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23.05.2019 05:25
what were about. The white-ou Zitat · Antworten

TORONTO -- Jonas Valanciunas was five years old when Kevin Garnett earned his first of 15 NBA all-star selections. He was 11 when Garnett was named the league MVP. Valanciunas -- now 21 -- went toe to toe with the 37-year-old Garnett in Torontos loss to the Brooklyn Nets in Game 1 of their playoff series last Saturday. And if there was any sense of awe in the name on the back of the Brooklyn jersey he was guarding, the young Valanciunas didnt show it, laying down a monster game in his post-season debut. "He was not intimidated, he wasnt fazed by the physicality or guarding a legend like KG. Youre talking about a guy who is going to be in the Hall of Fame," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey. "I told our guys, Youve got to respect them because those guys have accomplished a lot in this league. But you cant fear them. KG would think less of him, knowing him, if it was anything less. Respect him, but you cant fear him. (Valanciunas) did that." The Raptors host Game 2 of the series on Tuesday, then it shifts to Brooklyn for Game 3 on Friday and Game 4 on Sunday. Valanciunas had 17 points and 18 rebounds in the opener of the seven-game series, while holding Garnett to five points. While many of the Raptors appeared overwhelmed by the enormity of their first playoff appearance in six seasons -- for some players, it was their first playoff appearance, period -- Valanciunas looked especially fired up from the opening tipoff. When asked Monday about guarding Garnett, Valanciunas merely shrugged. "Hes the same Garnett in regular season, so Im playing him the same way. Just maybe adding 10 per cent more effort," Valanciunas said, laughing. On Garnetts infamous trash talking: "I dont understand English. So Im OK." More laughter. On whether Garnett was a player he looked up to growing up in Utena, Lithuania: "His last name is really famous, so I heard about him when I was a kid." Respect, but no fear. What helped Valanciunas keep the nerves at bay, Casey believes, is thats hes accustomed to playing in front of noisy, passionate crowds. "Thats one thing with the Euroleague, hes played in some big games over there for his country," Casey said. "He was not fazed by the crowd, by the moment, by it being the playoffs. I thought he did a good job of fighting the physicality, getting inside, rebounding, using his length against KG and (Nets centre Mason) Plumlee." As the Raptors season continues, so does Valanciunass development. His rebounds Saturday were a Raptors post-season record. His double-double was only the second by a Raptor in their playoff debut (Tracy McGrady recorded the other in 2000). He scored a career-high 26 points earlier this month, less than three days after he was charged with drunk driving. "Its a positive. Him growing over the last month or so has really been a positive for our season," Casey said. "Hes our future. Hes our starting centre for a while to come so its great to see. Plus, hes a great kid. He works at it." Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez, meanwhile, grew up watching the Nets other NBA legend Paul Pierce. He even attended Pierces basketball camp when he was a kid. The 36-year-old Pierce was huge down the stretch in Game 1, scoring nine of his 15 points in the final three minutes. Asked if there was one thing he learned from Pierces camp, Vasquez replied, with a wide grin: "I did. How to be clutch." Vasquez played like he was similarly unfazed by the big names on the opposing team. Vasquez, one of four Raptors acquired in December in the trade that sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento, scored 18 points off the bench and doled out eight assists. "You know what, to me, its fun," Vasquez said. "Im an underdog guy, so Ive got to prove myself every day. I wake up with 220,000 pounds on my shoulder, so Ive got to be able to find a way to walk and get to my job. "Its fun when you face Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, KG. I mean, I grew up watching those guys, especially Paul Pierce. Now I got a chance to beat em? To me, I cant ask for anything better than that. Its fun. Its a basketball game, man, at the end of the day weve all got two hands. We all can shoot. Weve got one of the best point guards, too (in Kyle Lowry). Ill take our chances, man." For the players who did look affected by the nerves in Game 1 -- all-star DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross, to name two -- Casey and his players believe Game 2 will be an entirely different story. "Were disappointed but were anxious