But the draw of Toronto in the US pales in co

in Off-Topic 20.03.2019 01:39
von lebaobei123 • 300 Beiträge

MEMPHIS - Rudy Gay has played 244 games in Memphiss FedExForum, perhaps none as vindicating as this one. Coming off the worst shooting night of his career - one of the worst in league history - in a devastating loss on Monday, the Raptors forward bounced back at an opportune time for both himself and his team. For the first time since the three-team trade that sent Gay from the Grizzlies, the only NBA team he had ever known, to Toronto last winter, the 27-year-old returned to Memphis on Wednesday and left with a convincing victory that the Raptors sorely needed. "I dont think it was for me as much as we needed it anyway," Gay said, deflecting attention off himself moments after he scored 23 points on 8-of-18 shooting in Torontos 103-87 upset win over the reigning Western Conference finalists in Memphis. "For me personally, it was a little emotional, but other than that, especially coming off the Houston loss, we needed this game." After shooting an abysmal 11-for-37 from the field in the double-overtime loss to the Rockets, Gay eased into his return. He began the game with a concerted effort to get his teammates involved, but when he failed to convert on any of his first four field goal attempts, the look on faces around the arena spoke louder than words. Here we go again, everyone thought. But then Gay did what he does best. He kept shooting. This time he got into a rhythm and when hes locked in, as Grizzlies fans remember, he becomes an exceptionally dangerous scorer. "After last game, I just wanted to get my teammates involved first, move the ball around, get the offence moving and I picked my spots where I wanted to be aggressive," he said. "I missed shots," he acknowledged of the slow start. "Ive missed shots before, last game I missed a lot of shots, so its nothing. Im one of those guys that, if I go out there and miss two, Im going to make sure I make the third." He missed fou,r but then he made the next one and then the shot after that. In fact, he hit four straight, three of them from beyond the arc and just like that, the Raptors were firing on all cylinders. They led by as many as 15 in the first half, 11 at the break. The Raptors offence that looked so terrible in Houston followed Gays lead, as you would imagine. As he looked to distribute, so did DeMar DeRozan. Both players had four assists and Kyle Lowry added six in his best game of the season. As a team, Toronto had 11 assists in 24 minutes, one more than they accumulated in 58 minutes two nights prior. "Its a lot easier because we drew so much attention," said DeRozan, who had 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting. It was the first of nine games this season where both he and Gay were effective at the same time. "One of us has to sacrifice. If we draw two or three guys, we have to kick it to the next man and hell create for the next player. Thats how we have to play. Once we play like that consistently, its definitely going to be hard to guard us." The start of the third quarter brought on another here we go again moment. The Grizzlies, as good teams do, made their run led by the explosive Mike Conley, who scored 12 of his game-high 29 points in the period. With 15 minutes left to play, the home team had tied it up at 70. We have seen this narrative before and we know how it plays out, generally. Perhaps the Raptors have learned something from heartbreaking collapses of the past. Perhaps it was an outlier. But they refused to back down from the Grizzlies, a quality and always-intimidating opponent. They ended the third quarter strong and, by the time the fourth rolled along, the game belonged to Gay. It was his night regardless of whether or not his humility would allow him to accept it. "Thats where you find that extra motivation," DeRozan said, mindful of what this game represented for his teammate. "Every game you look for it somewhere, somehow and tonight we played a lot for him. We knew how much he wanted to come back here and win." The reception Gay received as he was introduced to the fans before tip-off was primarily a positive one, but by the time the game was out of reach for the home team, they certainly made him feel like an opponent. As Gay drilled a 19-footer midway through the fourth, giving his team their largest lead of the evening at 19, boos rained down from the stands. "Thats when I realized I dont play here anymore," he joked. What does this game mean in the larger scheme of things? No one knows. The Raptors, at least for now, hope to be a winning team and to do that theyll need to steal games like this. Sure, you can excuse them for cowering to superior teams - Miami, Indiana, Houston - but at some point you need to win one youre not supposed to. They did that on Wednesday and theyll need to do more of it to reach their ultimate goal. "It was a great night for our team," said Lowry, who finished with 21 points. "The effort we showed tonight is how we should play every night." Getting to the line The Raptors set the tone early in the game, aggressively attacking the rim and earning the benefit