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#1 2018-09-13 07:20:59

lw789
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Registered: 2010-10-12
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[Ive] just got to live with that." Wh

TORONTO - With just over two minutes remaining in the first half of Mondays win over the lowly Bucks, Kyle Lowry dumped the ball into Jonas Valanciunas on the left block. Isolated against Ersan Ilyasova, Valanciunas turned to face up, took one dribble and barreled into the smaller defender, who took the charge. As Milwaukee called a timeout, Lowry followed the Raptors promising sophomore centre straight to the bench. "Know your opponent," he implored, instructing Valanciunas to post-up when he has a size and strength advantage over the defender. The Raptors were up by 14 at the time, they would go on to win by 22 and Valanciunas would register his 12th double-double of the campaign, four more than he totalled as a rookie last season. Still, Lowry was all over the gaffe. The two have developed a mutually beneficial mentor-protégé relationship. "Hes kind of like a coach," Valanciunas said of Lowry after practice the day prior. He knows a lot, he tries to help everybody, especially me because Im the young guy." Lowry has been as tough on the young centre as anyone in the Raptors organization and as such his fingerprints can be found all over the 21-year-olds continued development. "Hes been great," coach Dwane Casey told TSN.ca, speaking of Lowry and the leadership role hes taken with Valanciunas. "He has a way of getting on him but yet still he has a relationship with him that he can talk to him that way. "Other people may not understand it but Kyles done a great job of working with Jonas, letting him know what he needs to do. [Hes] just been a great mentor to him. Thats been huge for Jonas." Both players are approaching the middle of their second season together in Toronto. Lowry was acquired in a trade from Houston in July of 2012, just around the same time Valanciunas - Torontos fifth overall pick in 2011 - had arrived from Lithuania. After missing the bulk of training camp with injuries last season, both of their Raptor careers got off to shaky starts. While Lowry struggled through injuries, fluctuating playing time and philosophical differences with the coaching staff, Valanciunas experienced the growing pains you would expect from a 20-year-old getting accustomed to his surroundings in a new country, in a new league. Valanciunas has seen his playing time increase by five minutes per night in his second season; hes regularly on the court during crucial moments at the end of games and he is becoming more of a focal point in Torontos offence. However, as both his coach and his point guard would tell you, hes far from a finished product. He continues to make nightly mistakes - with his positioning, in the pick-and-roll game, and on defence, particularly as the help man - and Lowry is usually the first person to let him hear about it. "Every time he messes up we talk about it," Lowry said. "I tell him what he did and then he fixes it and I congratulate him when he does it [right]. "I think he has the skills and he has the heart and he has the right mentality to be one of the best bigs in the league," the Raptors point guard continued. "My constructive criticism is just tough, big brother love. I think the world of him, I think he can be so good [and] thats why I push him. Im always going to be tough on him because I know how good hes going to be." Lowry, an eight-year NBA vet, is also coming into his own, playing the best basketball of his career and spearheading the Raptors recent resurgence. "Thats just coming from buying in if you ask me," former Raptors teammate Alan Anderson said of Lowry. Most importantly - for a player that will be in the market for a new contract this summer - he is well on his way to shedding the reputation that has followed him like a dark cloud over the years. "Kyles showed hes been a positive leader," Casey said over the weekend. "I think that was the biggest question among coaches around the league, could he be a positive leader and be productive on the court." Not only has he been productive, averaging career-highs across the board, but hes been the consummate professional his team has desperately needed him to be while remaining a positive influence on his younger teammates, namely Valanciunas. Occasionally combative, Lowrys fiery nature has often been misunderstood. The reality - which his teammates and coaches have come to accept and appreciate - is, he holds himself and everyone around him to an incredibly high standard. He is a fierce competitor with an unrelenting will to win.  Lowry is a strong personality, certainly not the first Casey has coached. The Raptors coach worked with future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and current Nets bench boss Jason Kidd in Dallas, but Lowrys leadership style reminds him of another hard-nosed point guard from his past. "The guards that Ive had, Gary Payton was one of the [toughest]," Casey said, having coached 'The Glove as an assistant in Seattle. "He would use some colourful words to talk with his teammates but they understood it, he had a relationship with [them], just like Kyle. Kyle reminds me so much of Gary in the fact that he can talk to players in a certain way that they understand because he has their respect and he has a relationship with them. "As long as you have that relationship and you back it up with love and real sugar than you can get on guys but I havent seen Kyle be overly tough on JV, just when he needs it and just the right amount." As Casey points out, Lowry walks a fine line between tough love and going too far, but he does it with precision. Hes hard on Valanciunas because he recognizes the young mans upside but also, and most