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jokergreen Dec 7 '17
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. Matt Kalil Jersey . 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." Sam Mills Jersey . And once again, Team Homan emerged as the victor with the reigning national champions defeating Team Sweeting at the Pintys All-Star Curling Skins Game Friday night in the tournaments opening draw at The Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre in beautiful Banff National Park. Ryan Kalil Jersey . Its great to be back for another season in Banditland, and Im looking forward to another competitive season with my teammates, said Tavares.MILWAUKEE -- Lance Lynn brought the Brewers fast start to a halt. Mixing a fastball that topped 95 mph with his effective slider, the St. Louis Cardinals right-hander struck out 11 and allowed three hits over seven innings in a 4-0 victory Monday night to snap Milwaukees nine-game winning streak. Lynn (3-0) frustrated the Brewers all night. He left Carlos Gomez twisting in the batters box on swings and misses. He made Jonathan Lucroy, a .357 hitter, whiff badly on a fastball low in the zone in the second and froze Scooter Gennett on a heater outside. "Location. He was making good pitches early on and it looked like he had a little more life," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. Jhonny Peralta hit a solo shot in the second off Brewers starter Matt Garza, and Jon Jay had a three-run homer to the right field corner in the sixth. Reliever Carlos Martinez tossed two scoreless innings to finish off the surprising Brewers, who still have the majors best record at 10-3. Manager Ron Roenicke said he didnt think Garza (0-2) had his best stuff, yet Garza kept pace with Lynn until running into trouble in the sixth. Allen Craig reached on a fielders choice with two outs and Peralta singled to set up Jays homer off a hanging breaking ball. Until then, the Brewers seemed as though they were close to getting out of the jam after throwing out a runner at home and retiring a runner trying to advance to third for the second out. "I felt we had momentum after we had the tag at home ... and then (Jays homer) was a backbreaker," Garza said. "But were fine. Well come back and well start a new (streak) tomorrow." Lynn cooled off a Brewers team that was off to its best start since opening the 1987 season with 13 straight wins. Milwaukees best hope to score came in the fifth after No. 8 hitter Logan Schafer doubled to right with two outs to put runners at second and third. But that brought Garza, a career .094 hitter, to the plate and he struck out on three pitches. Ottherwise, the Brewers didnt get another runner past second. Carolina Panthers Jerseys. . Lynn boasted a career 2.53 ERA in 10 games against the Brewers coming in, and his mastery of Milwaukee continued. "He throws the nice breaking ball and he usually keeps the ball down well," Roenicke said. "Every time Ive seen the guy, hes tough." With Lynn in control, about the only other drama provided by the Cardinals was when leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter was ejected in the fifth after apparently saying something to umpire Bob Davidson following a called third strike. "Matt didnt like what he saw; the umpire didnt like Matts opinion of what he saw. He said something to Matt, Matt returned something -- there was no foul language -- but the umpire had heard enough," Matheny said. "We were barking the majority of the game. "Hopefully theres no follow-up on that. Checking out the pitch, it wasnt a pitch he should be swinging at. Thats frustrating. You cant take emotions out of this game." Garza allowed nine hits and four runs while striking out six in seven innings. Rookie reliever Wei-Chung Wang, a Rule 5 pick, pitched a scoreless ninth in his big league debut. NOTES: Cardinals C Yadier Molina got a day off after catching the first 12 games of the season. ... Injured 2B Mark Ellis played his first game on a rehab assignment Sunday at Triple-A Memphis. Ellis, who is on the 15-day DL for left knee tendinitis, played five innings and went 1 for 3 with a run. He was scheduled to play Monday, though Memphis game may have been affected by weather. "He didnt have any issues and felt good afterward, which was the main thing," Matheny said. "Hes on the right track to joining us here soon." ... Wang, 21, of Taiwan, also saw snow for the first time and got his first major league paycheque Monday. Flurries fell before the game outside Miller Park, which has a retractable roof. ... St. Louis RHP Shelby Miller (0-2) faces Milwaukees Marco Estrada (1-0) on Tuesday. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '