Fora » Życie w UK

y, their playoff lives could rest on the

    • 1485 posty
    February 14, 2019 6:50 AM GMT

    BROOKLYN - As the Raptors opening round series shifts back into quasi must-win territory on Sunday, their playoff lives could rest on the shoulders of a 23-year-old sophomore, who is already having a tough time adjusting to the pressure of his first postseason. Gary Cahill England Jersey . Through three games with the Nets, Toronto has yet to play its best basketball, the easiest explanation for their 2-1 series deficit. Its under-performing starting small forward, Terrence Ross, has been a primary factor. Stepping in for the traded Rudy Gay early in the season, Ross played an under-appreciated role in the Raptors turnaround and push to the playoffs. From Dec. 8 onwards, the second-year guard-turned-forward averaged 12.2 points, nearly doubling his pre-trade scoring mark while logging an addition 10 minutes a night. He shot the three-ball at an impressive 40 per cent clip and became Torontos most relied upon perimeter defender. Since making his playoff debut a week ago, Ross has looked like a fish out of water. Despite starting all three games and playing an average of 21 minutes, hes hit just three of his 16 jumpers while looking overwhelmed on defence against Brooklyns bigger, more physical wing players. Overall, the Raptors have gotten just 4.7 points per game from the small forward position, good for last among the NBAs 16 playoff teams by a wide margin. With Fridays 102-98 loss in the back of his mind, Dwane Casey wouldnt rule out the possibility of a lineup change for Sundays crucial Game 4. "Were still going to look at that," Casey said following a Saturday afternoon practice on the campus of a nearby university in New York City. "The decision hasnt been made but we will look at it. Right now we dont want to do anything drastic." "Its not panic time, but we do have to look at that position and get more productivity out of that spot." Its been the most problematic conundrum Casey has had to wrestle with in this series. The Raptors do not have an easy answer for Joe Johnsons unique combination of size, strength and finesse. The Nets crafty veteran - listed at 6-foot-7, 240 lbs - has had Torontos number in nearly every facet of the game. He can beat you from midrange, post-up smaller players and hes deadly from beyond the arc. "We have been double teaming him and blitzing him and hes been getting a lot of his [points] in those one-on-one situations," Casey pointed out. Defensively, Landry Fields has had the most individual success against Johnson. Casey turned to the sparingly used forward in Game 2, a well-received lineup adjustment that helped neutralize Johnson in the fourth quarter and spark Torontos comeback victory. Johnson would go on to lead the Nets with 29 points in Fridays Game 3 but was held scoreless, missing both of his shots, in seven first-half minutes with Fields guarding him. However, Fields was limited to just eight minutes in the loss. This time the Nets had prepared for him. Anticipating his reluctance to shoot, Brooklyn used Fields defender to apply even more pressure to DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. With Jonas Valanciunas in foul trouble, Fields shared the floor with Tyler Hansbrough - another player the defence can afford to overlook - and the Raptors offence took an immediate hit. "Its give and take," Casey said in regards to utilizing Fields in this series. "You sacrifice some offence for defence. I thought he did a heck of a job [defensively] but you do suffer in your spacing." John Salmons returned to the rotation, scoring four points in 12 minutes on Friday after sitting out in Game 2. The 35-year-old has battled lingering back pain while struggling with his jumper. He too has been exposed by Johnson. "Weve got to find ways to get them the ball," Casey said of Fields and Salmons. "Whether its cutting, screening, running the floor, so that we get something from that spot [and] they cant just load up and go 5-on-4 at the defensive end. We want to make sure we do get something offensively out of that position." Their best chance is to get Ross going. Fields moves well without the ball and gives you consistent effort on defence, Salmons brings a certain veteran savvy that has been useful in the past but Ross - when right - is the two-way contributor Toronto desperately needs to gain the upper hand in this series. For the young Ross, boosting his confidence could be the key to unleashing the natural ability he has displayed throughout his second season. It could be something as simple as seeing an early shot fall, getting a big first-quarter stop or throwing down one of his trademark slam dunks. "Hes still the same Terrence," DeRozan said Saturday. "We all understand everybodys not going to have their best night [all the time]. We all understand that. Our job is to keep everybodys confidence high." Through three playoff games, Ross and fellow sophomore Jonas Valanciunas - who leads the Raptors in turnovers - have the worst +/- on the team. Toronto has allowed 24 more points than its scored with Ross on the floor, outscored by 21 with Valanciunas on the floor. The Raptors are the only playoff team to feature two second-year players in their starting lineup. Their inexperience and overall importance to the future of this franchise is largely responsible for the leash theyve been given. "If they werent young guys, if that wasnt our future, our direction, they probably wouldnt be in there with some of the mistakes theyre making," Casey admitted. "But, theyre our guys. Theyve got to learn, its their first playoffs. I expect most of their mistakes. Were going to ride with them in those situations." "Its tougher, but a big part of the reason were here is because of their play. Im not blind to the fact they are our future and the only way were going to learn is to go through it. The amount of time might be a little shorter, but theyve got to get out there." Regardless of his role, Ross will continue to play. Yes, win or lose this is a valuable learning experience for the 23-year-old but more than anything else, Casey knows how quickly the complexion of this series could change if Ross shots begin to fall. For Ross, the player, that would mean more confidence and likely a more engaged defensive effort, even if he cant guard Johnson one-on-one. For the team it could aid their spacing, take the pressure off Lowry and DeRozan and breathe life into their suffocating offence. Kieran Trippier England Jersey . 