of the doubt from the officials the rest of the night. "This is a very physical team and we had to be the aggressor," said Lowry, another former Grizzly. "Their physicality can take anybody out of the game, so our goal tonight was to be really aggressive and try to get to the basket and get to the free throw line as much as we could." Toronto outscored the Grizzlies 33-11 at the line, outshooting them 39-17 from the stripe. Quiet, consistent production from Ross Last season, very little of what rookie Terrence Ross did was quiet. He would exchange several ineffective minutes on the floor - on both ends - for one highlight-calibre dunk that would almost mask the inconsistency that held him back as a player. For the second straight game, Ross has been quietly useful. Hes been efficient offensively, shooting three-of-five, where he may be starting to understand that sometimes less is more and, most importantly, hes been a standout on defence. "Hes very poised out there," Dwane Casey said of Ross, who contributed eight points in 20 minutes off the bench. "Hes growing as a player and thats what this year is about for him." Up next After playing six of their first nine games on the road to begin the season, the Raptors happily return home for six of their next seven. Theyll host the Chicago Bulls at the Air Canada Centre Friday evening, a game you can catch live on TSN 1050 Radio beginning at 7:00 pm et. Buy Air Jordan Australia . Eller said the Oilers were a "junior team" that was "all over the place" before Edmontons 4-3 victory over Montreal on Tuesday night, Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins took offence to Ellers comments and used it to motivate his youthful team. Buy Jordan Shoes Online Australia . He scored two highlight-reel goals in a three-minute span -- the second on a sideways bicycle kick in the 78th minute -- to give the Whitecaps a 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers before a crowd of 20,303 at B. http://www.wholesaleaustraliaairjordan.com/.ca look back at each of the Top 10 stories of 2013. Today, we look back at LeBron James and the Miami Heat winning their second straight NBA championship. Air Jordan Shoes Australia . Plata blasted a rising shot to the upper left corner for his team-leading seventh goal of the season. He got the kick after referee Allen Chapman ruled Chris Tierney fouled John Stertzer in the penalty area. Cheap Jordan Shoes Free Shipping . -- Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera has a broken bone below his right eye after being struck by a bad-hop grounder, sidelining the star slugger for at least a week with opening day on deck.Toronto and Major League Soccer are still a buzz. Toronto FC unveiled prized acquisitions forward Jermain Defoe and US Mens National team midfielder Michael Bradley Monday in front of hundreds of supporters, the whos who of MLSE and a throng of media usually reserved for Toronto Maple Leafs duty. Monday was a big deal. Weve done the song and dance to a lesser scale with this team before, but the track played this time was from another album altogether: a compilation likely produced by Drake. It sounded really good. The new, positive direction of Toronto FC doesnt cast aside hard feelings of seven years of disappointment. There will be many who remain cynical; believing this will crumble like previous renditions. These moves are a good start; a giant, very expensive step in the right direction. The new story has just begun. After all, Tim Leiweke only took over control of MLSE in June. Much has revealed itself in recent weeks. There is still much we dont know. Heres where we stand at present time. What we know... Money Talks Defoe and Bradley said all the rights things. They are coming to the right place and are excited about the opportunity. The famous line from Jerry Maguire is more appropriate: "SHOW ME THE MONEY". Dollars. Bucks. Cash. Quiche. Toronto FC flexed their financial muscle and their targets obliged. Quadrupling or getting paid six times your salary makes it an offer not to be refused. Leiweke called having three designated players (Gilberto the third) on significant dollars as "financial suicide." A line that catches the ear and shows any previous financial restraint has been thrown out the window. Soccer-wise in North America, these salaries make no sense, but for an organization whose profits from their cash cow the Toronto Maple Leafs are protected by a salary cap, the investment into MLSEs suddenly important side project is mitigated. Throwing money at players was the easiest way to try to make a seven-year problem go away. Toronto FC joins the likes of the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls with the ability to spend out the nose on the best-designated players possible. Show them the money and top players will come. Leiweke: Ambition and Network The MLSE President/CEO sat on the stage like a proud father. There was a rightful "I told you so" vibe about it. Leiweke promised significant changes. He has delivered. Leiweke has put an end to any notion that MLSE wont spend. The Bell/Rogers MLSE ownership is a different bunch than the Teachers Pension. It begs to