importantly, he knows the seven-footer can take it. "Hes really receptive," Lowry said, "because I tell him, I tell him why Im so tough on him and he understands that. "He knows how to do it," said Valanciunas, who has thick skin, having played professionally in Europe since he was 15. "I understand hes my teammates, he wants me to do good and [Ive] just got to live with that." Whether or not Valanciunas realizes or fully appreciates it now, Lowry should have a long-lasting impact on his auspicious NBA career. As for Lowry, his future with the team remains uncertain but wherever he ends up, after cashing in on this seasons revival, his Raptors legacy will live on in the growth of the franchises emerging centre. JK Scott Packers Jersey . The Sioux Falls Canaries scored two in the seventh and three more in the eighth to come back from a 3-0 deficit and defeat the Winnipeg Goldeyes 5-3 in front of 6,769 at Shaw Park on Sunday afternoon. Jimmy Graham Jersey . TSN Hockey Insiders Pierre LeBrun and Bob McKenzie both reported Thursday that there have been ongoing trade discussions between the Oilers and Los Angeles Kings over forward Sam Gagner. http://www.officialpackersteamgears.com … re-jersey/. Jamies number grades given are out of five, with five being the best mark. Darcy Kuemper, Minnesota (5): He was calm, poised, and looked comfortable all game. JK Scott Jersey . Sociedad remained in sixth place with Villarreal a point behind in seventh, both in Europa League spots and in striking distance of fourth place and the final Champions League berth. Sociedad forward Carlos Vela chipped goalkeeper Jaime Jimenez after receiving an equally exquisite lobbed pass from Ruben Pardo to set him up in the 23rd minute at Anoeta Stadium. Josh Jackson Packers Jersey .com) - The Chicago Blackhawks take aim at their longest winning streak of the season on Sunday when they host the Calgary Flames in a battle at the United Center. PITTSBURGH -- Russell Martin has played long enough to realize that games in early June are rarely pivotal. Yet the Pirates veteran catcher admitted that Friday nights win felt good as Pittsburgh tries to stay with striking distance of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. Martin had three hits, including a three-run double during an eight-run sixth inning, and the Pirates rolled to a 15-5 victory over the Brewers, handing nemesis Kyle Lohse his first loss since April 1. The Pirates still trail the Brewers by six games, primarily because they have gone 3-8 against Milwaukee this season. The win was Pittsburghs sixth in its last eight games. "Anytime in the season where you can just feed off each other like that, its going to be a fun time," Martin said. "Especially against a team that were trailing right now. If you can beat up on a good team, it definitely does give you confidence." Martins double keyed an inning that increased Pittsburghs lead to 13-3 and included Jose Tabata hitting two RBI singles and reliever Tyler Thornburg issuing two bases-loaded walks. The Pirates sent 13 batters to the plate. "We were able to barrel some balls and we took some walks," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The hits were nice, the walks were kind of runaway walks. Not many pitches were close in the walk sequence, it is what it is." Lohse (7-2) had won seven consecutive decisions, the longest active streak in the major leagues, but was tagged for eight runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. He had won his last six decisions against the Pirates, dating to 2011, and pitched a three-hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs five days earlier. "I could go inning by inning about everything that went wrong but it was just one of those games where they hit good pitches and they hit bad pitches," Lohse said. "The best thing to do is forget about it and get ready for the nextt one.dddddddddddd Thats the approach I took after I threw the shutout and thats the approach this time." Rookie Brandon Cumpton (1-2) allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings after giving up 11 runs -- the most by a major league pitcher this season -- in 3 2-3 innings in losing his previous start at the Los Angeles Dodgers last Saturday. "I really just put my head down and got back to work after that last start," Cumpton said. "I was just trusting my stuff and know its going to be there. It was great to get out there and get back on the horse." Andrew McCutchen homered and doubled for the Pirates while Jordy Mercer homered and hit an RBI single. Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez and Scooter Gennett all had two hits for the Brewers. McCutchen doubled in a run and scored on Martins single in the first inning as the Pirates jumped on Lohse early. McCutchens seventh homer, a solo shot in the third, made it 3-0. NOTES: Pittsburgh LF Starling Marte, who is hitless in his last 20 at-bats, did not start for a third straight game. Tabata took his place for a second straight game. ... Milwaukee LHP Tom Gorzelanny, who is rehabbing from off-season shoulder surgery, pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Nashville on Friday night against Memphis in a PCL game. Though he has allowed two runs in 14 innings in nine games, Gorzelanny likely wont be ready to be activated from the DL when his 30-day rehab assignment ends next Friday. ... Pirates RHP Stolmy Pimentel, who is on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, pitched three scoreless innings in a rehab start for Double-A Altoona against Trenton in the Eastern League. ... RHP Vin Mazzaro accepted an outright assignment by Pittsburgh to Triple-A Indianapolis after clearing waivers. He was designated for assignment May 26. ... Brewers RHP Matt Garza (3-4, 4.42) faces RHP Edinson Volquez (3-4, 4.25) on Saturday. 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