to get a second chance at it. I think the second time around well get the first game jitters away, out of us," Casey said. Game 2 could be a repeat of Game 1 when it comes to officiating. The Raptors werent on the favourable end of any calls in the fourth quarter on Saturday. They sounded resigned to the fact after Mondays practice. "Weve accepted that all year long as far as not getting recognition or getting respect or even getting calls we think we should get," said Raptors forward Patrick Patterson. "Thats happened all year long, so for us to think its going to change in the playoffs, were fooling ourselves. We have to go out there and not worry about the referees, not worry about the calls and just play basketball." The Raptors are hoping for a repeat performance by the Air Canada Centre crowd. A sellout crowd of 19,800 took in Game 1, clad in white T-shirts and waving white towels, thanks to a pre-game giveaway. Hundreds more fans watched the game on the big screen in Maple Leaf Square outside the arena. "Unbelievable. Unbelievable," Casey marvelled. "We were in Dallas for the (NBA) championship ... but this arena Saturday was unbelievable. I was proud of our fans. They showed the NBA what were about. The white-out, it was unbelievable. The enthusiasm. They not only cheered when we were up, they cheered when we were behind. It was constant. It was like a soccer crowd. "Our players appreciated it. We appreciate it now weve got to go out and reciprocate with our effort." Saturdays game was also a ratings hit for TSN. Overnight data from BBM Canada indicated an average audience of 539,000 viewers watched Game 1. It was the most-watched Raptors game on English television in Canada since 2002, the network said in a release. Billy Price Bengals Jersey . Ilonen birdied five of his closing seven holes in superb scoring conditions to end the day with a two-shot lead on the Fota Island course. Ilonen had just 26 putts on the occasion of his 300th European Tour event. Sam Hubbard Bengals Jersey . -- Shanshan Feng was alone in her opinion about the pin positions in the Kraft Nabisco Championship. http://www.nflbengalsgearofficial.com/ma...fferson-jersey/. HABS HEADED TO CONFERENCE FINAL The Montreal Canadiens scored early in Game Seven, built a lead and protected it well on their way to a 3-1 series-clinching win over the Boston Bruins. While this game or series isnt necessarily a referendum on the value of fourth lines, the Canadiens certainly benefitted from production lower down their forward depth chart. Preston Brown Bengals Jersey . The midfielder had an operation on Saturday, and is set to miss seven Premier League games, the third round of the FA Cup and the semifinals of the League Cup. Cordy Glenn Bengals Jersey .J. Fair didnt have many chances to be the main option for Syracuse last season.CORK, Ireland -- Graeme McDowell birdied four of his closing eight holes to join two-time runner-up Robert Rock in the lead early on day two of the Irish Open on Friday. Both players shot 5-under-par 66 to move to 8 under for the tournament in superb scoring conditions at the Fota Island course. McDowell, looking to win the Irish Open for the first time, birdied three holes in succession from his 11th, and birdied his 15th. It was his lowest 36-hole tally on European Tour in 15 months, since he was 11 under en route to a tie for third in last years Cadillac Championship at Doral. "My game still requires some work but I feel like as I play my way into the summer, I feel my golf swing, my short game, and my putting is starting to get stronger," he said. "So I am a feel player and Im a guy that needs to spend time on the golf course with a card in his pocket to see where hes at. "And coming offf last weeks U.dddddddddddd.S. Open, pressure and expectations are not as high this week, and I feel very comfortable." Rock was also feeling at home. Five years ago in Baltray, Rock lost to then-rookie Shane Lowry in a playoff. Rocks only consolation was Lowrys amateur status meant he had to forfeit the 500,000 euros first prize cheque. A year ago, Rock was joint runner-up in Dublin to fellow Englishman Paul Casey. "It is more to do with the time of year (for me), as I played well at the start of the year but then struggled, and your confidence takes a bit of a bashing. But then you work hard and I seem to start to play well again and it all turns around," he said. Italys Marco Crespi (67) and Englands Matthew Nixon (65) shared third place in the clubhouse on 7 under. Overnight leader Mikko Ilonen of Finland, who set a course record with his opening 64, teed off in the afternoon. 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