TORONTO - Although Wednesdays overtime loss was one that Jonas Valanciunas would sooner forget than relive, his coach hopes its something the Raptors sophomore centre will learn from. Elgin Baylor Jersey
. In what promised to be a tricky matchup for the 21-year-old, Valanciunas held his own against the crafty Al Jefferson offensively but was taught a lesson or two on the other end. One of those moments occurred at the end of the extra period. Jefferson set a hard screen that freed up Kemba Walker, forcing Valanciunas to switch off and close out on the Bobcats guard. Walker would drain the game-winner over Valanciunas as time expired. "Weve watched film with him [and] work on it with him individually," Dwane Casey said after practice Thursday afternoon. "In the NBA, a lot depends on game experience and hes seeing every different post-up situation." Valanciunas scored 10 points and added six rebounds in 22 minutes of action Wednesday however, Jefferson poured in 24 to go along with 11 boards, leading the Bobcats with five points in overtime. "Hes still in the process, hes still learning the league, learning the speed of the game and again, hes [getting] better," Casey said, commending Valanciunas growth on the offensive end. "I thought he did an excellent job offensively when he got his catches in the post. Hes really grown from that standpoint." His biggest challenge continues to come on the defensive end, where hes still being exposed by quicker, versatile and more experienced big men. Jefferson is a nightmare assignment for any player, let alone a young and developing big. "My whole career, to this day, people always ask who the hardest [players] are to guard and I surprise them every time when I tell them Al Jefferson and Zach Randolph," said veteran forward and new teammate Chuck Hayes, who participated in his first full practice with the Raptors Wednesday. "For their size - theyre so wide - theyre light on their feet and theyve got great footwork and their shooting touch is just as good as any guard in the league." "It sucks that [Valanciunas] went through that torture chamber in a game that we needed before this road trip but its a learning process," Hayes continued. "Well see them again, Im sure and hell remember that overtime where Al got the best of him." Although Valanciunas shares the blame for what went wrong in overtime, theres plenty of it to go around. The Raptors, as a team, missed their first six field goal attempts while DeMar DeRozan shot 1-of-4. You can also cut the seven-footer some slack, given the amount of time he had spent on the bench. Valanciunas sat for over 17 minutes of game time, including the entire fourth quarter, before coming back in to start overtime. Facing Charlottes unconventional frontcourt of Jefferson and Josh McRoberts, a stretch four, Valanciunas became a late-game afterthought once again, sitting out in favour of Amir Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough, and the newly acquired Patrick Patterson. As Casey notes, it is sometimes a give-and-take with Valanciunas on the floor, certainly in a matchup like Wednesdays. Whatever advantage is gained on the offensive end, assuming the team is utilizing it, is often given right back on defence. With the game on the line, Casey - like he has done in past - opted to play it safe with more experienced and versatile defenders at the position. "Thats why its hard to win consistently with young players in the NBA," said the Raptors coach. "Jonas is going to be okay but thats the patience you have to have with a young player; take the good with the bad." While those who expected the world from Valanciunas in his second NBA season may be disappointed in the early returns, Casey is just as realistic as he is optimistic. It wont happen overnight, Casey reiterates regularly. It didnt with Tyson Chandler, it didnt with Roy Hibbert or Joakim Noah and it wont with Valanciunas. Inevitably, developing Valanciunas will become more of a priority now that Rudy Gay has been dealt. The challenge for Casey - who is trying to win first and foremost, as you would expect - centres on finding that balance between competing and nurturing the future of the franchise, a future he may not even be a part of. "I love the challenge of coaching young players, I enjoy that. I enjoy winning more," he said, half-jokingly. "But I understand where we are and what were about." Valanciunas represents the future of this team more than anyone else that is currently on the roster. The expectations, at least internally, have not changed. The word Casey continues to stress is patience. "Its a process," he insists. "Were patient [but] hes our guy, hes our starting centre for a long time and were just going to have to roll with it." Brook Lopez Jersey
.com) - American Madison Keys grabbed a first- round victory on Sunday in a rainy start to the Apia International Sydney tournament. Kurt Rambis Jersey
. - Christophe Lalancette scored a third-period goal and added the shootout winner to lead the Drummondville Voltigeurs to a 5-4 win over the Quebec Remparts in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play on Sunday. http://www.lakersbasketballshop.com/Abdul-Jabbar-Jersey/
. The team said they will announce a corresponding roster move prior to their series opener on Tuesday night in Kansas City.MONTREAL - Usually, David Krejci is piling up points in the post-season, but not this year. The Boston Bruins top-line centre had no goals and only three assists through the first 10 playoff games. Like Max Pacioretty on the opposing Montreal Canadiens, he is starting to feel some heat for his lack of production. "It feels like its right there," Krejci said Monday as the Bruins prepared for a crack at eliminating Montreal in Game 6 of their NHL Eastern Conference semifinal. "We have to start putting the puck in the net more often. "My linemates (Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla) have been doing a pretty good job at it. Theyve been great for me the whole year, so I want to return the favour and try to be better for them." Krejci led the playoffs in scoring with nine goals and 26 points in 22 games a year ago, when the Bruins lost to Chicago in the Stanley Cup final. He also went on a tear when Boston won the Cup in 2011 with 23 playoff points. But while Lucic had a decent three goals and four assists and Iginla scored four times and added two helpers, little has been happening for the guy who normally is the playmaker on the top unit. Other than, as usual, winning well over half of his faceoffs. "I believe my time is about to come and Im going to be big for my team," he said. "I owe it to these guys. "I know we dont live in the past. But Ive been in the position before were I know I can be the player, so Im trying to stay positive. Go out and work hard. My teammates have been doing a good job of winning hockey games, so I believe my time is just around the corner." Second-line centre Patrice Bergeron and the third line centred by Carl Soderberg were the main offensive threats for the Bruins. Krejci hassnt been helped by the opponents Boston has faced. Nick Van Exel Jersey
. Both Montreal and Detroit are quick, skating teams that relay more on puck pressure than physical play. Krejci has struggled against the Canadiens in the past. Coach Claude Julien wasnt surprised to hear that Krejci feels indebted to his teammates. "Hes just a character guy," said Julien. "Hes demanding of himself and hes been a good player for us all year." Krejci was the first player on the ice for their game-day skate, but said he wasnt making any point. "At this time, when youre in a little slump like I am, then you have to work on your game and Ive been trying to do that," he said. "Like I said, I owe it to these guys, so I want to come up big for them." As he did ahead of Game 4, a 1-0 overtime win for Boston at the Bell Centre, Julien played around with his lines at the skate. They were expected to be back to normal by puck-drop. The Canadiens, who skated at their practice rink in Brossard, Que., caused a stir with broad hints that rookie Nathan Beaulieu would start on defence in place of Douglas Murray. Coach Michel Therrien kept his starting lineup to himself, however. "Its been good to be around the group," said Beaulieu, who has been practising with the main group in recent days. "Playoff hockey, it doesnt get any bigger than that, and it doesnt get any bigger than Montreal." It will be the first game since the incident at the end of Game 5 in which Bruins forward Shawn Thornton squirted water from the bench onto P.K. Subbans visor. Thornton was fined by the NHL for unsportsmanlike conduct. Therrien said it may end up helping his team. "A lack of respect can sometimes serve as motivation," he said. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
' ' '