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08.09.2018 04:59
TORONTO -- A half-time message woke up the Raptors on a night when Toronto found itself sleepwalking against the struggling Detr Antworten

TORONTO -- A half-time message woke up the Raptors on a night when Toronto found itself sleepwalking against the struggling Detroit Pistons. John Lynch Buccaneers Jersey . "We pretty much said, This is a must-win game," Amir Johnson said after Toronto trailed Detroit by four at the break but finished with a 112-91 win Wednesday. "We had to go out and take it. We did that." After Johnson and DeMar DeRozan started the game cold, their teammates kept things close and allowed a second-half turnaround to take place. Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 11 rebounds while Kyle Lowry scored 21 points and added nine assists in a game the Raptors needed to work themselves into. "The first half was a little sluggish but we picked it up and thats most important," said Lowry. "Thats a team. You need everybody, all 15 guys and all 13 that are dressed to step up and take advantage when the opportunity comes." Toronto (17-17) needed strong performances from Valanciunas and Lowry. DeRozan and Johnson combined to shoot 0 for 16 from the floor in the first half with the team making just 33 per cent of their field goals compared to 47 per cent shooting from the Pistons. Brandon Jennings led the way for Detroit (14-22), scoring 22 points to go with nine assists in the loss. Andre Drummond added 16 rebounds as the Pistons lost their sixth straight. After going up 11 midway through the second quarter, the Raptors went more than five minutes without a field goal and allowed Detroit to go on a 14-0 run to take a 54-50 lead at the half. "We started off terrible," DeRozan said. "We didnt have any legs and we told ourselves that we can have no excuses. We had to pick it up because that wasnt us in the first half." Things flipped in the third quarter when the Raptors outscored Detroit 34-20 while making 11 of their 22 field-goal attempts. DeRozan and Johnson were able to shake off their starts to help Toronto build a 10-point advantage going into the fourth. "There was a big difference," Toronto head coach Dwane Casey said of the two halves. "We knew it was going to be a grind out game and thats something we are learning to do, to grind things out possession by possession, quarter by quarter. "We knew DeMar and Amir werent going to go zero-for, in the second half. The defensive intensity (after halftime) is what changed the game." The final quarter resembled the third as Toronto outplayed the Pistons and broke the game open with five minutes remaining and the lead up to 18. All five of Torontos starters finished the game in double figures after the team dropped its last two contests against the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers. DeRozan finished the game shooting just 3 for 15 from the floor, but connected on 13 of his 16 free-throw attempts to finish the game with 19 points. The 16 free throws tied a career-high. "He went to plan B and thats what hes got to do," Casey said about DeRozans night. "About a year or two ago he wouldnt have done that. He did a good job of attacking the feet and taking what the defence gave him." Johnson finished the game with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Terrance Ross scored 17 points. "Hes improving as a basketball player," Lowry said of Rosss evolving game. "Catching and shooting, his confidence is unbelievable. Hes showing his versatility. He can play defence. Hes scoring, but if you look at the defensive assignments hes had in the past few weeks, hes done a great job at it ... I know I tip my hat to him." Lowrys explanation for the strides Ross has taken was simple -- hes playing more. "Thats how you get better," he said. "Once you get more minutes, more repetition, thats how you get better." Toronto finished the game shooting 41 per cent from the floor as compared to 40 per cent for the Pistons, but the Raptors shot 91 per cent from the free-throw line, making 31 of their 34 attempts. Detroit made just 19-for-35 shots from the line. Notes: Torontos Tyler Hansbrough missed his fourth straight game with a left ankle sprain. ... Rodney Stuckey returned to action for the Pistons after missing three games with a sore shoulder. ... The Raptors return to the court Saturday at home to the Brooklyn Nets. Chandler Catanzaro Buccaneers Jersey . There, I saw a teenaged boy with tears in his eyes, being consoled by strength and conditioning coach Randy Lee. Vinny Curry Buccaneers Jersey . The Nevada Athletic Commission voted unanimously in Las Vegas to quit granting therapeutic use exemptions for fighters undergoing the so-called TRT. . Raymond, 31, started 15 regular-season games for the Stamps in 2013, racking up 51 tackles. He also returned two kickoffs for 79 yards including a 61-yarder.The Eskimos did a smart thing this week and signed veteran CFL receiver Paris Jackson this week. He was signed to help with depth to the receiving corps because of the loss of Shamawd Chambers to the 6-game injured list. Losing starters and especially National starters is difficult to overcome and to try to get the same level of productivity in the position. That is why it is so important for teams to have as much depth as possible at National positions. Like all teams in the CFL, the Eskimos have had their share of injuries to deal with this season. They have faced some serious National challenges pertaining to roster depth at the defensive line. In addition to losing Chambers, they lost starting defensive lineman Don Oramasionwu early in the season as well as Eddie Steele and Gregory Alexandre in last Fridays loss to Saskatchewan. That is why they had to sign defensive lineman Bo Adebayo from Montreals practice roster to provide help and depth on the defensive line. Paris Jackson has been released twice in the past year, first by B.C. and then by Ottawa, an expansion club trying to find their way in the first season. He had only six catches for 34 yards in three games with the Redblacks before he was relegated to a backup role. He eventually was released because Ottawa probably felt comfortable with the young receivers they had and did not need to have a higher than average salary for a backup. Another difficult thing for general managers to decide is that after the ninth game, the salaries of CFL veterans are guaranteed, meaning if you were to cut them and send them home, they would still be paid and would count against your cap. So why sign a 34-year-old player who couldnt make the starting lineup of the Ottawa Redblacks? Why not put a younger player on the roster and let him develop instead of an older player with a short shelf life? This is a question I hear a lot and want to take the time to talk about why it is so important to have a veteran presence on your roster, especially at the end of the year. At this time in the season, there is probably not a lot of young talented National receivers on the practice squads of other teams or at home waiting for a call. Because of the attrition of the season, the expansion of the CFL rosters by the Redblacks, plus one more non-import on each team, finding