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TORONTO - December 8th is a date that is forever etched in the mind of Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. [url=http://www.authentic

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by jokergreen0220 | 735 Posts

TORONTO - December 8th is a date that is forever etched in the mind of Raptors head coach Dwane Casey. Tyrod Taylor Jersey . I was sitting in my [hotel] room, Masai [Ujiri] called and it was a day that I wont forget, Casey admitted. It was exactly one year ago Monday. Losers of five straight contests, the Raptors were in Los Angeles, the final stop on what had been a disastrous three-game road trip. Just hours before their evening tilt with the Lakers, set to welcome Kobe Bryant back from an Achilles injury, Torontos general manager broke the news to his coach, who was taken aback and understandably torn to hear his featured player was on the move. Ujiri had agreed in principle to send Rudy Gay to Sacramento in a seven-player swap that would net the Raptors four complimentary pieces. Theres very few things you remember in life, Casey said, and that moment, I remember like it was yesterday. Gay was scheduled to be on the second bus to Staples Center, but remained at the hotel and would eventually be rerouted to the airport. Casey was on the first bus. He didnt have much time to digest the information before making the half-hour trek from Marina del Rey over to the arena. It was a long bus ride, he recalls. I was putting together the game plan on the way to the arena and substitution pattern because we only had eight guys. Those guys (Gay, Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray) couldnt play. Nobody knew what to expect, not Ujiri, not Casey. They couldnt have seen this coming. Hope for the best? Sure. But even in hindsight, theyre not claiming to have seen the future. With a record of 6-12, they were stuck in no mans land and, for better or for worse, both gentlemen knew the team needed a definitive identity that would send them in one direction or the other. For Casey, the aftermath of this momentous trade, beginning with an upset victory over the Lakers that night, would alter the course of his future with the club. Had the Raptors bottomed out the way many thought they might, Caseys time in Toronto would have likely been numbered. The same could be said for Kyle Lowry. DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Terrence Ross, and the list goes on, they all would have been made expendable. For me, believe it or not, I looked at it as, hey, this is an opportunity to really try to mould this team, Casey said. We were a young team at the time, we didnt know which way we were going to go, were we going to go down low or were we going to take off? The trade would become official the following afternoon. Toronto received Patrick Patterson, Greivis Vasquez, Chuck Hayes and John Salmons in return for Gay, Acy and Gray. Quickly, this group came together in a way few could have predicted. It was the perfect storm. The four former Kings players brought an air of calm and maturity to a locker room that was in desperate need of it at the time. They immediately replenished the second unit, while Salmons would be used to acquire Lou Williams and further solidify Torontos bench over the summer. With Gay - a high usage, low efficiency Raptor - out of the picture, others have blossomed in expanded roles. The offence is now tailored around the strengths of Lowry and DeRozan, who have both grown into All-Stars. Terrence Ross has gone from spare part off the bench to reliable rotation player. As Casey says, It put people in place. There was and still is a clear pecking order. Suddenly the pieces fit and chemistry, both on and off the floor, became the teams calling card. They have gone 58-27 since that night in L.A., now a full year ago, good for the best record in the Eastern Conference over that span, and they havent looked back. We took off, Casey said - his team hasnt lost three straight games since the deal was consummated. Guys committed to everything, they did a great job of playing hard, playing committed, playing together. We established our identity at that time of playing hard. And thats who weve got to be. It was, do we have enough to compete to win? That was the biggest question and we did. I wouldnt say it was easy because nobody knew it was going to turn out the way it did. On Monday, they celebrated the one-year anniversary of their franchise-altering deal by overcoming yet another demon. Despite their fourth-quarter prowess, they have struggled to close games, especially those which go into extra time. The Raptors were just 1-7 in overtime games dating back to the beginning of last season. They had not won an OT contest at home since 2009, having dropped their last 10. Without the injured DeRozan, who missed his fifth straight game with a torn groin tendon, they pulled it together and made big plays when it mattered most. They bent, giving up an early 17-point lead, but they didnt break. The one thing I will take is effort and I thought the guys busted their behinds and really gave it to us down the stretch and found a way to win, Casey said after his teams 112-107 OT victory over the Denver Nuggets. Thats all you can ask. We made some mistakes. Thats why they put erasers on pencils. Weve got to make sure we dont make the same mistake multiple times. Again, it was very much a collaborative effort. Lowry (13 points, 13 assists) and Jonas Valanciunas (18 points, 12 rebounds) both recorded double-doubles. Williams scored 26, Patterson 19 and Ross added 