, the last season in which they qualified for the playoffs. Now, theyre on the cusp of returning to the postseason, and theyre in the drivers seat. The Raptors are just one win, or Knicks loss, away from clinching their first postseason berth in six years and can do so as early as Wednesday evening if the Kings defeat New York in Sacramento, a game Kyle Lowry says he wont watch but admits hell have to keep an eye on. "I said that before the game, I said look, we can take care of our business tonight," Lowry told the assembled media after the win. "We cant count on anyone else but we can take care of our part. I aint going to lie; I think tonight everybodys rooting for that Western Conference team over there." Going into the game, the Raptors were in danger of dropping their second straight and five of their last seven, following Tuesdays botched comeback attempt in Cleveland. Even after getting off to a better start - scoring 31 points in the opening 12 minutes after totaling 33 in their last two first quarters - they looked like a team going through the motions at points in the middle of the game, exchanging the lead with a lackluster Celtics club. Then the sense of urgency kicked in. Lowry scored nine of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Raptors closed out a win they needed to have. "[Casey] challenged us," Lowry said. "He challenged us big time and I think we responded tonight." With a little help from the Bobcats, who defeated the surging Nets in overtime, the Raptors have a two-game cushion sitting stop the Atlantic Division, also moving into a virtual tie with the Bulls for the Easts third seed. Although theyre anxious, theres still work to be done and each game, regardless of opponent, is increasingly meaningful with playoff seeding at stake and things to shore up over the seasons final three weeks. "We cant afford to look ahead," Casey cautioned. "Weve got to take care of business. Weve got to continue to get better and improve and shape up some areas that we have thats leaking a little bit." Only five of the Raptors 15 players have appeared in a postseason game over the last three years. Only three on the roster have logged time in more than 20 playoff contests. The teams starters have a combined 24 games of playoff experience, all from Lowry and Amir Johnson, who havent been to the dance in five years. "Its tough just because guys havent been there before," Casey told TSN.ca. "Playoff runs are tough. Theres a mental toughness, a physical toughness you have to have. Fight through injuries, little nicks and bangs that we have. You cant feel sorry for yourself because its a marathon. Youve got to be able to do that. This is the first time for some of our guys so its a new frontier for them." Many of them are heading into unchartered waters. Its only natural to fixate on the final destination but theyve come too far to lose focus now. "I think its kind of human nature," said Landry Fields, who started eight playoff games for the Knicks in his first two NBA season. "We see the playoffs and theres a pretty high probability that well get in but at the end of the day you cant really focus on that. These last few games are important, not just for us growing and building and getting momentum for the playoffs but also seeding. Seeding is huge in the playoffs and I think as long as we keep that as a focal point rather than thinking these games are just filler games until we get into the playoffs than theyll become more meaningful for us." "Were going to finish it off strong," echoed DeMar DeRozan, who scored 20 on Wednesday and will be making his playoff debut next month. "Weve worked too hard to just to get complacent with where were at. Weve still got a long ways to go and everybody in this locker room loves the game too much to sit back and say, were going to wait until the playoffs." Big night for the sophomores Both Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas stepped up in Wednesdays win. Ross led Toronto with 24 points, hitting five of his nine attempts from three-point range, while Valanciunas registered his team-leading 20th double-double of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds. "I thought Jonas had one of his better nights, not only scoring but he rebounded," Casey said. "[Ross] kept us afloat. He knocked down some shots. We needed it." Struggling second unit The Raptors second unit - still without injured forward Patrick Patterson - mustered only seven points, all from Greivis Vasquez, who made just three of his 10 shots. Meanwhile, the Celtics bench scored 51, led by Jared Sullingers 26, 19 of which came in the fourth. "Again, point production from our bench has been an issue," Casey said. "Thats something we have to rectify. Thats just putting too many minutes on our starters." Toronto bench has now been outscored by a total of 129 points in 11 games without Patterson, who was cleared for contact earlier this week. Although theres no timetable for the return of Patterson - out with an elbow injury - the team hopes to have him back later this week. The stat The Raptors snapped an 11-game losing streak in Boston, the fourth time theyve snapped a skid of eight road losses or more against an opponent this season. Earlier this year, Toronto ended a 10-game slide to the Lakers in Los Angeles, also snapping a nine-game skid against the Nuggets in Denver and an eight-game losing streak versus the Bucks in Milwaukee. The quote "We cant worry about those other teams," Lowry said. "We control our own destiny. When you start worrying about other teams is when you lose focus and I think tonight we did a good job of focusing in on our team and not worrying about nothing else." 