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#1 17/07/14 08:15:32

krstking2
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could hurt a team of this ability," Pearce said

TORONTO - On the eve of the All-Star starters announcement, just before the leagues coaches begin to fill out their ballots for the reserves, DeMar DeRozan made his case a little bit more compelling. Cassius Marsh Seahawks Jersey . A career performance, just when his team needed it most, may be enough to sway a vote or two and send the Raptors fifth-year guard to New Orleans. "Oh man, hes definitely been playing well, All-Star level," said Amir Johnson, shortly after watching his teammate go off for a career-high 40 points in the Raptors come-from-behind win, 93-85 over the Mavericks on Wednesday. "Hes a big reason why weve been so successful." Coming into the game, the Raptors had dropped three of four, all to losing teams missing their best player. The 25-win Mavericks were a different animal, though they too were without leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki, and after 12 minutes this had disaster written all over it. "I thought it was going to be a blow out," Dwane Casey admitted, his team down by 19 going into the second quarter, trailing by as many as 21 in the first. DeRozan kept his team afloat in the first half. He scored 12 of their 15 first-quarter points, accounting for four of their five field goals. He was playing well, having the sort of outing that winds up forcing its way into the bottom of a somber game story, a footnote at the end of another horrific defeat. Then he took his game, and most importantly his team, to another level, a ridiculous level. "He got in the flow of the game," Casey said of DeRozan, who scored 15 points in the third quarter, then another nine in the fourth, missing just two shots in the second half. "He was running the pick-and-roll, they started blitzing him, he did a good job of finding [his teammates] and then the ball found him back and that was good. It was a growth on his part from being double teamed but being patient enough to get the ball back and be able to score." The Raptors guard was remarkable coming out of the break, knocking down off balance jumpers, getting to the rim at will but most importantly, he was efficient and he got to the free throw line. DeRozan needed just 22 shots to become the seventh player in franchise history to record 40 points, connecting on nine of 14 attempts from the stripe and knocking down his only three-pointer. He matched his previous career-high - 37, set three times - with a nifty spin and reverse layup, solidifying a new personal best on the subsequent free throw with 3:38 remaining. For him, the accomplishment was gravy. Despite his recent fourth-quarter struggles, DeRozan came through for his team in the clutch. That three-point play broke the tie and gave the Raptors a lead they would go on to hold for the duration of the night. "This loss would have hurt," DeRozan said. "We didnt want to lose three in a row. I just told myself, just try to do as much as I can to win, try to pull this one off and keep my team in it." DeRozan was saddled with more of the offensive burden on Wednesday, as fellow All-Star candidate Kyle Lowry battled a stomach flu that had the Raptors point guard running to the locker room, back and forth throughout the evening. Lowry scored just three points, misfiring on all 10 of his field goal attempts in 35 hard-fought minutes. "Once I [saw] Kyle go back [to the locker room] and he came back, he had his head down and holding his stomach, I could tell he wasnt feeling too well," DeRozan said. "He didnt stop playing," Casey said, crediting Lowry. "He dove on the floor, got his hands on loose balls, he affected the game without scoring." Casey continues to contact his fellow coaches, campaigning for both guards to get the nod and represent the Raptors as reserves in next months All-Star game, set to take place in New Orleans on Feb. 16. The starters for both East and West teams will be announced live on TNT on Thursday and the reserves, to be voted in by the coaches, will be revealed a week later, also on TNT. With representatives from Miami and Indiana expected to monopolize the Eastern Conference roster, its unlikely Toronto will have more than one All-Star. Of the two, DeRozans bid has been gaining some traction, according to league sources. Entering Wednesdays games, DeRozan ranked 12th in the NBA in scoring, fifth in the East and has tallied 20 or more points in nine of 12 contests during the month of January. Returning to Toronto for the second time since last seasons trade, Jose Calderon - beloved Raptors alum - was genuinely proud of Lowry and long-time teammate DeRozan. "Theyre just playing better, they just have that confidence and theyre playing at a very high level every game," Calderon said of the Raptors backcourt duo prior to Wednesdays game. "I really enjoy watching them and its great. Hopefully they get that call and they can be in New Orleans. Its always great to see your [former] teammates being successful and Im really happy for them." Like his first return, as a member of the Pistons last year, Calderon was greeted by a standing ovation during pre-game introductions at the Air Canada Centre. Another former Raptor, Vince Carter, received a mixed reception, which was verging on positive for the first time since his messy divorce with the franchise nearly nine years ago. Thanks to another admirable performance from the Raptors bench, who helped turn things around in the second quarter, and some late-game heroics from the slumping Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas, DeRozans career night was not wasted. Greivis Vasquez scored a season-high 17 to go along with seven assists, also picking up the slack for the flu-ridden Lowry. Meanwhile, Casey entrusted both Johnson and Valanciunas with crucial fourth-quarter playing time despite subpar starts, the frontcourt duo combining for 10 points in that final period. The Raptors 21-point comeback victory was their largest of the year, besting