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TOPIC: it squeaked through, Smith-Pelly

it squeaked through, Smith-Pelly 1 month 1 week ago #154609

  • lebaobei123
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TORONTO - Moments after the Raptors storybook regular season came to an end, losing a meaningless game to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden Wednesday, Kyle Lowry addressed his teammates in the visitors dressing room. Turning the page, the focus immediately shifted to the challenge that lay ahead of them, their most arduous test yet and one many of them have only dreamt of, heard about or watched on television. With the battle-tested Brooklyn Nets looming - their first playoff game set to tip-off early Saturday afternoon - the Raptors are leaning on their veterans, on Lowry, his experience and leadership. What did he say to rally his troops ahead of the crucial preparation stage that precedes a postseason series? "Thats for me and my guys to know," he said, chatty as ever. "Kyle came in here, hes been in the playoffs, and told us it starts [Thursday]," DeMar DeRozan clarified, offering a little more insight. "[Thursday] morning, as soon as we come to work its going to start there - studying, understanding what they run, their tendencies." As youve probably heard by now, the Raptors are a young, inexperienced team. Theyve heard about too, its the narrative that drives this series. Lowry and Amir Johnson account for all 24 games of playoff experience in the Raptors starting lineup. Neither have been to the dance in five years, neither have ever started a postseason game. Meanwhile the Nets starters have played in 399 postseason games. They have six players who have logged more than twice as many playoff minutes as any Raptor. Theyll be reminded of it over and over again for two weeks and then, should they advance to round two, itll be revisited once again. They cant run from it, not until they prove its a non-factor, but give them credit for the effort. "I mean, it aint like its rocket science or nothing," said DeRozan, asked about making his playoff debut on Saturday. "Everybody keeps talking to me like, bringing it up like its rocket science or Ive got to know trigonometry or something. You just figure it out. You just go out there. Ive been playing this game long enough, Ive been in the league long enough, been in a lot of situations. So it shouldnt be hard." He has a point. Playoff basketball is still basketball, after all. The game is the same; its the stage that changes. The stakes that are higher and the room for error is narrowed. Some adjust to it better than others. "Everythings at stake so youve just got to be ready for everything," the all-star guard acknowledged. "I think Ive watched enough playoff basketball to see how physical it is and to see how things go. Even superstar players dont get calls out there. So Im conscious of it. Im not naive of anything. Now Im in a position to go through it myself." That heightened, more physically punishing brand of basketball has burned Raptors stars of the past. Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh all shot below 40 per cent in their first playoff series, with Carter barely breaking the 30 per cent barrier and scoring six points fewer than his average that season. "Its a different level," said Dwane Casey, who will be making his playoff debut as a head coach after winning a title as an assistant in Dallas. "Its a different level in intensity, more physicality, less fouls called. Youve got to play through it and thats one thing that theyll learn. The only way you can do that, though, is to go through it." "I dont want to overhype it to scare our guys. Its still basketball but guys will see the difference, theyll feel that as soon as they walk on the court." Along with DeRozan, sophomores Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross, as well as fourth-year forward Patrick Patterson are among the teams rotation players who have yet to experience playoff basketball. How big of a role does experience play in the postseason? Given the staggering discrepancy between the two teams, this series could solve that query as much or more than any other in recent memory. Theres no telling how Torontos players might react to the adjustments theyll have to make, both in terms of their mental approach and on-court toughness, but they wont have the luxury of a grace period, not against the team theyre up against. The Raptors cant afford to ease their way in, hosting games one and two at the Air Canada Centre - where they won 22 of their final 29 contests - before the series shifts to Brooklyns Barclays Center, a building the Nets have dominated in since Jan. 1. The most promising quality the Raptors players displayed following Thursday afternoons practice was fearlessness. Theyre not the least bit shaken by the Nets, their experience or the theory that they may have been at the top of Brooklyns