capped a high-scoring first period by brea from miao1234's blog

TORONTO - As Amir Johnson took a seat, having just picked up his sixth foul towards the end of Thursdays first overtime period, Patrick Patterson fouling out minutes earlier, Dwane Casey and his coaching staff mulled over their next move. Jose Altuve Astros Jersey . Huddling up, Casey consulted with his assistants for over 30 seconds before looking to the far side of his bench and reluctantly calling for Jonas Valanciunas. The Raptors starting centre had been a spectator since late in the third quarter, amounting to roughly an hour of real time spent on the bench since he was last on the floor. As his coach feared, Valanciunas was more than a little rusty, playing 25 seconds in the first OT frame and the bulk of the second until Casey opted to go with Tyler Hansbrough to close the game in the third and final period of extra time. "It really wasnt fair to Jonas," Casey said in hindsight, following his teams marathon 134-129 loss to Washington. "It wasnt his fault." Upon reentering, Toronto immediately ran a pick-and-roll for Valanciunas, however the pass from Greivis Vasquez - who was trapped on the right elbow - was mistimed and ultimately deflected before it reached Valanciunas in the middle of the key, the turnover charged to Vasquez. A few minutes later, Valanciunas received the ball on the left block and with the clock winding down he flipped up a quick shot that was swatted by Marcin Gortat, his first of two field goal attempts in the period, both blocked by Gortat. With just over one minute remaining in double OT, the game tied at 116, Valanciunas negated a Vasquez runner, needlessly tipping in the shot that was already on its way down, above the cylinder. The look of frustration on the sophomores face said it all. This was not his night. The Raptors were outscored by 14 points in the 29 minutes that Valanciunas was on the floor. "I feel really sad," Valanciunas lamented, with his head down after the game. "I feel really bad right now. I could do a much better job than what I did." Valanciunas lost more than his rhythm, sitting as long as he did in the second half of Thursdays ball game. His confidence appeared to be at an all-time low. The second-year centre has had a rough couple of weeks, averaging 7.1 points and 7.6 rebounds, shooting 45 per cent in 24 minutes per in his last eight games. Over the previous eight contests, he put up averages of 15.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, shot 58 per cent from the field and logged just over 29 minutes a night. Perhaps fatigue has played a factor - he eclipsed his minute total from his rookie season last week - but the most noticeable variation in his approach hinders on an immeasurable concept that he has downplayed in the past. Swagger. Valanciunas is a different animal when he plays with that edge, anger and fire, when he gets outside of his head, stops over-thinking the game and just plays basketball. Too often you can almost see his thought process on the court, his movements are robotic as he aims to avoid disaster, fearful of making a mistake that will draw the ire of his head coach. However, hes at his best when he plays freely and Casey knows it. "The key is patience, not getting down on yourself, have fun," Casey said after morning shoot-around on Thursday. "I mean youre playing basketball. Theres no pressure on JV to produce. The pressure is on DeMar (DeRozan) and Kyle (Lowry) and Amir, the older guys." Given the unreasonably high preseason expectations its easy to overlook the fact that Valanciunas is still only 21-year-old, playing in his first full season after missing a sizeable chunk of his rookie campaign due to injury. Hes had an eventful year, participating in Summer League for the Raptors and competing with Lithuania in the FIBA qualifying tournament during the offseason. Hes still learning the NBA game, getting fully accustomed to his surroundings and most importantly finding his way as a player. None of that is lost of Casey, who refuses to put the cart before the horse when it comes to the development of his young centre. "I told him to stay with it," Casey said after Valanciunas logged just 17 minutes in Tuesdays win over Cleveland. "Right now hes pressing so much. [I] just told him to relax [and] play basketball." On account of their unexpected success this season the Raptors ultimate objective has been altered slightly. Although theyre now looking ahead to the playoffs and hoping to make some noise come April, their primary goal has not changed. Casey is still focused on developing his young players, namely Valanciunas and fellow sophomore Terrence Ross. "The hardest thing to do is to develop and win at the same time," Casey said. "Luckily weve got some wins and these guys are developing at the same time. Its the hardest thing to do because a lot of times theyre in there when they really dont deserve to, not as much lately but in the first part of the year." However, Casey wont coddle either sophomore with unconditional playing time. Valanciunas, like Ross, has had the opportunity to play and learn through his mistakes but the criteria for remaining on the floor long enough to do so has been made clear since the get go. "Offensively right now, hes not making his post moves, but thats going to come," Casey said. "Get some sweat shots, get some tip-ins, go to the offensive boards, screen. Do some of the sweat jobs and that will help him get his rhythm in the post." The