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 Post subject: national last year, is also in contention after a 65. The J
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:30 pm 
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TORONTO - Although no one cared to admit it, on either side, at the outset of the evening, Mondays divisional grudge match in Brooklyn meant more to the Raptors than the game that preceded it or the one to follow. The stakes were higher, the competition more fierce and the atmosphere was that of a playoff game - something the young, upstart Raptors have five weeks to better prepare themselves for or the result will be eerily similar. If they looked out of place in that environment, its probably because they were. Torontos starting five features a fifth-year star that has yet to make a playoff appearance. Theyre the only team currently in a playoff position that starts two sophomores and its been five years since either their point guard or power forward has experienced postseason basketball. Combined that lineup accounts for 24 games of postseason experience. Staring them down in the final minute of a one-possession, high stakes game was a Nets unit that has collectively participated in 268 playoff contests. Paul Pierce alone is responsible for 136 of them while Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko - both out with injuries - would have added another 176. The Nets took a five-point advantage into the fourth quarter and, for all their hardships this season, they had only lost one of 30 games in which they held the lead after 36 minutes. Thats the difference experience makes. The Raptors, despite a valiant effort, showed up to a knife fight armed with plastic forks. "This team here in Brooklyn is a championship-caliber team," Dwane Casey said following his teams 101-97 loss. "They know the plays to make to win games. Weve still got to learn that. Were on our way but we still have some learning to do." Although the Raptors remain the NBAs best fourth-quarter team, outscoring opponents by 158 points in the final frame this season, their late-game execution continues to be a work in progress. When ahead or behind by five points or less in the final three minutes, Toronto shoots 37 per cent, the ninth-lowest mark in the league. Theyre 15-18 in games that come down to that scenario. On Monday, Pierce hit what may have been the biggest shot of the night - a cold-blooded three to break a tie with just over a minute left and the shot clock ticking down - while the Raptors wilted in the moment. Down one, 30 seconds later, Toronto got the stop it needed, leading to a five-on-four break the other way. In the midst of a brilliant second half, Kyle Lowry found DeMar DeRozan in transition, believing he would continue to go hard to the bucket. Met by Pierce in the lane, DeRozan lateraled back to Lowry, who wasnt expecting the pass and turned down the shot. John Salmons, receiving the ball from Lowry, also hesitated on an open look from the elbow, which ultimately led to Terrence Ross fumbling the ball as he looked to salvage the broken play. It was a possession mired in indecision and it sealed Torontos fate. The Nets - 10-for-14 from three-point range after the first quarter - hit big shots and made winning plays. They looked like the desperate team, and rightfully so. Had they won, the Raptors would be sitting pretty in the Atlantic Division, five games up on Brooklyn with the season-series tiebreaker in hand. Instead, Brooklyn has pulled within three games of the division lead. "[The atmosphere] was definitely a notch higher because of what was at stake," DeRozan admitted after the game. "Theyre chasing us and were leading in the division. It was just a big game overall. Theyve been playing well, trying to make a playoff push and were trying to sustain our position so it definitely was a big game." While the loss stings, the Raptors are still in the drivers seat, controlling their own destiny with 20 games to go. "It was a disappointing loss in the fact that theyre a team thats battling us for the division," Casey said. "Theres still a lot of basketball left to play. Weve got to stay positive. Its not the end of the world. We werent going to go undefeated the rest of the way. We knew that." Should Toronto and Brooklyn share the same record atop the Atlantic when its all said and done, with the season series now even, the tiebreaker would go to the team with the most wins within the division. The Raptors are currently 8-3 with five games left to be played against Atlantic opponents while the Nets are 7-5 with four remaining. Each of those games could be crucial - including two meetings with New York in the final week of the season - for the Raptors who are hoping to win their second division title in franchise history. Sink or swim, that will be determined by what theyre able to take out of Mondays squandered opportunity. "Its a learning experience," DeRozan said. "It was a heck of a game that we can learn from and possibly could be a team we could see in the playoffs." Sony Michel Womens Jersey .C. -- Eric Staal kept his focus after his apparent breakaway goal was waived off early in the third period. Ryan Izzo Womens Jersey . The win puts the final playoff berth in Group A in question. If the Czechs beat Slovakia on Tuesday, they will go through. If they lose, Germany will get the last quarter-final berth. http://www.cheappatriotsjerseysauthenti ... ns-jersey/. Chan captured two silver medals at last months Sochi Winter Games — mens singles and the inaugural team event. But he doesnt have the urge to resume training to defend his world title when the event is held in Saitama, Japan, later this month. Cheap Patriots Jerseys . Masahiro Tanaka has touched down in the United States and the courting of the Rakuten Golden Eagles stud pitcher has begun in earnest by a bevy of MLB teams interested in the Japanese ace. JaWhaun Bentley Womens Jersey . -- DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points, nine rebounds and six steals to lead the Sacramento Kings to their third straight preseason win, a 107-90 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Thursday night.JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Edoardo Molinari was in a four-way tie for the first-round lead at the European Tours Joburg Open with his 7-under-par 64 on Thursday. The Italian, chasing a British Open place as well as his first title in four years, was joined by Scottish pair Alastair Forsyth and Craig Lee and South African Justin Walters. A 2010 Ryder Cup winner, Molinari opened with three straight birdies at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and collected eight in all on the par-71 West Course. "The front nine was probably as good as Ive played in a long time," he said. Lee had maybe the most impressive start with his 7-under 65 on the tougher par-72 East Course, with eight birdies and just one bogey on No. 17. "Its really hard to figure out where you are in the field with two golf courses, and with the East being slightly tougher I feel like Im in a good position," Lee said. Forsyth and Walters both carded 64s on the West, with Forsyth not dropping a shot all day. They led by one shot. Players play one round on the East and West courses before finishing on the East over the weekend. The tournament is also a qualifying event for the British Open in JJuly and offers places to the three highest-placed finishers in the top 10 not already exempt.dddddddddddd None of the top 10 on Thursday have qualified for the Open. Johannesburg defending champion Richard Sterne opened with a 5-under 67 on the East, but couldnt fully capitalize on an eagle three on his first hole, as he sat in a tie for 13th. Sterne has qualified for the British Open, as has former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who managed a 69 on the East. Molinari has battled through fitness problems since his 2010 Ryder Cup debut and hasnt won since that year, but looked solid with five birdies and a single dropped shot on his opening nine. He made another three birdies coming in. Chasing the leading pack are eight players on 6 under, including South Africas Hennie Otto, who tied for second in the season-opening South African Open in November. South Koreas Jin Jeong, who won his maiden tour title at the Perth International last year, is also in contention after a 65. The Joburg Open is the sixth tournament out of 10 on the early European Tour schedule to be played in South Africa. There will be a seventh next weekend with the Africa Open. 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