MIAMI – The Toronto Raptors havent defeated the Miami Heat since January 27, 2010, less than five months before the Big Three joined forces in Miami. Santi Cazorla Jersey . Thats 14 consecutive losses to the two-time defending champs, and most of them were over before they even began. Result notwithstanding, Sundays game had a very different feel to it. The Raptors believed they had a chance, they felt like they should win and to their credit, they nearly pulled it out. The mentality has changed and so too have the expectations, evident in the visitors locker room after the teams 102-97 loss at AmericanAirlines Arena. "I like the way our guys fought," coach Dwane Casey said after the loss, his teams first in six games. "But, again, you dont get a win or any medals or anything for losing." "I like what our guys are building. I know where we are. Ive said it, I havent wavered from it. I like the direction were going. Were building something [but when] youre playing against the best, youve got to do the little things and there cant be any slippage." Riding a five-game winning streak, which included an impressive victory over the conference-best Pacers, the Raptors never looked out of place against the second-place Heat. They led by as many as nine in the third, up five going into the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie when Kyle Lowry missed a step-back triple with four seconds remaining. The performance validated the legitimacy of their recent success and proved they can compete with the leagues best. That may be a revelation to those who are just tuning in but it comes as no surprise internally, as Lowry firmly pointed out. "We played the Pacers a couple games ago and played them tough, we played the top two teams tough, theres no moral victories at all," said the Raptors point guard, who had 14 points and nine assists in the loss. "We just know we can play with anybody, weve been saying that for a long time. We could play with anybody." "It says a lot," added DeMar DeRozan after scoring a game-high 26. "It says no matter who we play were going to go out there and play hard. People are going to have to worry about us when we come in their building or they come in our building. Were not no scrub team." DeRozan - who was spectacular in the first half, shooting 8-of-10 - made just two of his eight fourth-quarter attempts, forcing tough jumpers. As a team, the Raptors shot 29 per cent in the final frame and went an uncharacteristically terrible 12-of-21 from the line on the night. LeBron James, who was guarded primarily by sophomore Terrence Ross, went off for 30 points on just 18 shots. They gave up 14 offensive boards - including three on one possession - to the worst offensive rebounding team in the league. A month ago Casey may have focused on the positives, the fact that his team hung in with the champs. Its a process, he would say. Now he expects more, a true indication of their evolution and how far theyve come since they dropped a pair of games to the Heat at home in November. "You shoot 57 per cent from the free throw line, youre not going to beat too many people, I dont care if its [the] Miami Heat or Miami-Dade High School," he said. "The 30th offensive rebounding team in the league and they get 14. Thats not acceptable for us. Our interior people have to do a better job of finding bodies." He was especially critical of 21-year-old Jonas Valanciunas, who held his own in the second half after getting off to a slow start against a smaller Heat lineup. "Second half he played much better [but] first half he didnt do anything," Casey said. "A lot of those offensive rebounds were coming over his back. Hes got to dominate, especially against a smaller centre to be effective, to stay in the game." Still, Valanciunas was on the floor down the stretch, along with Ross and the rest of the Raptors starters. Casey comfortably stood his ground, forcing Miami to match-up with him rather than the other way around. Finally, the Raptors are well on their way to developing and, most importantly, maintaining an identity. "Weve all noticed," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Torontos improvement before the game. Theres no such thing as a "moral victory" in the NBA. In fact, Casey and company couldnt bear to hear the term after the loss but if Sundays game was a litmus test, as Torontos coach suggested pre-game, than the Raptors came out in pretty good shape. "Were a different team than when we played them before," Casey said ahead of Sundays meeting. "But still, we have to have a healthy amount of respect for the Miami Heat." "Were not thinking that were at the level of the team [we played] tonight, were not there yet, but that is our goal. Were striving to be like the Heat." 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Toronto had built a 2-0 lead on goals by Frazer McLaren and Peter Holland, but Texas charged back with a wild rally late in the second period to spark its trip to the Calder Cup final.TURIN, Italy - Juventus progressed to the knockout stage of the Champions League as it drew 0-0 at home to already qualified Atletico Madrid, which went through as group winner.Juventus, which was eliminated in the final group match last season by Galatasaray, needed just a point to qualify although victory by two goals or more would have seen it leapfrog Atletico into top spot.The home side dominated possession but struggled to create clear-cut scoring opportunities and took almost an hour to first test Atletico goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya.At the end of the day it was the result which counted, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. That was our first aim of the season, to get through the group, and thats never easy.We fought well in the first half and then in the second we tried to score but without risking anything. But were through to the last 16. Now well wait for the draw and focus on the league. Juve showed it can have a great Champions League campaign.Atletico, which was content to soak up the pressure and hit Juventus on the counter, had the best of the chances and also hit the post.We are happy. This is the second year in a row we are in the Champions League and for the second year in a row we go through as group winner, Atletico coach Diego Simeone said. The first half was very intense, with more chances for us. Then in the second half it was a tighter game, we were waiting for the opportunity to counter attack.I am very happy with the work of my lads. The whole squad played well in both games against Juventus.Olympiakos finished third in Group A, a point behind Juventus, with a 4-2 win over Malmo.Juventus was unbeaten in its previous nine European home matches but Atletico — last seasons runner-up — had won five of its past six Champions League away fixtures.Claudio Marchisio was a late injury absentee, with the Juventus midfielder sufferiing from flu. Laurent Koscielny Jersey. Juventus started brightly and had a chance to take the lead after just two minutes when Carlos Tevez was brought down just outside the area. There was an expectant hush as Andrea Pirlo stepped up but he drove his effort into the wall.Shortly afterwards, Juventus almost gifted Atletico a goal but Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon pulled off a save to deny Koke after a flurry of defensive errors had seen the ball arrive with the Atletico midfielder, rushing unmarked into the box.Fernando Llorente just failed to get on the end of a tantalizing Paul Pogba ball into the box and Juventus also had a strong penalty appeal turned down in the 19th minute when Tevezs shot crashed off Diego Godins arm from point-blank range.Juventus had Atletico pinned back inside its half but couldnt manage a shot on target and it was the Spanish side that went closest to taking the lead as Buffon had to palm a dangerous Jose Maria Gimenez header out from under his bar.Buffon was again called into action at the end of the first half, diving smartly to his left to parry Mario Suarezs stinging effort.Atletico went close again minutes after the restart when Gabis corner cracked off the outside of the near post.For all its possession, it took Juventus nearly an hour to have its first shot on target but Moya turned Arturo Vidals shot around the upright.Moya couldnt hold a Pogba snapshot from distance but, with Vidal rushing in, the Atletico defence scrambled it clear to spare their goalkeepers blushes.Juventus fans still had bad memories of last years final group match, when Wesley Sneijders late goal consigned it to the Europa League.But there was little danger of history repeating itself. The tempo had visibly dropped from the first half and, although Vidal and Pogba had attempts from distance, both teams appeared content to play out the draw. Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys 2018 Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale ' ' '
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MIAMI – The Toronto Raptors havent defeated the Miami Heat since January 27, 2010, le - jokergreen0220 - 05-10-2018 10:19

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