last months win in Dallas, where they overcame a 19-point deficit. Toronto sweeps the season series with the Mavs for the second time in franchise history and first since 1996-97, wrapping up the first half of the campaign with a winning record. "Were ahead of schedule," Casey said, assessing his teams progress 41 games in. "Were winning some games in our building and were happy with that." "But were still not a finished product. [We] have a lot of work to do." Jeremy Lane Seahawks Jersey . Torontos embattled mayor showed up at Rogers Centre on Sunday to watch his Argonauts lose the East final to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 36-24, ignoring a request from the CFLs commissioner that he stay away. Steve Largent Seahawks Jersey . Pool signed with the Jets last off-season after spending his first five NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the deal.WEMBLEY, England -- Plagued by injuries since the 2010 World Cup, Arjen Robben provided a timely reminder of his enduring quality by scoring a pair of classy goals in the Netherlands 3-2 friendly win over England on Wednesday, 100 days before Euro 2012. By opening and closing the scoring in at Wembley Stadium, the brilliant but fragile winger helped end a three-match winless run for the Dutch. It was just his second international appearance since the 2010 World Cup final. After a cagey first half, Robben broke the deadlock in the 57th minute. The Bayern Munich player picked up possession inside his own half, sprinted to the other end of the pitch through a hesitant English defence and blasted the ball past goalkeeper Joe Hart. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar doubled the Dutch lead with a powerful header within two minutes, but England staged a late comeback under interim coach Stuart Pearce, with Gary Cahill and Ashley Young scoring twice in the last five minutes. However in stoppage time, Englands defence allowed Mark van Bommel to get hold of the ball and pick out Robben, leaving the former Chelsea and Real Madrid star to send a deflected shot into the net. So while the Netherlands played in a new all-black away strip with the words Nieuwe Meesters -- New Masters -- embroidered into the collars, it was an old and familiar face who did the damage. "Players like Arjen Robben ... can change the game," England captain Scott Parker said. "It was a touch of brilliance tonight from Robben." After setbacks in October and November for the Dutch, this victory puts Bert van Marwijks side back on the right track ahead of the European Championship, which starts in June. "Before this game we had a bad series, because we lost against Germany 3-0 ... (and) against Sweden and Switzerland we had difficulties," Robben said. "We have a great squad, great potential still, although everybodys getting a year older. "But were still at a good age and we go to the Euros to win, no doubt about that. Not with arrogance, but I think if you have a great squad you go to a tournament to win and not to reach the quarterfinals." That is the furthest England has reached in the last decade at any tournament, going out even earlier at the World Cup two years ago. And the hosts, who were unbeaten through 2011, had a disappointing start to the uncertain new era following Fabio Capellos resignation earlier this month. "They needed a touch more belief that they could hurt a team of this ability," Pearce said. Pearce harbours hopes of leading England at Euro 22012 if the Football Association cannot find a full-time successor for Capello before then. Anthony McCoy Seahawks Jersey. . The under-21 England coach dropped several experienced players, giving younger players a chance to shine against the Dutch. "If we had come away from here 2-2 there might have been a better feel," Pearce said. "But it wont affect my mentality in any way. I feel I would be confident in taking the squad to the Euros." The Netherlands squad showed more continuity, with the starting eleven including nine who started in the World Cup final. The visitors had the Premier Leagues top scorer -- Arsenals Robin van Persie -- up front and left Huntelaar, the leading Bundesliga scorer, on the bench initially. Meanwhile in Englands attack, Manchester Uniteds Danny Welbeck was playing only his fourth international and searching for his first goal which never came. Neither side really came close to scoring, though, until Robbens opener. "We lost against Germany (in November) and didnt want to lose again tonight on the counterattack," Van Marwijk said. "So we played more stable." But almost immediately after Robbens opener, Huntelaar headed in his 31st goal in 50 internationals, after Dirk Kuyt found the space to cross from the right flank. The scorer was forced off after clashing heads in the process of scoring, with England defender Chris Smalling being sent to hospital for scans. "At 2-0, we could have fallen apart really," Parker said. "We dug in and we got ourselves back." Cahill raced onto a pass from Leighton Baines in the 85th and the English looked to have salvaged a draw when Young chipped the ball over goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg after neat linkup play by Theo Walcott and Phil Jones. And then, as Pearce put it: "We probably showed a little bit of naivety." Robben had the final say when he curled the ball into the English net, ending their nine-game unbeaten run since a loss to France in November 2010. -------- Lineups: England: Joe Hart, Micah Richards, Leighton Baines, Chris Smalling (Phil Jones, 64), Gary Cahill, Gareth Barry (James Milner, 46), Scott Parker, Adam Johnson (Stewart Downing, 61), Ashley Young, Steven Gerrard (Daniel Sturridge, 33), Danny Welbeck (Fraizer Campbell, 80). Netherlands: Maarten Stekelenburg, Khalid Boulahrouz (Ron Vlaar, 82), Johnny Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Erik Pieters (Stijn Schaars, 46), Mark van Bommel, Dirk Kuyt, Nigel De Jong, Robin Van Persie (Klaas Jan Huntelaar, 46; Luuk De Jong, 62), Wesley Sneijder (Urby Emanuelson, 76), Arjen Robben ' ' '

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