process is gradual and, as Casey reminds us, its not going to happen overnight. Valanciunas possesses the ability, the desire and the work ethic to be a top tier NBA centre but its not going to happen in the middle of his second season. It takes time and no one in the Raptors organization will rush him. For now, Valanciunas is a matchup play. His minutes will continue to be sporadic as Casey leans on quicker, more experienced and versatile defenders in Johnson and Patterson some nights, depending on the opponent and whichever version of Valanciunas comes to play. Through it all, he cant lose focus and most importantly he cant lose his confidence. Hes got to keep his head up - on and off the floor - continue to work and learn whether hes in the game or on the bench. The Raptors are exercising patience with their young big man but he needs to be patient with himself. Lance McCullers Astros Jersey .J. - A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Monday night that New York Giants centre Chris Snee and punter Steve Weatherford restructured their contracts. Carlos Gomez Astros Jersey . But they misjudged the strength of Marcell Ozunas arm. Ozuna threw out Kirk Nieuwenhuis at the plate to end the game to help the Miami Marlins beat the Mets 3-2 on Friday night.The opener of the highly-anticipated Western Conference quarterfinal series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks did not disappoint, On Saturday afternoon, the clubs will try for an encore performance at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. Two overtime periods werent enough to decide Game 1 at the Scottrade Center, but Alexander Steen finally ended it for the Blues with his game-winning goal just 26 seconds into triple overtime. The thrilling victory gave St. Louis a 1-0 edge in the best-of-seven series and the club will try to make it a two- game cushion before the series shifts to Chicago for Games 3 and 4. The Blues trailed by a goal late in regulation, but Jaden Schwartz tallied the equalizer with 1:45 left in the third to force an extra session. After a pair of entertaining overtimes, Steen ended the longest game in Blues history when he scored from point-blank range off a nice set up from Steve Ott to give St. Louis a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven set. "We know stuff is going to happen," Steen said. "We might get down, might be up in the series, and we just stick with it and keep playing." Steen is coming off the best regular season of his NHL career, posting career bests in goals (33) and points (62) over 68 games. The 30-year-old notched his fifth career postseason goal with Thursdays winner. Adam Cracknell and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored for the Blues, who were able to shrug off a late-season funk to win their first game of the 2014 playoffs. St. Louis dropped its final six regular-season games to fall into second place in the Central Division heading into the postseason. "I think the players really put a lot into this because they didnt want this season to just kind of wilt away," St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock said, referring to his teams struggles down the stretch in the regular season. "Theyre going to put up a fight here." Former SSabres goaltender Ryan Miller saw his Blues playoff debut get off to a rocky start before settling into the game. George Springer Astros Jersey. Miller, who was acquired from Buffalo at the trade deadline, allowed three goals on seven shots in the first period but turned aside the final 35 shots he faced to help St. Louis hang on for the victory. St. Louis won despite playing without forwards Patrik Berglund and T.J. Oshie, but both players were able to participate in an optional skate on Friday. Oshie is considered questionable for Game 2, while Berglund expects to miss Saturdays test. Brent Seabrook notched a goal and an assist, while Johnny Oduya and Patrick Kane potted a goal apiece for the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, who received 48 saves from Corey Crawford. Early on, Kane, who missed the final 12 games of the regular season with a lower-body injury, capped a high-scoring first period by breaking a 2-2 deadlock when he converted a breakaway off a slick stretch pass from Jonathan Toews with just 1:36 left in the period. The reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner Kane beat Miller with a wicked wrister from the slot, but it was the last time the puck found the back of the St. Louis cage. "I know we had a couple power plays where we could have maybe scored and made it 4-2 which would have been nice," Kane said of his team failing to score after the first period. "It definitely would have been nice to get another one and give us a little insurance." The Blackhawks won their second Cup in four years last spring and are no stranger to mounting postseason comebacks. Chicago trailed Boston 2-1 in the Cup Finals a year ago before winning three straight to take the series and also overcame a 3-1 deficit to eliminate Detroit in the 2013 Western Conference semifinals. Game 3 of this series is scheduled for Monday in Chicago and the fourth test is set for Wednesday. Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Cheap JerseysCheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys China Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '
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By miao1234
Added May 12 '16

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