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22 октября 2015 г. 09:49

Im pretty sure wed be very near the top if not on the top

TORONTO - With his teammates primed to go their separate ways after Wednesdays game, many of them playing like it in the first half, DeMar DeRozan took one final opportunity to validate his upcoming trip to New Orleans. Cheap NHL Jerseys . For the better part of the opening 24 minutes, the Raptors played like a team that was ready to start its long weekend one day early by succumbing to a popular pre All-Star break pitfall; the letdown game. "I think both teams were on vacation before the game started," Dwane Casey said of his teams flat start, hitting just one of 12 field goals at the outset of a crucial meeting with the Hawks and trailing by eight early, until DeRozan sparked the Raptors slumbering offence. Were the Raptors looking ahead to some much needed time off? "I wouldnt say that necessarily, we probably thought they (were)" replied DeRozan, who scored 14 of his game-high 31 points in the first seven minutes of the third quarter, spearheading a lopsided second half and leading Toronto to a 104-83 win over Atlanta. "We picked it up," he continued. "We understood they were going to come out play hard because we are neck-and-neck in the race in the conference. We understood how much this game meant." The Raptors overtook Atlanta for third place in the Eastern Conference standings last month and the Hawks have been knocking on the door ever since. With the victory, Toronto handed the Hawks - who now hold the fifth seed - their fifth straight loss and padded their own cushion over fourth-place Chicago going into this weekends All-Star festivities. At 28-24, the Raptors sit atop their division at the break for the second time in franchise history and first since they won the Atlantic in the 2006-07 season. "It means a lot to be where were at right now," DeRozan said, "but it really dont mean nothing unless we keep it up. Weve got to keep it growing, we cant be comfortable with it because teams in our division (are) definitely still coming." Leading by one at intermission, the Raptors outscored the struggling Hawks 59-39 in the second half, holding them to 30 per cent shooting and forcing eight turnovers while committing just one themselves. DeRozan made seven of his 10 field goal attempts, and all four of his free throws, in the half. Most importantly the Raptors executed their game plan defensively, rotating and closing out hard, limiting one of the better three-point shooting teams in the league to four treys on 20 attempts from beyond the arch. "We had to make sure we were there and the way the game started I (didnt) think we got the memo before the game," Casey said. "We continued to grind it, stuck with the game plan, guys stuck together and grinded it out." It wasnt their most ascetically pleasing victory but its one that fell right into the Raptors wheelhouse, one that played into the identity and personality Casey has urged his team to carry into the seasons unofficial second half. "Like I told our guys," he said, "the second half is going to be a grind. Its not going to be pretty (but) we dont want it to be pretty. Its going to be hard and everybody has to be committed in the locker room." The break comes at a perfect time for the Raptors. Although they go into it with confidence having won two straight, both at home - overall theyve won 10 of 12 at the Air Canada Centre - many of them could use the rest and relaxation time. For the second straight game Amir Johnson was a spectator - fashioning a personalized Raptors jersey on the back of his vest as he watched from the bench - still nursing a sore right ankle. Hell have over 10 days of rest before the team reconvenes in Washington for Tuesdays game against the Wizards. For the rest of the team this five-day layoff is an opportunity to heal various aches and pains that accumulate over a long season and refocus heading into the stretch run. "Me personally I need the rest," said Kyle Lowry, who had another double-double - 16 points and 13 assists - on Wednesday. "I know everybody needs the rest. You get to mentally relax and physically relax also and its always important to take care of your body at this time (of year). You rarely get a five-day stretch in the season so (we have to) take advantage of it." Wholesale NFL Jerseys . Scolari attended the official FIFA news conference in Sao Paulo on Wednesday and did not travel to be with his family in southern Brazil, where 48-year-old Tarcisio Joao Schneider died in a car accident on Tuesday. Cheap Jerseys . -- The Memphis Grizzlies signed Vince Carter on Saturday, looking to bolster their outside shooting with an eight-time All-Star who spent last season as a Dallas Mavericks reserve.TORONTO -- Its Week 12 in Major League Soccer and Toronto FC is 4-4-0. The Philadelphia Union, FC Dallas and Houston Dynamo have played 13 games while New York and Seattle have had 12. Toronto and the Los Angeles Galaxy, with nine games, are the only clubs in the 19-team league not to have played at least 10 matches so far. "Its very frustrating because were in a false position," said Toronto captain Steven Caldwell. "A very big if in the MLS, but if we win all our games in hand, were on top of the league. "Were not denying weve had a little bit of an up-and-down start but weve shown glimpses of real quality and weve had games weve let ourselves down. If we had played similar games to the rest of the teams, Im pretty sure wed be very near the top if not on the top. So its slightly disappointing but well get our chance to address that when we play more games than other teams. Weve just got to be ready for that. "Weve had injuries and were losing Michael (Bradley to the World Cup) for a longish period. It might be a blessing in disguise." With 12 points, Toronto is currently seventh in the East -- two points and two places out of the playoff picture. But its rate of 1.5 points a game is good for third in the conference (and fifth in the leaguee). Cheap NHL Jerseys China. Torontos weather is part of the reason for the lack of early games. Toronto had a bye the opening weekend, for example. The Amway Canadian Championship also has not helped the calendar, taking up four midweek games. And television, no doubt, played its part in scheduling with more games saved for later on, when hockey is over. Including Friday nights game in Kansas City, Toronto has three more league games before MLS takes a two-week break in mid-June during the World Cup. When play resumes, Toronto has 23 league games remaining. In contrast, Philadelphia will have 18. For Toronto manager Ryan Nelsen, the schedule has pluses and minuses. Injured players have had a chance to heal. But a team that brought in a half-dozen starters during the off-season needs time to mesh on the field. "This team needs more games than anyone other team, to tell you the truth," said Nelsen. "Just because thats how you get to know each other. And a lot of players werent there in pre-season -- they were injured or hadnt arrived or different kind of stories. "So we kind of started our pre-season in away during the season. So we started a few steps back. The more games, the better for these guys. ... Thats what were looking forward to." NFL Jerseys Cheap China Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Jerseys NFL Cheap ' ' '

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