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文章發表於 : 週三 7月 31, 2019 2:05 pm 
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LOS ANGELES - With sluggish starts costing his team two of their last three games, Dwane Casey has considered making a change to the lineup ahead of Friday nights contest against the Clippers. The Raptors have been outscored 88-66 in the opening quarter over a three-game span to begin the month of February. Their most recent loss, 109-101 in Sacramento on Wednesday, was eerily similar to Saturdays defeat at the hands of the Trail Blazers. After digging themselves an early hole on both nights, the Raptors were unable to close out late-game comeback bids, forcing Casey to question his first units disposition. "Every team has their cross to bear and ours is starting games," he said after practice Thursday afternoon. "Whether weve got to change the lineup to start the game or whatever, I dont know we have to see." "Thats been our problem and it just didnt start [in Sacramento Wednesday], its been going on for a while. Weve been able to dig out of it but you cant get hit like that and expect to bounce back that way every game, it just takes too much of a toll on your body." In many ways the Raptors have been defeating themselves. Over that three-game stretch they held opponents to 43 per cent shooting in the first quarter, an impressive mark, but the hustle stats tell a different story. Toronto was out-rebounded in the opening 12 minutes of each game and put both Portland and Sacramento on the line 12 times. "We addressed it, we talked about it," Casey said, citing his teams focus, toughness and attention to detail. If Casey does opt to shake up his starting lineup in Los Angles, even temporarily, the most likely casualty would be slumping California-native Amir Johnson. Johnson has been hampered by a sore right ankle after turning it late in last weeks win over Orlando. He has logged fewer than 20 minutes in just six games this season, yet three of those have come in the last four contests. The forward has been Torontos most reliable and valuable player over the last three years but its clear he hasnt been himself, even before his most recent injury. After averaging 13.8 points and 8.3 rebounds on 63 per cent shooting in December, Johnsons production dropped last month, scoring 9.5 points and grabbing 6.0 rebounds a night. His 47 per cent field goal shooting in January was his lowest in a full month since March of 2011. As a team the Raptors surrendered 11 points more than they scored with Johnson on the floor in the month. Johnson, who routinely tops the team in the plus/minus stat, was the only Raptor (minimum 50 minutes) that was a net-minus in January, per NBA.com/stats. Mired in a similar slump, and with the team struggling late in November, Johnson was pulled from the starting lineup in favour of Tyler Hansbrough (Johnson told the Toronto Sun that he had requested a move to the bench). Johnson would go on to play his best basketball of the season over the following nine games, averaging 18.0 points and 9.6 rebounds on 68 per cent shooting, and getting his starting job back after three games when Hansbrough went down with an ankle injury. Poised to make a run at the playoffs, the Raptors need Johnson, a nine-year veteran, healthy and focused late in the season. Another temporary demotion could be in the best interest of both the Raptors and their best defensive player. Although Hansbrough could be a candidate to replace him should a change be made, without disrupting the chemistry of the second unit, he has fallen out of Caseys regular rotation since returning from injury. Patrick Patterson would seem to be the most logical choice. Often the first player of Torontos bench, Patterson has been consistently effective since coming over in the trade from Sacramento in December. The forward has scored in double figures in 12 of his last 20 games, averaging 11.1 points and 5.5 rebounds, shooting 52 per cent from the field and connecting on 17 of his 35 attempts from three-point range over that stretch. The Raptors have outscored opponents by 132 points when hes been on the floor during that span. Matt Martin Jersey . In the Brewers six games this season, no starter has allowed more than three runs. "We see the guy in front of us do a great job and we want to do even better," Gallardo said after the Brewers beat the Red Sox 4-0 on Sunday, his second straight scoreless start. Adam Pelech Jersey .com) - They didnt meet in the regular season, so Sam Houston State might be saying it won the de facto title game between the two Southland Conference co-champions Saturday. http://www.islanderssale.com/authentic- ... rsey/.Then came December.Three straight losses, including a crushing 27-24 defeat to Washington (4-11) on Saturday, has the Eagles (9-6) on the brink of playoff elimination. Mathew Barzal Islanders Jersey . Hes just beginning to get similar results. The right-hander struggled after winning the honour in 2008 and 2009, but a retooling of his game has begun to pay off and has the San Francisco Giants thinking about the Lincecum of old. Tom Kuhnhackl Islanders Jersey . -- The Oakland Raiders added a veteran presence to their young receiving group by signing free agent James Jones to a three-year contract Monday.FIVE QUICK HOOPS THOUGHTS 1. LEBRON JAMES (Heat): Totally agree with his stance to take a little family vacation and get away from the noise and reflect on what his next step should be in his career. Also allows Heat president Pat Riley to assess his roster and the prospects for improving his club. Im sure the two will have another in-depth conversation when he returns to set the stage for the next Decision. As we all know, too often were so busy that we dont take enough time to truly size up where were at in our lives and careers and get swept up in the busy nature of our daily existence. James has lots to think about. Five Finals appearances with the Cavs and Heat and two NBA titles. Not a bad run so far. The next step will be a huge one to say the least. 2. SAM MITCHELL (TWolves): Hired as an assistant coach by his longtime coach when he played there, Flip Saunders. Great move by Saunders. Love this hire for their team. Sam will have his back and do a terrific job for him. Sidney Lowe is another top notch hire for Saunders. Flip is a terrific coach, yet isnt the most domineering personality and needs strong assistants to "put out fires" on occasion. Mitchell and Lowe are excellent and both have head coaching experience, which really helps. Obviously, mixed emotions on my part - had a lot of fun working with Sam the past few years at TSN and in the years he was the Raptors head coach. Will miss him yet Im thrilled for him - hes an outstanding coach and leader and Im happy for his sake that hes back where he wants to be - on the sidelines. 3. KAWHI LEONARD (Spurs): MVP of the NBA Finals getting lots of attention in the past few days and deservedly so. Hess got an outstanding future ahead of him and by all accounts is a big time worker who is very coachable.dddddddddddd Those are wonderful traits to have. No surprise coming from a Spur. They do a really nice job sizing up guys and their character. Hes in the right environment to grow considerably as a player in the years to come. Moments like these usually cause a player to take that next step and give them a true sense of what they can accomplish. Sometimes as a coach, you see it in them and they dont. I think he realizes now what he can/cant do and will develop further. Id sure love to have his future. 4. LIONEL HOLLINS: Only the Cavs and Lakers still have head coaching openings and well see if hes lucky enough to get one of them. If not, there are rumours that folks would like him to serve as an assistant coach. Im sure this is a tough time for him after doing such a great job in Memphis to still not be able to land a head coaching job. Very humbling business for such a proud man to deal with this. Hell get through it. I have no doubt that somewhere down the road a very smart GM will give him another chance that he both deserves and will thrive in. 5. NBA DRAFT and FREE AGENCY: I laugh so much this time of year with all of the lies and misinformation that both agents and teams put out there to steer folks in the wrong direction. Id love for someone to track what ends up being fact and fiction in the next 15-17 days. I assure you most of what we hear and read ends up being planted nonsense and other times its some media members thoughts and opinions that end up taking on a life of its own and becoming fact until it ends up being pure speculation. Fun time of year. ' ' '


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