question whether the Raptors would have spent into the luxury tax long ago if Leiweke were around sooner. Leiwekes global sporting connections are Teflon. Its not name dropping if you can actually call upon the biggest names in the world to help. David Beckham. Player agents. Owners. Celebrity. Leiweke has access to all these channels and has used them to foster personal and professional relationships. This goes beyond players to business and developmental partnerships. The motivation here is all in the name of winning. Leiweke acknowledges hell spend whatever it takes to reach that goal. Monday is only the beginning. He dropped the term super club. Maple Leafs and Raptors fans should take notice. Reputations are changing. Belief is real. The Power of Drake Drake as Global Ambassador seemed nothing more than a flashy marketing move when announced. It must be said, the cache of Drake seems to be widely underrated, at least by this onlooker. His influence is tangible. Defoe glowed when describing his adoration for Drake. If Leiweke is the right hook in laying the body blow of recruitment, Drake is the left. "I was out in London one night having dinner when this number came up. I answered it and it was Drake. It was surreal, to be honest. I felt special. He said it was a fantastic city and IId enjoy it," described Defoe.dddddddddddd He was glowing. Every good team needs a finisher in front of goal. Drake can be just that in player recruitment. Weird, isnt it? A Happy Manager As with all previous regime/coaching changes at TFC, the talent cupboard was bare when Ryan Nelsen took over a season ago. He was hired late, and a slow moving conveyer belt of roster moves followed. By the end of the season, Nelsen seemed worn out, absolutely knackered by the process and growing frustration. This is no longer the case. Nelsen has the players. Theyve been locked up early. Its up to him to manage his team accordingly. And the manager is ecstatic. Its clear speaking to him over the last month, there is a newfound energy about him, almost giddiness at the potential of whats at his disposal. What system the team will play and how his new assets will be used are up in the air. This will be a big test for the second year coach. No pressure. What we dont know... Will TFC Finally Win? Its the most popular question asked: is this team now a winner? Its too soon to know. We can say with confidence the club will be more competitive. Defoe and Bradley immediately become the best players to wear TFC red. The jury will be out on Gilberto. General manager Tim Bezbatchenko seems to have a vast understanding of the salary cap and league rules. The ability of the front office to properly evaluate talent will be critical. Other factors will obviously play a determining role. Injuries, form, further transactions, managerial decisions and how soon the new players can gel will be decisive. Big spending doesnt guarantee anything in MLS. That being said, anything short of a competitive team and playoffs would be a disappointment. Matias Laba designated player contract needs to be dealt with. And the team needs more defensive/midfield depth. How Does MLS Feel About These Moves? Leiweke was asked how others around MLS reacted to the big money spent. "Id say some of our partners would say weve lost our minds." So much for the fiscal restraint the league predicates itself on. Beckhams move to Los Angeles was self-explanatory and helped grow the league. Many will believe Toronto over-spent, making Defoe and Bradley the leagues most expensive players (along with Clint Dempsey). It takes MLS to another level, whether they are ready, like it or not. The moves wont be looked upon fondly in some circles. Toronto FC did what they could and felt they had to do. There will be those at MLS who would prefer Bradley, a top American player, to play in an American market. Toronto FC isnt scheduled to feature in any nationally televised game south of the border. This will change. But the draw of Toronto in the US pales in comparison to other American markets in television numbers. And its television ratings where the league needs to grow. Die-Hards Remain Loyal. What About The Masses? Boisterous supporters helped make the festive environment at Real Sports Bar & Grill Monday. While attendance has dwindled at BMO Field, a hardened, resilient contingent has remained true. Its been a tough go for these supporters, spending more than just dollars, but emotional collateral on a team that hasnt delivered. Nothing will sway the devout. But will the masses follow suit and come back on board? Expect calculated efforts by the club and media owners to keep pushing Defoe/Bradley to the spotlight. They are more than just players - they are marketing tools. Leiweke is expecting sellouts all season. At an average of $28 per ticket, he may get his wish. Long-term loyalty and interest from more than the die-hards is the goal. Ticket prices will surely rise as winning football comes to BMO. Stadium expansion and makeover is also in the works. It all costs money. What will it cost the fans? And what are they willing to pay? ' ' '

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