5 Trade Deadline is drawing closer and teams will be deciding on whether to buy or sell. Jordan Henderson Jersey . Virtanen opened the scoring at 6:45 of the first period, then gave Canada a two-goal lead with a power-play goal 1:03 into the second. Sweden cut the lead in half when Daniel Muzito Bagenda scored a power-play goal at 10:57 of the second.The Buffalo Sabres started their rebuilding project in earnest, dealing their best player to the New York Islanders for a first-line winger and two draft picks. Numbers Game breaks down the deal sending Thomas Vanek to the Islanders for Matt Moulson and picks. The Islanders Get: LW Thomas Vanek. Vanek, 29, is one of the most prolific goal-scorers in the league, having tallied 229 goals since 2006-2007, ranking fifth in the league behind Alex Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla and Dany Heatley over that span. Given the age and circumstances around the others in that group, Ovechkin would be the only one of those four that holds more current value as a goal-scorer. This season, Vanek has four goals, nine points and a minus-5 rating in 13 games, and the minus rating is relatively fitting to the lopsided puck possession stats when Vanek (or most of the Sabres) have been on the ice this season. Throughout his career, Vaneks puck possession numbers have been okay, but not outstanding, largely because the strength of his game is not carrying the puck and creating chances, its more about his finishing ability and what he can do when he gets the puck deep in the offensive zone. Even this season, with his most common linemates including Cody Hodgson, Steve Ott and Drew Stafford, Vanek is generating a career-high 3.85 shots per game, playing a career-high 18:37 per game, but hes scored on a career-low 8.0% of his shots, well below his career average of 15.1%, so if Vanek continues to get significant ice time with the Islanders and he can continue to generate shots at this rate, he could put up some big numbers by seasons end. Pro-rating his shots per game, combined with his career-shooting percentage in the 71 games the Islanders have remaining, would give Vanek 41 goals, in addition to the four he has already. Of course, Vanek may not score at his career rate or generate shots at the same rate that he has through 13 games with the Sabres this season, but if 45 goals is the upside based on those numbers, its certainly reasonable to expect 30-35 goals. In the last year of a contract that pays him nearly $7.143-million, Vanek will be an unrestricted free agent at seasons end. There has already been speculation that Vanek, who played collegiately at the University of Minnesota, wants to sign with the Minnesota Wild when that time comes. But thats well in the future. Vanek might find out he likes it on the Island, playing with John Tavares and fellow University of Minnesota alum Kyle Okposo. For whatever its worth, the Islanders also have another Austrian, Michael Grabner, on the roster. The opportunity to produce for a more competitive team and play with a fellow countryman wont have as much sway as the contract that Vanek gets offered as a free agent and that is where the Islanders are in a tricky spot. If they decide that Vanek is as good as advertised and they want to commit to him long-term, theyre going to be paying for whatever production he gives them after the age of 30, which means decline is going to be a major factor when it comes to a deal that is likely going to be in the neighbourhood of seven or eight years. Worse, if Vanek is productive this year, there will probably be other teams lined up to offer that long-term contract, because teams are easily seduced by goal-scorers and Vanek can score goals. While itss definitely worth being aware of those scenarios, they are situations to be dealt with in the future. Trent Alexander-Arnold Jersey. By adding Vanek, the Islanders give themselves a better shot at this years playoffs, perhaps feeling more aggressive in a weakened Metropolitan Division, and the chance to make a second straight playoff appearance would be progress for a franchise that hasnt made back-to-back playoff appearances since 2002-2003 and 2003-2004. If it all goes wrong and the Islanders fall out of playoff contention, they could still flip Vanek before the trade deadline to mitigate their loss of assets. The Sabres Get: LW Matt Moulson, a first-round pick in 2014 and second-round pick in 2015. Moulson, who turns 30 November 1, is a three-time 30-goal scorer, and ranks 10th with 118 goals since the start of the 2009-2010 season. The issue that pops up when evaluating Moulson is whether or not he can continue produce at a high level without John Tavares as his centre. Not surprisingly, Moulson fares better with Tavares than without, but its not a massive difference, so its fair to expect Moulson to be able to score if he plays alongside Cody Hodgson on the Sabres top line and gets regular work on the first power play unit. Its also worth noting that PA Parenteau had that same question lobbed in his direction when he left the Islanders as a free agent, but hes done just fine, scoring 50 points in 58 games with Colorado. If the Sabres give Moulson the ice time that was going to Vanek, that ought to provide an opportunity to challenge for his fourth career 30-goal season. Moulson already has six goals, nine points and a plus-3 rating through 11 games this season, but hes scoring on a career-high 21.4% of his shots thus far, a number that is notably higher than his career shooting percentage (14.0%), so some regression ought to be expected. For the Sabres purposes, though, if they can cajole some goal scoring out of Moulson, that could leave open the possibility of dealing Moulson, who will be an unrestricted free agent, before the trade deadline (and possibly much sooner) and netting another first-round pick, perhaps with a prospect or another pick. Adding that potential return for Moulson, to the picks that the Sabres received for Vanek, brings a return that would have been difficult to acquire from a single team, so there is reason to be optimistic about the total haul of assets being acquired. At the same time, this is a rebuilding job that is going to take some time because the Sabres, who are already the worst team in the league right now, are dealing away their best player. By the time those picks become productive NHLers, if they even become NHLers, Vanek and Moulson may be in the twilight of their careers. If a first-round pick from the Islanders falls in the 15-20 range, there is a better than even chance that the pick will be an NHL player, though highly unlikely that the pick would yield a star player. Add in a second-round pick that yields about a 30% chance of producing an NHL player and the Sabres ought to eventually have something to show for dealing Vanek, but thats small consolation to a team sitting at the bottom of the standings that just moved out their best scorer. Scott Cullen can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook. Cheap Hoodies From China Discount NFL Shirts Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Cheap NFL Jerseys China Wholesale China Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys From China Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Fast Shipping China Jerseys Stitched Jerseys ' ' '