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Most notably, Arizonas Bill Bidwill, who saw his Cardinals go 10-6 and not get in, while Green Bay (8-7-1) qualified by winning the NFC North.Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - David West hit two free throws with 31.2 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Indiana Pacers to a 107-103 win over a Boston Celtics team that continued shuffling its roster on Friday. The Celtics played without leading scorer Jeff Green amid reports that the forward will be traded to Memphis in exchange for veteran Tayshaun Prince and a future first-round draft pick. Boston did deal Brandan Wright just prior to tip-off, sending the reserve center to Phoenix for a protected 2015 first- round choice. Despite their absences, the Celtics fought back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime on Avery Bradleys triple with 4.3 seconds to go in regulation. Roy Hibbert shook off a sprained ankle to lead the Pacers with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while C.J. Miles tallied 17 points off the bench and C.J. Watson finished with 15 along with eight boards. Bradley scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, but his efforts werent enough to prevent Bostons eighth loss in 10 games. Final Score: Philadelphia 90, Brooklyn 88 Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Nerlens Noels slam with 3.2 seconds left lifted the Philadelphia 76ers over the Brooklyn Nets, 90-88, on Friday night. Noel ended with 12 points for the Sixers, who ended the game on a 10-2 run. Robert Covington added 20 points, seven rebounds and six steals. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 16 points and three steals in his return to the lineup for Philadelphia, which had lost it previous five trips to the Barclays Center. Mbah a Moute missed the past two games with turf toe. Brook Lopez tallied 18 points, six rebounds and two blocks for the Nets, who have lost four in a row. Mason Plumlee donated 15 points and 15 boards, Jarrett Jack had 14 points and 10 assists and Joe Johnson contributed 13 points. Final Score: Atlanta 106, Detroit 103 Auburn Hills, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Al Horford collected 19 points and 16 rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks held off a furious rally to beat the Detroit Pistons 106-103 on Friday night in a game between two of the NBAs hottest teams. Sitting on a seven-game winning streak since releasing Josh Smith last month, the Pistons trailed by as much as 23 points but had a chance to tie the score at the buzzer after an out-of-bounds call went their way following a replay review. But Kentavious Caldwell-Popes off-balance 3- pointer from the right wing was short, ending the winning streak. Paul Millsap added 17 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks, who extended their winning streak to seven games, improving to 21-2 since late November. They have won eight in a row and 12 of their last 13 on the road. Caldwell-Pope fired up 23 shots, including 16 3-pointers, and led Detroit with 20 points. The Pistons set a franchise record by attempting 43 3-pointers, making just 13 of them. Caldwell-Pope missed all seven of his 3-point attempts over the first three quarters, then made four to lead a Pistons rally in the fourth. It came just three days after Detroit erased an 18-point deficit to beat San Antonio on Brandon Jennings last-second shot Tuesday. Final Score: New Orleans 106, Memphis 95 New Orleans, LA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jrue Holiday had 23 points and eight assists as the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 106-95 on Friday night. Tyreke Evans posted 21 points and 10 rebounds, Anthony Davis supplied 20 points, nine boards and three blocks and Ryan Anderson added 20 points and six rebounds for the Pelicans, who had dropped three of their last four games coming in. Mike Conley tallied 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Memphis, which has dropped three of its last four contests. Marc Gasol netted 19 points and Zach Randolph provided 11 points and 11 boards in his return from a nine-game absence Randolph had been out with a sore right knee and the Grizzlies went just 4-5 without him in the lineup. Final Score: Oklahoma City 99, Utah 94 Oklahoma City, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Durant scored 10 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter as the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied for a 99-94 victory over the Utah Jazz. Six of Durants total came during a pivotal 10-1 run that turned a six-point deficit into a 94-91 lead with two minutes remaining, helping the Thunder bounce back from consecutive lopsided road defeats to Golden State and Sacramento. Russell Westbrook came up big for Oklahoma City as well, racking up 25 points and 12 assists, while newly acquired Dion Waiters put up 15 points off the bench in his second game with the Thunder. Utah, fresh off a 20-point triumph at Eastern Conference power Chicago on Wednesday, received 27 points from Gordon Hayward and 22 from Derrick Favors. Trey Burke added 20 points in the loss, with Favors finishing with 11 rebounds. Final Score: Washington 102, Chicago 86 Washington, DC (SportsNetwork.com) - Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 13 rebounds in the Washington Wizards 102-86 victory over the Chicago Bullss on Friday night. [url=http://www.officialgreenbaypackerspro.com/Bart-starr-packers-jersey/]Bart Starr Super Bowl Jersey[/url]. Bradley Beal added 17 points for the Wizards, who have won three in a row. John Wall tallied 16 points and 12 assists, Nene contributed 15 points and 11 rebounds and Rasual Butler donated 13 points. Derrick Rose finished with 19 points for the Bulls, who have dropped two straight since a three-game winning streak. Aaron Brooks had 16 points and Pau Gasol added 12 points and 13 boards. Final Score: Milwaukee 98, Minnesota 84 Milwaukee, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Brandon Knight had 14 points and four assists as the Milwaukee Bucks cruised past the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-84 on Friday night. O.J. Mayo and John Henson each netted 12 points off the bench, while Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 10 points and seven rebounds apiece for the Bucks, who have won five of their last seven games. Andrew Wiggins posted 20 points, seven boards and five helpers to lead Minnesota, which has dropped 14 consecutive games. Final Score: San Antonio 100, Phoenix 95 San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Patty Mills scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter as the San Antonio Spurs got a late spark from their bench to beat the Phoenix Suns 100-95 on Friday night. Mills and the Spurs reserves scored 30 of the teams 41 points in the fourth quarter, leading them back from 10 points down over the final 12 minutes to cap what was a roller coaster game. Earlier, the Spurs led by 11 in the first quarter and by as much as 14 points in the second. The Suns used a big run spanning halftime to take a 12-point lead in the third quarter. Danny Green had 20 points to lead the Spurs and Tim Duncan scored 12, but only four after the first quarter. Cory Joseph added 11 off the bench, including nine in the fourth, and Tiago Splitter had a game-high 14 rebounds in the win. Eric Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker scored 19 points apiece to lead the Suns, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. It was only their third loss in the last 13 games. Goran Dragic added 17 points, Gerald Green scored 16 off the bench and Alex Len had 12 rebounds. The Suns acquired center Brandan Wright from Boston on Friday in exchange for a protected 2015 first-round draft pick. Wright appeared in just eight games for the Celtics after being acquired from Dallas in the Rajon Rondo deal last month. Final Score: Denver 118, Sacramento 108 Sacramento, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ty Lawson scored 14 of his 22 points during a dominant third quarter, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 118-108 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. Arron Afflalo added 22 points for the Nuggets, who have won four in a row. Jusuf Nurkic and J.J. Hickson each had 16 points, with Nurkic also pulling down eight boards and blocking three shots. Denver outscored Sacramento by a 36-15 margin in the third. DeMarcus Cousins ended with 32 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and three steals for the Kings, who got 22 points from Rudy Gay. Darren Collison contributed 15 points and seven assists. Final Score: Golden State 112, Cleveland 94 Oakland, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Stephen Curry had 23 points and 10 assists as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-94 on Friday night. Klay Thompson netted 24 points, while Draymond Green added 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors, who have won six straight games. Andrew Bogut posted four points, five boards and three assists in just under 20 minutes off the bench in his second game back from a knee injury. Kyrie Irving tallied 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, Kevin Love supplied 17 points and 14 boards and J.R. Smith scored a game-high 27 points for Cleveland, which has dropped seven of its last eight games. Six of those defeats have come without LeBron James, who was held out of the lineup for a seventh straight game due to knee soreness. Final Score: LA Lakers 101, Orlando 84 Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jeremy Lin scored 18 points and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic without Kobe Bryant, pulling away for a 101-84 win on Friday night. Rookie Tarik Black got 10 of his career-high 14 points in the fourth quarter, when Los Angeles out-scored Orlando 28-17 while stretching a six-point lead to as high as 19 down the stretch. The Lakers out-rebounded the Magic 60-36, with Carlos Boozer collecting 14 boards and 12 points and Ed David getting 10 and 10. Ryan Kelly added 13 points and Jordan Hill scored 11 with nine rebounds. Bryant rested for the second time in three games. He sat out Mondays loss to Portland, the second game of a back-to-back, then had a season-low four points on 2-of-12 shooting in a loss to the Clippers on Wednesday. The Lakers snapped their two-game losing streak without him, winning for the fourth time in their last 13 games. Victor Oladipo had 17 points and Tobias Harris scored 15 for the Magic, who have lost five in a row. Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 11 rebounds in the loss and Luke Ridnour scored 12. ' ' '

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