available Nationals is difficult. Many people I talk to say there is as little depth as they have ever seen that is not on rosters already at National spots. But for me, the most important and best part of what I hope Paris will bring to the Eskimos is experience; experience in the position he is playing, experience in the stadiums in the division, experience in the meeting rooms, experience in the locker room. There is no substitute for guys who have been in games and know what to do in as many situations as they can remember. Coach Dave Ritchie, my former boss in Winnipeg in 2002 and 2003, used to say that you lose a game for every rookie that you start. He believed they would make mistakes because of a lack of experience that would cause you to lose a game. As a receiver, Paris should have a great understanding of the cadence in the CFL and more importantly, the Waggle, where receivers run towards the line of scrimmage. I cannot tell you how that can be limiting and how difficult it can be for rookie receivers. I would think you would have less of a chance of Paris being offside than someone who has little or no experience with the waggle. Paris understands the contact that is allowed by defensive backs downfield and will know how to counter it. I cant tell you how many rookie receivers are amazed when a defensive back collides with them 10 yards downfield and dont know how to counter it. Many pass concepts are similar in the CFL, so Paris will have to learn the Eskimos terminology but he should have an general understanding of the role of each receiver in the concepts and what they are trying to accomplish. Players with experience at any position understand that the ball can be punched out of bounds to recover a fumble. They understand most of the rules pertaining to the kicking game as well as what will get you a penalty on and off the field. The Eskimos, who have positioned themselves nicely in a battle for the division title, need guys who can come in and be productive but not make the crucial self-destructive mistakes like penalties or not understanding what to do on a given play. When I was the head coach in Winnipeg, I struggled and always lost in arguments with the general managers insistence to never sign players from other teams. He believed in signing rookies and rookies alone would be the way we would fix any roster issues and or injury problems. That is why we always had the younngest team in the CFL each year. Vinny Curry Jersey. Often times, he would say why do we want a guy who was not good enough to play for them? A couple of reasons: one, they understand the rules and systems of the CFL and two, they may be a better fit for our roster than the team that released him. Some guys may be better than what we have on the roster, which is not what the GM wanted to hear but was sometimes true. What the general manager did not understand is that rookie receivers may be faster on the stopwatch when you are scouting them running down a line. A slower veteran will play faster most times in the game because he knows what to do and what he is doing so those guys can play faster than rookies and the QBs will trust the veterans because they are in the right spot at the right time. Many players are excelling in the league today with very average 40 times. Another example during my time as head coach in Winnipeg involved signing a rookie International defensive lineman early in the 2012 season over several options that had CFL experience. This player not only had not played in the CFL, he never had played defensive lineman. He was a linebacker who we moved to defensive line. This player did not have a training camp to learn the fundamentals of the position of DL or to learn the rules of the CFL. He was thrown into a very difficult position to be successful, especially early on and also the position coach who had to try to groom a LB on how to play defensive line was also put in a position you normally dont do in professional football; that is teach a player a position he never has played before. True to form, we had an injury at the defensive line and the player had to start the next week with only four days of practice. He struggled for two or three weeks with lining up offsides, having not had a lot of experience with the yard off the ball. He took three penalties in his first game just lining up offsides. The general manager was frustrated by the penalties and would try to say it was the coachs fault for not explaining that to him or my fault for not teaching him about it. We actually kept track of offsides daily and did extra work when we went offside in practice but these things will happen to young inexperienced players and the best way for them to learn is through game experiences alone. That is how the player will get better at the position, game reps alone. At this point in the season, teams like the Eskimos dont want to have players who have to be taught everything and may make mistakes if they get in a game. It is the push to first place so they need players with experience. The right veteran players should understand how to conduct themselves in the meeting rooms and within the team atmosphere. Some rookies come up and have different priorities than doing what is best for the team, day in and day out. It is an adjustment being in a new city, getting attention as a professional football player, being able to do what you want when away from the facility. Some rookies cannot handle that, so when you sign a veteran, you are getting someone who has maneuvered through all those things before and you hope can provide the role that he is needed on the team. Role is a big word in organized football and lastly, one that I think players with experience understand. I believe that Paris Jackson will know his role and do his job. Do your job and your job alone and you can have a very successful team and a successful career individually. I am sure or I hope that Paris is not thinking about taking catches away from Adarius Bowman and Fred Stamps and thinking about how he can help the team win. He has been through the starter to backup role before and should know how to handle it. I am sure the Eskimos did there due diligence and spoke to people about how he handled himself in those roles. I am sure it helps that his former teammate Jarious Jackson is on the coaching staff. In 2009, when I was the offensive coordinator in Saskatchewan, I replaced Jason Clermont on the roster with Chris Getzlaf early in the year as Chris was playing very well. Jason was a veteran football player and handled it like a true professional and the players in our meeting room had all the respect in the world for him. He continued to be a positive force in our push to the Grey Cup. He would help us in games down the stretch and, when he got opportunities to play, he would make plays and could be counted on. As the Eskimos prepare for the home stretch, it is great to see that Paris Jackson is getting an opportunity to help them in their search for the Grey Cup. I am sure that he will do his best to help the team in any way possible. His 11 years of experience will be of use for the Eskimos during the stretch run. 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