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08.10.2018 08:09
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DETROIT - Locked in an unexpectedly tight battle with the lowly Pistons, having coughed up an early 18-point lead, the Raptors went up by one with just over seven minutes remaining as conflicting chants broke out in the stands. Ramik Wilson Rams Jersey . "Lets go Pistons," cried the home crowd while a boisterous group of Toronto supporters chimed in with their own anthem of equal or greater volume. "Lets go Raptors," shouted a four-row contingent of fans, dressed in red, white and black, rooting for the Atlantic Division champions right behind the visiting teams bench. "Oh, man, I think we had more fans than them tonight," said DeMar DeRozan, who had scored all 12 of his teams fourth-quarter points at that time. "It was definitely cool to see that." With the clock winding down, the Raptors now up 10 and on their way to a monumental, albeit shaky victory, that section erupted in anticipation. They were not alone. Four fans stood on the opposite end of the court, proudly wearing their Raptors jerseys as they held up four sheets of paper spelling out "R-A-P-S". The Palace of Auburn Hills was filled with Raptors faithful who made the four-hour (or so) drive from Toronto, crossing the border to Michigan, where they were able to witness team history. "I didnt know where I was for a while," Casey said of the unexpected support after his teams 116-107 victory, Torontos 47th of the season, matching a franchise record. "When you win, people come out of the woodwork and they want to jump on the wagon and it was great that they came out with that enthusiasm. I thought it helped our guys." Nearing the end of their magical, out-of-nowhere campaign, the Raptors continue to enjoy the fruits of their labour. Two days after clinching their second ever division title, they tied the teams all-time win mark - previously set in 2000-01 and then again in 2006-07 - and have a chance to top it on Monday when they host the Bucks or in Wednesdays finale against New York. "We talked about it as a team," Casey said. "It wasnt our goal going into the year but its good for this group. Its something they should be proud of. They worked at it and its all their doing." "Why not break it?" "It definitely means a lot, man," said DeRozan, who scored 14 of his game-high 30 points in the final quarter Sunday. "When you look at it, if you really sit down and look at it, man, thats big. To be tied with the franchise record and have a chance to break it. We came a long way. A lot of people wouldnt have counted [on] us to be in this position that were in now. So its definitely a credit to our hard work, players and coaching staff." DeRozan cited the teams surprisingly successful Western Conference road trip in late January - with wins over Dallas and Oklahoma City - as a turning point in the season. Thats when he knew they could go on to do something special. "Once we saw that happen, we understood we could play with anybody," the all-star guard said. Their 47th win was not the most memorable, certainly not the easiest on the eyes but there was DeRozan, coming up big when his team needed him, once again. "He really carried us down the stretch," Casey said of DeRozan, who was masterful in the fourth, especially after Kyle Lowry fouled out on a pair of highly questionable calls midway through the quarter. "Hes been doing it all year, its why hes an all-star. He did a great job of managing the game, picking his spots, being aggressive. Losing Kyle hurt us a little bit but I thought thats when DeMar really took over." With just over six minutes remaining, Lowry was called for his fifth foul as he stood in, hoping to take a charge on the Pistons Peyton Siva as he barrelled into the lane. Twenty seconds later, the Raptors point guard picked up his sixth and final foul, although replays showed that he made little-to-no contact with Andre Drummond, who tripped over his own feet and went to the ground. After scoring 28 points in 33 minutes, Lowry was done for the afternoon. He had been brilliant and was as animated as you might expect as his teammates walked him to the bench, seeming to say, "we got this." "Everybody was frustrated with the calls when Kyle fouled out," DeRozan admitted. "We understood that we werent going to win by complaining or forcing to get calls. We had to go out there and take it and thats what we did." The Raptors had led by as many as 18 in the first half, 17 early in the third, before the Pistons went on to drop 37 points in quarter, making for another subdued post-game celebration. You wouldnt know if from their record - theyve won eight of 10 - but Caseys team has been moonwalking its way into the postseason, beginning next weekend. As we know, Torontos once stifling defence has slipped. For the 12th time in the last 20 contests they surrendered 100 (or more) points on Sunday, but the Raptors coach lamented over a more specific concern; toughness, or a lack thereof, magnified in their win over Detroit. "The thing that bothers me most is the rebounding, them kicking our butt in the paint, the physicality and [them] taking advantage of us that way," said Casey after the Pistons grabbed 21 offensive boards, most by any Raptors opponent this season. "Thats all weve been talking about and its something we have to correct or itll be a short stint in the playoffs." Practice time has been and will continue to be scarce in April, so Casey and his coaching staff are forced to utilize their final games to make necessary tweaks and adjustments going into the playoffs. "You have to," Casey said. "Thats whats tough this time of year, is finding that time where you can work on things and tweak things. Thats why these games are important to us." Electric start Thanks in large part to the Pistons generous defence and early foul trouble, Toronto got off to a quick start, scoring 42 points in the first frame, most of any quarter this season. The Raptors scored 16 points off Detroits eight turnovers, connecting on 14 of their 19 field goal attempts and 11 of 13 free throws, while holding the Pistons to 36 per cent shooting. Both Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe were relegated to the bench after picking up a couple fouls apiece. Without their star frontcourt, the Pistons had no answer for the brute strength of Jonas Valanciunas, who scored 10 in the opening period while Tony Mitchell picked up four fouls in six minutes trying to hold him off. Centre of