atop of the Pacific Division with 108 points, one point ahea

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atop of the Pacific Division with 108 points, one point ahea

Postby vive123654 » Jul 23rd, '15, 06:15

TORONTO - Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas is not going to sneak up on anybody in his second NBA season. Hes no longer the Raptors ace in the hole. Hes a known commodity and the league has been paying attention. If youve waited this long to hop on the bandwagon, you may be too late. Its already nearing capacity. Valanciunas, a member of last seasons All-Rookie Second Team, was recently voted the international player most likely to have a breakout campaign in NBA.coms annual GM survey. Expectations are sky-high for the sophomore, and for good reason. Sometimes its easy to forget hes only 21 years old. "Hes still learning," head coach Dwane Casey said of the Lithuanian following the teams second-to-last practice before Wednesdays season opener. "His is a growing process. Hes not there [yet], he wasnt there last year [and] hes still growing this year." Caseys reminder is an important one. For all he accomplished in his first season as a 20-year-old learning the NBA game and mastering a new language, for all the work he put in and the strength he put on during a busy summer, he still has work to do. With the rest of the league - including several elite Eastern Conference centres - zeroing in on him, the learning curve wont get easier. The hope, for Casey and the Raptors, is that hes better prepared for whats to come now that he has a full year under his belt. "Its my second year and its easier because its kind of the same thing as last year," a more comfortable and noticeably more confident Valanciunas said Monday. "[Its the] same coach [and] same defence so Im familiar with the schemes." "I just think his confidence is up," said teammate Landry Fields, whos also going into his second year with the Raptors. "Hes playing a lot more comfortably out there and the chemistry he has with the first group is that much better as well." As a rookie, Valanciunas averaged 8.9 points and 6.0 rebounds in 62 games, including 57 starts. In a season loaded with the peaks and valleys expected from any young big man - specifically on the defensive end - he finished strong, scoring in double figures in 17 of the final 19 contests while showing positive growth as a defender when paired with Amir Johnson. After earning MVP honours at the Las Vegas Summer League and helping guide Lithuania to a second-place finish in FIBAs Eurobasket tournament, Valanciunas has been asked to focus on his continued growth as the anchor of Caseys defence in training camp. Part of that process began in the offseason when he put on approximately 10 pounds in added muscle and is now predicated on his wherewithal to use it the right way. In addition to improved balance, to avoid some of the "silly fouls" he picked up last season, Casey and the coaching staff have worked with Valanciunas on his vertical jump. The goal, Casey says, is for Valanciunas to defend the paint and contest shots in the lane by going straight up, without reaching in or coming down with his hands. "The officials have to know hes going straight up every time, thats his game," the Raptors coach said, stressing the importance of consistency in Valanciunas approach. "If you get that reputation [then] you dont get the cheap fouls so hes got to earn that reputation of verticality." "Were working every day," Valanciunas said of the technique. [It] still needs work but were working and I hope [Im] going to be good [at] that." "Thats the challenge he has," Casey continued, "is doing it every night." Internally, the Raptors know theyll need to remain patient with the young centre regardless of the second-year expectations they have - and the rest of the league has - for him. "The game is so fast for a young player that youve got to process [the little things] probably in about a three- or four-second period of time," Casey pointed out. "Hes still learning that." "Theres days, theres possessions [where] hes great at it and theres possessions that he has no clue what hit him. Every young player goes through it, hes going through it and hes [still] a work in progress." No ones expecting the adjustment hell need to make in year two to be easy, it wasnt in year one, but Valanciunas has made believers out of the Raptors organization with his dedication and unrelenting work ethic. "I like his approach," Casey said, praising his young centre. "I like his attitude. He doesnt give up [and] he continues to work at it but its something he has to learn and something he has to go through." It wont happen overnight but Casey and the Raptors are expecting big things from Valanciunas. As the start of his second season approaches, the league watches with anticipation. How good will he be and how long will it take for him to get there? jerseys cheap nfl . He will report to minor league spring training with Toronto next month. Scoma, 26, finished third in the American Association last season with a . wholesale nfl jerseys . Santos had five birdies going out and four birdies coming in for a flawless opening round at East London Golf Club. In a four-way tie for second were Denmarks Lucas Bjerregaard, Wales Rhys Davies, South Africas Garth Mulroy and Englands Richard Bland, who all shot 64s. . -- Even with a two-shot lead going into the final round of a tournament he had won five times, Tiger Woods expected a fight to finish from Zach Johnson. nfl jerseys china .com) - It was a perfect, yet ironic, ending to the FCS regular season Saturday. jerseys from china . -- Two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana agreed Tuesday to a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles as he tries to come back from the second major operation on his left shoulder.ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Nashville Predators took advantage of their breaks and preserved their slim playoff chances. Mike Fisher had two goals and an assist, Colin Wilson also scored twice and the Predators beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 Friday night. Patric Hornqvist also scored and had two assists and Matt Cullen added two assists as Nashville snapped a six-game losing streak to the Ducks. "We got some good bounces around the net and that was key for us," Hornqvist said. "Its been a bumpy road for us but were not out of it yet. We have to fight to the end." Nashville, 10th in the Western Conference, trails eighth-place Phoenix by seven points with five games to play. Hornqvist has 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in his last 10 games. Pekka Rinne stopped 27 shots for the Predators, who led 4-1 after the first period. Rinne tied former Predators goalie Tomas Vokoun for most franchise wins with 161. "It feels great to tie Tomas for most wins; hes had a very successful career," Rinne said. "Ive had up and downs this season but its good to see the crew get the win. Were going to battle to the end." Kyle Palmieri and Daniel Winnik scored for Anaheim. Wilson jammed the puck past Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller for his ninth goal of the season at 5:36 of the first to give the Predators a 1-0 lead. Wilson added his second of the game and 10th of the season when he took advantage of an Anaheim miscue in front of the Ducks net and his backhander made it 2-0 with 7:19 left in the period. "Its good to snap our losing streak against them," Wilson said. "We knew they are never out of a game. Were not out of the playoffs yet. Were looking forward to going into the Shark Tank tomorrow and it will be fun against San Jose." Just 1:11 later, Fisher scooped up a loose puck behind the Ducks net and wrapped it around into an open net past Hiller to make it 3-0. It was Fishers 19th goal of the season. Palmieri got Anaheim on the board with his 13th of the season when he beat Rinne with a wrist shot with 5:00 to go in the first. Hornqvist scored his 18th goal as he drilled it past Hiller 2:05 later to increase Nashvilles lead to 4-1. Hiller, who was playing for the first time in three games, was immediately replaced by rookie Frederik Andersenn following Hornqvsts goal.dddddddddddd Andersen left the game after the second period after suffering an upper body injury. Hiller returned to the net for the third period. The Ducks cut the lead to 4-2 following Winniks fifth goal at 3:18 of the second, but Fisher got his second goal of the game with 4:00 left in the period. "They (Anaheim) are something like plus-36 in the second period, so I was concerned going into the second period," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "Our fifth goal was huge for us. After that, I didnt feel any pressure in the third period." The Ducks, who outshot the Predators 24-16 in the first two periods, had two goals nullified late in the second. "We played a solid defensive game," Trotz said. "We got a couple early goals on Hiller and that helped us. Theres no quit in these guys. They are very professional about their jobs and weve been playing sharper lately." Despite the loss, Anaheim remains atop of the Pacific Division with 108 points, one point ahead of the second-place San Jose with both teams having four games remaining. The Ducks, who completed its three-game homestand on Friday, also trail the Western Conference-leading St. Louis Blues by three points for the overall points lead. Anaheim coach bruce Boudreau said his team has to start playing harder earlier in the game. "We cant let this happen," he said. "We have to find a way. Sometimes, for one reason or another, were not getting the job done early. Were a really good team with the lead, but we just havent had the lead lately. We just didnt answer the bell tonight." Nashville, playing for the first time in five days, climbed out of last place in the Central Division, moving past Winnipeg. The Predators prevented the Ducks from tying a franchise record of 28 home wins and 110 points in a season. NOTES: Friday was the first time the Ducks hosted Nashville since Feb 16, 2013. ... Trotz is the only coach in the Predators 15-year history and is the longest tenured coach in the NHL (1,190 games) and has the second-longest tenure in all four major sports behind the San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich. ... The Predators are the only team in the league not to give up a short-handed goal this season but have also scored the fewest short-handed goals (2) in the league. cheap jerseys wholesale jerseys wholesale jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys Soni Mustivar Jersey ' ' '
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Re: atop of the Pacific Division with 108 points, one point

Postby valereskas » Sep 10th, '18, 13:07
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