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19.03.2019 07:05
TORONTO - With just over seven seconds left on the clock and Fridays game hanging in the balance, a sellout Air Canada Centre cr Antworten

TORONTO - With just over seven seconds left on the clock and Fridays game hanging in the balance, a sellout Air Canada Centre crowd rose to their feet, holding their breath in anticipation. Cheap Vans For Sale Uk . Theyve been holding their breath for six years now, but finally they can exhale. As Celtics forward Jared Sullinger forced up a wild, off-balance runner, the building erupted. It was official. The Raptors are heading back to the post-season. "We made it," shouted Amir Johnson repeatedly as the media filtered into Torontos locker room. "Its a satisfying, kind of overwhelming feeling," he described, following his teams 105-103 victory over Boston, officially snapping the Raptor five-year playoff drought. "Its been six years since this team, this organization made it to the playoffs. This team has worked so hard. We deserved it. Weve been playing our butts off, playing through injuries. Weve had our ups and downs." "Weve made it." Not lost on the team was the fact that they stole a game, their 41st victory of the season, that probably shouldnt have come down to the final possession. Down by four with under three minutes to play, it looked like the Raptors would have to hope for a New York Knicks loss later in the evening or wait until Sunday to punch their ticket to the playoffs. Theyve been resilient all year, so why wouldnt they be now? First DeMar DeRozan drained a fadeaway jumper, then Johnson hit the game-winning put-back layup. "It was fitting," Dwane Casey said. DeRozan and Johnson, the teams longest tenured players, were responsible for Torontos final four points. For them, this moment was a little sweeter. "It means a lot, honestly, man," said DeRozan, the Raptors fifth-year guard, who will make his post-season debut next month. "Especially for me and Amir and what weve been through here with the tough seasons, through the ups and downs and the struggles. We stuck with it." The only player in the building that could give a firsthand account of the Raptors last playoff experience - a five-game, first round defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic in 2007-08 - was Celtics forward Kris Humphries. Only four other players from that team are currently on an NBA roster, but DeRozan and Johnson – who arrived the year after – have both been in Toronto long enough to appreciate what a night like this means to the franchise, the city and the Raptors long-suffering fan base. "It was all worth it," said DeRozan. "These fans stuck behind us every single day and theyre going to continue to do so. Thats the reason why we work extremely hard. Our fans definitely push us." Of course, it was just a formality. It was inevitable, only a matter of time. Toronto wasnt going to go winless in its remaining games, just like the Knicks were not going to run the table the rest of the way. Still, they have refused to count their chickens before they hatched and for that you can credit the humility and focus of their head coach. Moments after the win, a loud chorus of applause could be heard from outside the teams locker room. Finally, they could celebrate, albeit behind closed doors. Even Casey, who wouldnt pat himself on the back and likely never will, found a way to indulge in what the evening represented. "Were excited about it," he admitted. "My hat is off to all the guys whove come through here," said Casey, crediting MLSE chairman Larry Tanenbaum as well as former general manager Bryan Colangelo for their contributions to the process. "To DeMar DeRozan [and] Amir Johnson, who have been through it all and for the fans, the fans for understanding and being patient. I know they didnt see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but its a process. You dont build Rome overnight in this league. Is very difficult to do. You talk about rebuilding, its a hard gig." The Raptors have surpassed every rational expectation, going 35-19 since the trade of Rudy Gay in early December. Its been a season of firsts for a franchise on the cusp of its 20th birthday, a franchise many pundits wrote off for dead after selling off its highest-paid player. "Everybody who writes something on a piece of paper isnt always right, thats how I look at it," said DeRozan, the first-time All-Star. Hes right. He and his team have proven a lot of people wrong. As the Celtics made their run, cutting their deficit - once 14 - down and ultimately taking the lead, DeRozan came through yet again. With Kyle Lowry slowed by an ankle injury he sustained in the first half, DeRozan picked him up and scored 24 of his game-high 30 points in the final 24 minutes. 16 of his 27 career 30-point games have come this season. With 10 games remaining and their spot in the pos-tseason locked up, the team can shift its attention to seeding but most importantly, going into the playoffs healthy and with momentum. "We cant be satisfied," Casey repeated, with his team moving into soul possession of the third seed following the Chicago Bulls loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday. "We still want to continue on and weve still got to get better." Lowrys injury scare With three minutes to go in the second quarter, Lowry limped to the locker room after turning his right ankle while back-pedaling to get back on defence. After being examined by the medical staff, the Raptor point guard and most important player was able to return, starting the second half with his ankle taped up. As per usual, Lowry shrugged off whatever pain he was in after the win. "Im a little sore, but Im fine," he said after scoring nine points in 33 minutes. "Im okay. Good to go." Revenge of the second unit Naturally, Casey was frustrated with his under-performing bench after they were outscored 51-7 in Boston on Wednesday. "I challenged them before the game," said the Raptors coach. "I got on them about their productivity or lack thereof in the Boston game. I challenged them. I said, Look, guys want