postseason wish list. "I mean, were all in the same league, man," DeRozan said. "Honestly, thats how I look at it, man. Credit to them, they did what they did but we play against guys who are experienced all season, honestly." As DeRozan has pointed out, their young legs may also be beneficial against an older, slower club. Although they rank towards the bottom of the league in fast break points - just marginally ahead of the Nets - the Raptors have been able to get out and run against Brooklyn this season. However, the spaced out schedule - with their first four games spanning nine days - at least appears to favour the veteran Nets, who will get a chance to recharge their batteries following each contest, a concern Patterson expressed on Thursday. Torontos true advantage my lie in their size and strength up front, if they choose to utilize it. The Nets turned around their once disastrous season in part by featuring their small lineup, with two point guards in the backcourt and Paul Pierce at the four spot. Although closing out on Brooklyns shooters and defending Pierce on the perimeter presents a challenge in and of itself, they were ranked second to last in rebounding and the Raptors bested them on the boards by 19 this year. Kevin Garnett, who played in just two of the four meetings this season, is nearing his NBA swan song but is still a difference maker defensively and on the glass when hes on the court. The Raptors could force the issue by attacking the paint, putting pressure of Garnett and the Nets frontcourt, void of a true shot blocking presence. "We know who the match-ups are," Casey said. "Weve just got to take it and dissect it and take advantage of the things we have an advantage in, which is our speed, athleticism and our energy. Weve got to keep a fast tempo in the game." Leonte Carroo Jersey .com) - James Harden put the Houston Rockets on his back and willed them to an overtime victory on Thursday. Reshad Jones Jersey . 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Mueller is the grandson of the late Ron Lancaster, the Hall-of-Fame quarterback and longtime head coach in the CFL. Last season, Mueller was quarterbacks coach of the University of Regina Rams, his alma mater.(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Blues will try to push their winning streak to three straight games on Thursday night as they play host to the Anaheim Ducks. The Blues are coming off a 4-3 road win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, with Vladimir Tarasenko capping off his first career hat trick with a power-play goal in overtime. After the Stars Tyler Seguin was called for high-sticking just 14 seconds into the extra frame, Tarasenko one-timed a Kevin Shattenkirk pass at the right circle that beat Kari Lehtonen to the short side. Tarasenkos first two tallies on the night were both game-tying goals in a back-and-forth contest. Jori Lehtera posted a goal and two assists. Brian Elliott turned away 25 shots for the Blues, who have won two in a row for the first time this season. It was a wild game, said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. It was the best and worst for both teams. One of the worst parts for St. Louis was captain David Backes leaving the game after taking a hit from Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley late in the first period. The forward hit his head on the ice and did not return to the game. Backes did not practice on Wednesday, but he has not been ruled out for Thursdays game. While the Blues are looking to get on a roll, the Ducks have been red-hot sincce the start of the season.dddddddddddd They won for the eighth time in their first 10 games, blanking Chicago 1-0 on Tuesday. John Gibson made 38 saves to record his second career shutout, while Devante Smith-Pelly scored the games only goal short-handed with 8:28 left in regulation. After several close calls on Gibson during a Chicago power play, Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook stumbled as he tried to corral a pass at the blue line. An alert forechecking Smith-Pelly swooped in alone up the middle and beat Chicago goaltender Scott Darling with a backhander between the pads. I know hes a big goalie, so I wanted to get him moving side to side and it squeaked through, Smith-Pelly said. The Ducks won the opener of a four-game swing, bouncing back after having a seven-game winning streak halted with a 4-1 loss to San Jose on Sunday. Anaheim has won three of its past four in St. Louis and beat the Blues for the fourth straight time overall with a 3-0 home win on Oct. 19. Frederik Andersen made 28 saves in his first career shutout, Sami Vatanen scored a pair of power-play goals and Matt Beleskey set the tone with a goal 1:37 into the game. Elliott allowed three goals on 25 shots faced in the Blues ninth loss in their past 12 versus the Ducks. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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