16. It does not feel like a year, said Patterson, who made two big shots towards the end of regulation, including the game-tying three-ball that would force overtime with under 30 seconds remaining. It literally feels like I got traded yesterday but as they say, time flies by when youre having fun. Being with these guys, being with this team, this organization, each and every guy in this locker room makes every single day fun. In just 12 months, one trade - overshadowed by Bryants return on the night it was made - has jumpstarted careers, changed lives and altered the trajectory of an entire franchise. Casey and Lowry both signed lucrative contract extensions over the summer, keeping them in Toronto for at least three more years. Patterson and Vasquez also inked new deals. Meanwhile, the Raptors have gone from cautionary tale to a legitimate Eastern Conference force in the blink eye. It was a great move by our management to get that [trade] done, Casey said. It really re-shaped our organization. Casey campaigns for Kyle All-Star voting has not even opened yet but Casey is getting a head start campaigning for his point guard, who many believe was snubbed from the team a year ago. Lowry, named Player of the Week in the East earlier Monday evening, narrowly missed out on the chance to represent the conference last winter when the leagues coaches left him off the roster, selecting DeRozan as a reserve instead. This time around, Casey thinks it shouldnt come down to the coaches vote and wants to see fans put Lowry in as a starter when balloting opens later this month. Hes playing at a big time level, hes playing at an All-Star level, Casey said of Lowry. He deserves to be an All-Star this year. I hope our fans are getting out their pencils, 15-25 ballots apiece and voting. So lets make sure we get him on the All-Star team, because he deserves it. For real, hes one of the top point guards in the NBA and he deserves to be on that team. The 28-year-old is continuing to make his case and is also starting to get recognized for it. Coming off a career-best 39-point performance in Utah on Wednesday, Lowry received Eastern Conference Player of the Week honours for games played from Dec. 1-7. Its the third time hes won the weekly award and second as a Raptor. Its a great honour, he said ahead of Mondays game. Im very honoured to get this award but its all because of my teammates and my coaching staff letting me do my job and supporting me. Lowry has taken his game, already trending in an All-Star direction, to a new level in the absence of DeRozan. Leading Toronto to a 2-1 record last week, he averaged an NBA-best 29.3 points on 49 per cent shooting to go along with 8.7 assists. With DeRozan out indefinitely, Lowrys scoring average has increased by over 10 points per contest (from 18.6 to 29.3), while shooting a similar percentage and recording more assists. I just got to go out there and do my job, he said. Im very comfortable even when DeMar is there. Im always going to be comfortable in my own skin. So I know what I can do and I know what they want me to do and need me to do. Assuming Lowry maintains this pace, he should be a lock to become an All-Star for the first time in his nine-year career, but getting voted in as a starter will be challenge given the strength of his position in the East. Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo have both returned from injury this season and they, along with John Wall and Kyrie Irving - the MVP of last years game, are all former All-Stars with more national marketability. I think so, Lowry said, asked if point guard is the deepest position in the NBA. I think every single night its a challenge for the point guards, offensively and defensively. Youve got guys that are really good in this league at the point guard position. So every night, you have to be mentally and physically prepared to go after it. Shaq Lawson Jersey . Specifically, thumbs up to the Canadian-based teams in the NHL, or at least most of them. Shareece Wright Jersey .Y. -- The Buffalo Bills have fired receivers coach Ike Hilliard. http://www.authenticbillsfanatic.com/c-69-bills-jordan-poyer-jersey.aspx . -- The Toronto Maple Leafs are tightening the race for second place in the Atlantic Division.Englewood, CO - Denver Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan was placed back on the active roster in time for Sundays pivotal AFC West clash at San Diego. Trevathan, Denvers leading tackler during the teams AFC championship 2013 season, has been sidelined since mid-October due to a fractured left kneecap. The third-year pro has played in just two games this season before being placed on injured reserve/designated to return following the Broncos Week 6 matchup against the New York Jets. While Trevathan is set to return, running back Montee Ball will officially miss the remainder of the season after being placed on injured reserve on Saturday. Thurman Thomas Jersey. Safety Quinton Carter was also moved to IR. Ball has been limited to just five games by a groin problem. The 2013 second- round pick sat out five straight weeks before briefly returning for Denvers Nov. 16 game at St. Louis, when he aggravated the injury. The Broncos No. 1 back to begin the season, Ball had 172 rushing yards and one touchdown on 55 carries before getting hurt. Carter, who is dealing with a lingering knee injury, recorded 21 tackles and one sack in 11 games this season. Denver also promoted tight end Dominique Jones from the practice squad during Saturdays moves. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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