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TORONTO - When the Raptors first set out on their daunting six-game, two-week journey - broken up by the short holiday break in

in Herzlich willkommen! 04.12.2017 06:06
von jokergreen0220 | 1.628 Beiträge | 9768 Punkte

TORONTO - When the Raptors first set out on their daunting six-game, two-week journey - broken up by the short holiday break in between - a record of 2-4 may have seemed like a passable, perhaps even optimistic final result. Frank Ntilikina Jersey . At worst, that looked to be where their recent road trip was headed. They hung with a talented Bulls team until the closing minutes in Chicago before heading out West. They upset the Clippers in L.A. and battled altitude on the second night of a back-to-back, coming up victorious in Denver. They wrapped up a historic calendar year in Portland, dropping a hard-fought overtime contest to the red-hot Trail Blazers. Then the elements got the best of them, undoubtedly leaving a sour taste in their mouths as they made their long-awaited and much needed return to Toronto on Monday. The Raptors opened 2015 with a pair of uncharacteristically lifeless outings in Oakland and Phoenix, surrendering 251 total points in suffering their most lopsided defeats of the season. Battling the expected fatigue that tends to take over at the end of a long trip, with Kyle Lowry running on fumes, carrying the weight of the injured DeMar DeRozan, Toronto ran into two opponents that anyone would hate to face with heavy legs in the Warriors and Suns. They simply ran out of gas. These West Coast excursions have long been a cause of frustration for the franchise ,but these two blowouts still seemed odd, an unfamiliar sight to behold during a campaign in which theyve competed with remarkable consistency. It was the first time all year they had been thoroughly outplayed, not just once but twice in two games and, for that reason theyve earned the benefit of the doubt, at least for now. Billed as their biggest test of the season to this point, and it was, this trip was supposed to help expose the teams true personality. But it didnt. The same questions remain. Are their impressive offensive numbers a mirage and can they defend enough to hang with the leagues elite clubs? Is their 24-10 record a product of what many have called a soft early-season schedule or are they still trending upwards? What are they really made of? Much of this uncertainty can be attributed to the absence of DeRozan, who has missed over five weeks worth of games with a torn tendon in his groin, but is expected to be back in uniform when the Raptors return to the court at home to the Hornets on Thursday. Toronto has gone 11-7 without its leading scorer - 10-1 against sub-.500 competition, but just 1-6 versus winning teams over that stretch. The Raptors have lost three games by 10 points or more this season - all of them without DeRozan, with two coming on this trip. Theyve squandered three games in which they held a lead going into the fourth quarter - twice on the trip, all without DeRozan. This is not to say, with any certainty, that he is the sole cause of, or the easy solution to these problems. Even with DeRozan, the Raptors had their share of difficulty against elite competition last season (they were 16-25 against winning clubs), prone to late-game offensive droughts similar to the ones that spelled recent disaster in losses to the Bulls and Blazers. If nothing else, getting DeRozan back should help decipher whether or not these are big-picture concerns. More than anything else, their most pressing concern remains on the defensive end. Only the lowly Knicks and Timberwolves are giving up more points per 100 possessions than the Raptors since the end of November - when DeRozan missed his first contest - aided by their second-ranked offence. They allowed a 40-point first quarter (at Golden State), a 43-point second quarter (at Phoenix) and a 49-point fourth quarter (at Chicago) in three separate games on the recent trip. That will be Dwane Caseys emphasis when they hit the practice gym at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday and DeRozans impending return should help restore some normalcy on that end - they were ranked ninth in defensive efficiency prior to his injury. Although DeRozan is considered an average on the ball defender, at best, his familiarity with and commitment to Caseys schemes have been missed. Beyond that, his return shifts everyone back to their natural roles, taking pressure off of Lowry - one of their more capable stoppers - and reducing the defensive responsibilities of Lou Williams and Greivis Vasquez on the perimeter. Plus, his knack for getting to the line (they attempted nearly seven fewer free throws per game in his absence) helps reset the defence. His return, and the teams homecoming, couldnt be coming at a better time. The Raptors will have three days - including two full practice sessions - to regroup before hosting the Hornets and, likely, welcoming DeRozan back just under six weeks after he sustained his injury. Theyll take on four losing teams at home (with a combined record of 36-95) before facing another tough test in the now first-place Atlanta Hawks and a much improved New Orleans Hornets team to round out a six-game home stand. Bernard King Jersey . JOHNS, N. Tracy McGrady Jersey . The third-ranked Lewis, a three-time winner this year on the LPGA Tour, had a 9-under 135 total at Emirates Golf Course in the Ladies European Tours season-ending tournament. .ca. The NHL Play of the Year showdown kicks off with some slick moves going head-to-head with a combination of soft hands and endless patience.Team Canadas roster announcement on Tuesday generated plenty of discussion, but deciding who should wear the C brings even more debate. The two likeliest players to be named captain of Canadas Olympic mens hockey team for Sochi appear to be Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby. Toews resume is quite extensive: two-time Stanley Cup winning captain of the Chicago Blackhawks, three All-Star appearances, Conn Smythe trophy winner, Selke award winner, and member of the Triple Gold Club (Olympic gold, World Championship gold and Stanley Cup winner). He has won five gold medals for Team Canada in six international appearances, with the exception bringing a silver medal. Do these credentials warrant him the right to be named captain for Sochi? Or should it be the man responsible for the "Golden Goal", arguably the greatest Team Canada moment in international play since Paul Hendersons 1972 Summit Series winner? Crosby, named the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins in his third NHL season at age 19, has built quite an illustrious trophy case himself since his debut in 2005. Willis Reed Jersey. The four-time NHL All-Star has an Art Ross Trophy, a Hart Trophy, a pair of Lester B. Pearson/Ted Lindsay Awards, and a Rocket Richard trophy to go along with a Stanley Cup title. Crosbys international resume shows slightly less volume than Toews, with two gold medals and a silver in five international appearances. But both players are unquestionably winners and leaders at both the NHL and international levels. How much should their international careers play into the decision? For all of the attention on Crosby and Toews, there are three other NHL captains who have spots on the Team Canada roster. Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks), John Tavares (New York Islanders) and Shea Weber (Nashville Predators) all wear the C in the NHL. Has their time come for a bigger international honour? Who do you want to see lead Team Canada? As always, its Your! Call. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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