playing time, when the opportunity comes, youve got to do something, whether its defence, knocking somebody down, taking a charge, whatever. And they came through." Greivis Vasquez, who scored all seven of the benchs points on Wednesday, led the teams reserves with 15, but Chuck Hayes and John Salmons were also productive on both ends of the floor. Combined, the three former Kings - along with Tyler Hansbrough, who logged five minutes - totalled 28 points on the night. Patterson nearing a return Although he missed his 12th straight game, Patrick Patterson has been making progress and appears to be on the verge of returning from his right elbow injury. Although the Raptors havent had much practice time to get Patterson back up to speed - a concern Casey expressed before Fridays game - the Raptors forward has been able to participate in smaller, three-on-three scrimmages since being cleared for contact earlier this week. "[His] conditioning is probably going to be step behind a little bit," Casey acknowledged. "Its not going to be where he was before stepping away, so thats going to be expected. Thats why now we need to kind of get him back in rhythm and with the lack of practice time its going to have to be in a game situation." Patterson could be back in uniform this weekend in Florida, as the Raptors begin a back-to-back set with the Magic on Sunday before visiting the Heat Monday evening. The stat With their 41st win of the season, the Raptors secured a .500 record for the sixth time in franchise history and first since 2007-08, the last year they qualified for the playoffs. The quote "My grandmother called," Johnson told the media after his team clinched a spot in the playoffs. "She said that she was proud." Vans Shoes Uk Cheap . According to a report from the Vancouver Province, the Lions are expected to replace former DC Rich Stubler with defensive backs coach Mark Washington. Discount Vans Shoes Uk . Kyle Denbrook, a soccer player from Saint Marys University, took the CIS male athlete of the week honour. Stanley, a fourth-year business administration student from Charlottetown, scored both goals in a 2-0 win over Dalhousie on Friday and tallied again in a 1-0 win over Saint Marys on Sunday. http://www.cheapvansuk.com/ . - On the night Dirk Nowitzki overtook Dominique Wilkins on the career scoring list, Brandan Wright was a human highlight film all by himself.SEATTLE -- All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners finalized their $240 million, 10-year contract that was agreed upon late last week. The deal, which is tied for the fourth largest contract in major league history, was completed Thursday after Cano passed his physical. Cano had spent his entire career with the Yankees. The five-time All-Star played in 160 games last season and hit .314 with 27 homers and 107 RBIs. Cano posted a .899 on-base plus slugging percentage and finished fifth in American League MVP voting. The Yankees offered Cano a $175 million, seven-year deal. New York went 85-77 last season and missed the playoffs for only the second time in 19 years; Seattle went 71-91 and hasnt been in the playoffs since 2001. The 31-year-old second baseman is represented by Jay-Zs Roc Nation and CAA Sports. He was New Yorks most feared hitter for the past several years, and the loss of a middle infielder who bats .300 and hits 30 homers stings. Cano posted a .899 on-base plus slugging percentage last season and finished fifth in American League MVP voting. Only the two deals signed by Alex Rodriguez -- first with Texas and then the Yankees -- and Joey Vottos contract with Cincinnati were worth more. Albert Pujols also signed a $240 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. Cano will make $24 million per season from 2014-23 and the contract includes bonuses for awards. Its the fifth deal to top $200 million in baseball history. Cano is scheduled to be introduced at a news conference later Thursday. "We have made a major commitment to a player who is one of the most dynamic in Major League Baseball," Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. "And Robinson has made a commitment to the Seattle Mariners organization and to the City of Seattle. We have stayed true to our pplan of building our organization from the ground up through the amateur draft and player development, and now have had the opportunity to add an All-Star player through free agency. Wholesale Vans Shoes Uk. " Canos been one of the most durable players in baseball for the past seven seasons, missing only 14 out of 1,120 games since the start of the 2007 season. Hes a career .309 hitter who has averaged 24 homers and 97 RBIs per season. Cano has hit at least 25 homers and had a slugging percentage above .500 in every season since 2009. Cano will be the anchor for a lineup thats lacked consistency at the plate most of the past decade. Seattle made other additions at the winter meetings to support Cano, agreeing to a one-year deal with Corey Hart and acquiring Logan Morrison in a trade with the Miami Marlins. All of them should help an offence that between 2009 and 2012 ranked last in baseball in batting average, and was near the bottom in runs scored and homers. The Mariners showed some pop this past season with 188 home runs -- second-most in baseball -- but 52 of those came from the combo of Kendrys Morales and 41-year-old Raul Ibanez, both free agents. "A player like Robinson Cano can make a manager look really smart, really quick," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "No one player is going to win a championship for you, but I would remind people that we have some pieces in place." Its the second straight off-season Seattle will have made a massive financial commitment to a player after giving a $175 million, seven-year deal to ace Felix Hernandez last winter. Seattle has plenty of financial room to make significant cash commitments because the only major contracts on the books for 2014 are for Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, and only Michael Saunders and Justin Smoak are entering arbitration. ' ' '

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