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#1 by sakura698 , Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:46 pm

TORONTO - For months weve been hearing all about their impossibly difficult early-season schedule. Vapormax Plus Italia . Through 34 contests, the Raptors have had the most difficult slate of games in the Eastern Conference, according to Theyve played 19 on the road and 16 against winning teams, both tied for most in the East. They have seen both conference finalists, Miami and Indiana three times. In spite of it all, Toronto is right where Dwane Casey had cautiously hoped they would be; at sea level. "These five games are a crucial stretch of games here at home for us," Casey said ahead of Wednesdays 112-91 victory over the Pistons, a win that got Toronto back to the .500 mark. "Its a very crucial time." Following another daunting road trip, capped off by disappointing but expected losses to the Heat and Pacers, the Raptors schedule finally begins to ease up. Wednesdays meeting with Detroit was the first of four straight against losing teams. Four of their next five are at home and only two of the remaining 12 contests in January come against opponents that went into Wednesdays games with winning records. Casey had spoken about using recent tests against the leagues best as a measuring stick for his emerging team but these upcoming few weeks may tell him more about where they stack up in the Eastern Conference. They must continue to win the games they should. Taking care of the Pistons, one of the Easts talented disasters, was a promising first step. Toronto coughed up an 11-point second-quarter lead in what turned out to be an ugly opening half for both teams. DeMar DeRozan and Amir Johnson combined to shoot 0-of-16 while the team was outscored by 16 points in the paint, outworked by another physical frontline. Lucky to be down only four at the break, the Raptors adjusted going into the second half, where they outscored the visitors 62-37. "We pretty much said, this is a must-win game," Johnson maintained. "We have to go out and take it and we did that." Although they shot just 41 per cent from the field, the Raptors knocked down 11 three-pointers, including five from Terrence Ross, who had 17 points on the night. Toronto improved to 8-2 on the season when connecting on 10 or more three-balls. Kyle Lowry led the team in scoring with 21 to go along with nine assists, Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas both added double-doubles and DeRozan finished with 19 points, 13 of which came from the free throw line. "We knew it was going to be a grind it out game and thats something were learning to do," Casey added. "Theres no pretty games in the NBA, its a mans league," he continued. "To win in this league, to win in the Eastern Conference especially - I found out in my three years in it - its a mans [conference]. Its a hit, knockdown, drag out [conference] and the strong survive. Were learning how to do that." The Raptors were a different team coming out of the locker room after intermission. They bested the Pistons in the paint - Detroit leads the league in that category - out-rebounded them and imposed their will on a struggling team that has now lost six in a row. After eight lead changes in the first half, there was just one in the second and it was all the Raptors needed to seize control. "Theyre must-win games," Johnson said. "Theyre all home and we need to win those games just to stay at the top of our division. Theyre must-win games and weve got to come out and play hard." With Brooklyn on deck, followed by games against the woeful Bucks and Celtics, the Raptors have to continue to do just that. Theyve got to seize this opportunity. Although Toronto is just 1-5 facing the Pacers and Heat this season, theyre 11-5 against the rest of the conference. Sitting just one game out of third place in the East - after the Horford-less Hawks upset Indiana on Wednesday - the Raptors are now in a position to validate their recent success. They can separate themselves from the heap of mediocrity theyll be facing throughout the duration of the month of they will end up blending in with them. "Theres no reason for any of us to be content or satisfied or be able to be happy about [where we are]," Casey preached. "Weve got to play like a hungry team. Weve got to continue to grow, weve got to continue to have the underdog attitude because thats where we are. " "Were nowhere near an established program. Im not kidding myself, I know what an established program is all about and were not there yet. We have a lot of growth to do with our core group of guys." Vapormax 2019 Scontate .C. -- Eric Staal kept his focus after his apparent breakaway goal was waived off early in the third period. Vapormax Plus Rosa . - Pierre-Maxime Poudrier scored twice and added an assist, and Antoine Bibeau made 43 saves as the Val-dOr Foreur downed the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 6-3 on Sunday to force Game 7 in their Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final series. . - First-timer Chris Harris Jr.England coach Eddie Jones has warned that three or four players have put their squad places in doubt with poor performances for their club sides. In an interview with Sky Sports News HQ, Jones confirmed several players may find they do not make the national squad for the summer tour to Australia because they have not maintained good habits.Jones did not name the players, but did confirm he has communicated his unhappiness to the concerned parties. There have been three or four that have been absolutely disappointing and theyve obviously put their tour places in jeopardy, he said.We expect those players to go back to their clubs and play like international players and we want them to have good habits - a couple of them havent done that and are in a bit of strife at the moment.Ive spoken to some of them directly and some of them indirectly and theyll understand the situation. The ones who have excuses arent going to make it. There are some players knocking heavily on the door and some of those players will come into contention for the tour squad. Eddie Jones One player who Jones has confirmed he has watched with the summer tour in mind is Leinster centre Benn Teo, who will leave the PRO12 club for Worcester at the end of the season. Vapormax 2019 Uomo. Inside centre Teoo represented New Zealand at youth level in rugby league and also qualifies for Australia but has elected to play for England.There are some players knocking heavily on the door and some of those players will come into contention for the tour squad, he said. Jones enjoys Chelsea visit England head coach spends time with Blues boss Guus Hiddink I watched Ben Teo play for Leinster against Ospreys and he did the simple things well. He straightened the attack, took the ball into contact, threw some short passes and defensively he was tough.There are some really good central responsibilities for a 12 there and certainly hes got to add some bits to his game but he is worth looking at.He could have played for Australia but hes made a conscious decision to play for England and that makes us interested in him. Also See: Jones enjoys Chelsea visit Saracens duo sign new deals Lancaster: I made Burgess error Mallinder backs Harrison for England ' ' '

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