attention Sundays matchup of emerging sophomore centres lived up to its billing. For the 10th consecutive game, Valanciunas scored in double figures, finishing with 18 points to go along with eight rebounds. On the other end, Drummond recorded his 56th double-double of the season - second to only Kevin Love for the NBA lead - with 14 points and 17 boards. Lift from the bench With Lowry exiting in the fourth, Greivis Vasquez was subbed in and immediately picked up where the starting point guard left off, scoring six of his 14 points in the final six minutes of the game. "I was concerned, not about his offence but more about defence because Kyle was doing a decent job on their guards," Casey said of Vasquez, who has led the Raptors bench in scoring in 10 of his last 14 games as a reserve. "Greivis came in and ran the offence, got us into sets." Earlier in the game it was another guard, Nando De Colo, that made an impact coming in off the bench. After a dreary start to the second quarter, De Colo sparked Toronto in nine quality minutes. "He picked us up," Casey stated, crediting De Colo. "He moved the ball, he attacked, he did a great job of increasing the tempo [and] gave Amir one of the best passes weve had all year running the floor. His court vision is uncanny and thats why I dont hesitate to get him in there to change the game." The stat In three meetings, the Raptors outscored Detroit by 28 (84-56) in the fourth quarter, sweeping the season series with the Pistons. The quote "Its timing, its grit, its anticipation and a lot of those things we didnt have," Casey said of the rebounding discrepancy. The Raptors were bested 55-40 on the glass. "They basically manhandled us in the paint and weve got to better than that." Brian Allen Rams Jersey . The Professional Referee Organization, which manages game officials for the U.S. Soccer Federation and MLS, notified the Professional Soccer Referee Association of the lockout and said replacement officials will be used. John Kelly Jersey .com) - The Miami Heat stopped a four-game losing streak last time out and thats the same length slide their opponents Wednesday night, the Denver Nuggets, will try to halt when the two teams meet at the Pepsi Center. http://www.footballramsshop.us/authentic-sam-shields-rams-jersey/ . Liriano pitched in and out of trouble in his duel with Josh Beckett, and Ike Davis homered to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 Friday night.Iraq has shrugged off the distraction of the Alaa Abdulzehra eligibility drama and been given the all clear for the Asian Cup semifinal on Monday against South Korea, which has its own concerns over the health of key playmaker Son Heung-min.The Bayer Leverkusen creative midfielder missed two group games with illness before returning for South Koreas extra-time quarterfinal win over Uzbekistan.The exertion of the two-hour game after his illness overwhelmed Son, who was carried from field on a stretcher after the final whistle.Whether he can return to his peak on just three days rest to face 2007 champion Iraq in Sydney will be crucial for a South Korea team which has already lost Lee Chung-yong and Koo Ja-Cheol to injuries.Its not an excuse but we are missing two or three big players, coach Uli Stielike said. No other team has had to show such mental strength and sacrifice as our boys.South Korea is yet to concede a goal in four games at the tournament, but even that impressive statistic has failed to impress an impatient supporter base which is demanding the team end the Asian Cup title drought that dates back to 1960.The pressure the national team is under in Korea has given us some mental problems, he said. Now with these injuries, theres even more pressure on us to reach the final.Iraq is on a high after surprisingly eliminating neighbour Iran in a thrilling quarterfinal, which saw Iran — with 10 men — twice equalize in extra time before Iraq won the penalty shootout 7-6.Talismanic striker and captain Younis Mahmoud scored against Iran, and his experience of guiding the lineup to the 2007 Asian Cup title will be vital to building self-belief.We have a young squad and he is our leader, coach Radhi Shenaishil said. Hes the type of player that opponents hate to play against.Iraq received some welcome news, ending days of uncertainty, when the Asian Football Confederation dismissed a protest from Iran about Iraq using Abdulzehra in the quarterfinal.The AFC disciplinary committee held an emergencyy meeting Sunday and gave Iran the opportunity to produce evidence to support its claim that Abdulzehra should have been disqualified for the quarterfinals last Friday due to an alleged doping infraction while he played for Tractor Sazi last year in in the Iranian domestic league. Los Angeles Rams Jerseys. The disciplinary committee heard oral evidence from two (Iran) officials, deliberated the matter based on its merits, and decided that the protest was unfounded, the AFC said in a statement. The protest was, therefore, dismissed.Abdulzehra denied he was subject to any doping sanctions, and Iraqi football federation chief Abdul Khaliq Masood said the midfielders position in the team shouldnt be in dispute.When (Iran) filed the objection we knew our position and the player position is correct, Masood said. Alaa Abdulzehra does not have any punishment from FIFA or the Asian federation. This allegation I think is not correct, because if he have any punishment they should (have) sent us a letter with his international card and mentioned that the player (was) being punished, and the reason for the punishment.Abdulzehra said the Iranians were looking for excuses for their quarterfinal loss.This case should not be raised. Since I started playing football I dont have any issue like this, I never drink anything illegal, and if I need to take any (medication) I always ask the team doctor, he said. The Iranian team should be better than that. If a team cant beat you on the pitch, it should not try to find other excuses.He said the Iranian protest hadnt interfered with Iraqs preparations for the semis.No, we have experience with pressure for long time, but to be honest this issue didnt engage us, he said. The team is concentrating well. The Korean team is different from the Iranian team in the speed, organization, and they have top players, but our ambition is to win this match and repeat what we achieved in 2007 and qualify to the final.___AP Sports Writer John Pye contributed from Melbourne, Australia. 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