TORONTO - In a play that sort of typified the evening and maybe even their season, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry led a second-q


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TORONTO - In a play that sort of typified the evening and maybe even their season, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry led a second-q

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TORONTO - In a play that sort of typified the evening and maybe even their season, Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry led a second-quarter fast break by delivering a one-handed bounce pass to Greivis Vasquez, who lateraled to the trailing Amir Johnson. Wesley Johnson Jersey . Johnson, the beneficiary of a couple perfectly placed passes, capped off the sequence with a tomahawk slam that put Toronto on top by 20 points. Fouled on the landing, Johnsons momentum carried him into the first row, where he proudly pointed to the team name on his jersey and slapped hands with fans seated on the baseline. It was that kind of night. The proceedings began with the unveiling of a second Atlantic Division Championship banner and concluded with a well-deserved standing ovation just over two hours later. The Raptors - trotting off the court following a 110-100, wire-to-wire win over the Bucks - had set a new franchise record with their 48th victory of the season, while also going 15 games above the .500 mark for the first time in team history. "Its definitely great because we fed off our fans," said DeMar DeRozan, who stood centre court and counted down from three, as the banner was uncovered from the rafters atop Air Canada Centre, hanging adjacent to the one they had earned in 2006-07. The final home game of the season - Fanapolooza, as its been dubbed - had been a somber event for five years running. It was an opportunity for the Raptors loyal, albeit frustrated supporters to come bid farewell to a team that had let them down, a chance to vent their disappointment but mostly to guzzle up free t-shirts, pizza and whatever swag the remorseful organization was offering up. Most importantly, it meant the end of basketball in Toronto for another long summer. Not the case on Monday. Monday night was a celebration, a show of appreciation from a starved fan base to a team that has captured their admiration with resilience and hard play. It was a night of reflection, looking back at where they came from and rejoicing in what theyve accomplished. It wasnt a goodbye. Theyll see them again in five or six days. "Weve got to have some of the most devoted fans in the league," he continued. "Ive been here through the struggles and tough times and our fans were still right there with us on this journey. So it definitely felt good to share it with them because they played a major part in it as well." Although DeRozan was in uniform, available to play if it would have come to that, he was given the night off to rest going into his playoff debut next weekend. As it turns out, they didnt need him, not against the league-worst Bucks on Monday night. It was the 11th time theyve played without a member of their first unit - a group that has won more games than any starting five in franchise history - and the 11th time theyve come away victorious. With the Raptors all-star guard cheerleading from the sidelines, Greivis Vasquez started in his stead, pacing the team with 25 points and seven assists. "It was a fun win," said Vasquez, who knocked down his first six shots, five of them from beyond the arc. "They gave me a chance to start, I just went out there and did my job." Performances like his, like Tyler Hansbroughs double-double in 20 minutes, are a big part of whats gotten them to this point. DeRozan has carried this team more often than not, so too has Lowry - who scored 16 of his 24 points in the second half - but when one or both have needed it, someone has generally been waiting and ready to back them up. "All it takes is the right chemistry, the right group of guys and you can do whatever it takes," DeRozan said. "You dont need no big name players, you dont need this, that and the third, what people supposedly say you need. Were proof of that and we continue to keep growing, keep learning and keep building. On to the next step." The next step, as the Raptors leading scorer puts it, is Wednesdays regular season finale in New York. With a win over the Knicks, Toronto would lock down the Eastern Conferences third seed and face whomever slots into sixth, most likely Washington. The Raptors would fall to fourth and play the fifth place team - likely Brooklyn - if they should lose on Wednesday and the Bulls defeat the Bobcats in Charlotte. "Im more worried about us, more so than who we play," said Casey. "Its about us, about our health, the rest, whatever we decide to do in that situation. If we play Brooklyn we play Brooklyn. If we play Washington we play Washington. There are no easy teams left in the playoffs right now. All of the teams are very capable. Brooklyn is probably more playoff-ready. But we cant control that. And Im not going into [Wednesdays] game trying to control that." The Raptors coach said he has not decided whether DeRozan - second in the NBA in minutes logged this year - will play in Wednesdays season finale. Home sweet home The Raptors will finish the season with 26 wins at home for the fourth time in franchise history. After dropping eight of their first 12 games at the ACC, they have become one of the toughest teams to beat on home court, winning 22 of 29 since the end of December. "Coach definitely stressed to us, weve got to protect home court," DeRozan said of the turnaround. "Thats big. We cant let teams come in here and think they can get wins. We really started taking it personally, understanding weve got to use our crowd to our advantage. Everybody bought in, so every time we were home we felt comfortable and felt that we could get any win." "I think our guys have gotten better, matured, improved, I think more than anything else," Dwane Casey said of their success at home. "You should have the same approach whether youre on the road, playing on the moon, wherever youre playing youve got to have the same approach and our guys have done a good job of that, whether were on the road or at home." They were undefeated, 19-0 in games they led going into the fourth quarter in Toronto, something that should serve them well as they go into the first round of the playoffs with home-court advantage. The stat With their fourth straight win over Milwaukee, the Raptors swept the season series with the Bucks for the first time in team existence. The quote "We had group at the start of the season that was motivated, dedicated to winning," said Lowry, "and when everything didnt pan out we made a move and we got a group of guys who came in that really filled the voids that we needed. Everyone is on the same page. Marcus Williams Jersey . Hes the same player he always was, only now his efforts are being rewarded. The rookie manager has made a habit of heaping praise on others when things are going well, and accepting criticism when they arent. But in the case of Hurtado, its what the coach is NOT saying that may be the secret to a superb run of form. Darron Lee Jersey .C. -- Unable to get much lift off his sore right ankle, Bobcats centre Al Jefferson figured it was time to make an adjustment. http://www.authenticjetsfanatic.com/c-59-jets-steve-mclendon-jersey.aspx .Y. -- The Buffalo Bills will head into the regular season short on experience at quarterback after trimming the roster on Friday. SAN FRANCISCO -- Jhonny Peralta knew he hit it well. He didnt know how well until the ball landed in the seats. Peraltas two-run homer produced the first runs scored by St. Louis in its first at-bat since June 18, a span of 14 games, leading the Cardinals past the reeling San Francisco Giants 7-2 on Thursday. "Id heard from the guys that you need to hit it hard to get it out here," Peralta said. Carlos Martinez (2-3) earned his second win as a starter and added a two-run single for the Cardinals, who won their second straight after losing three in a row. Martinez allowed a run and five hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out six. "Weve had our struggles at the plate," Peralta said. "It was good to start it off in the first inning." Madison Bumgarner (9-6) fell to 0-3 over his past four home starts after allowing five runs -- four earned -- and six hits over five innings. He walked three and struck out six. Bumgarner also drove in a run for the Giants, who have lost 17 of 22 and fell out of first place in the NL West. "You always want to play at home and I havent pitched very good here all year," Bumgarner said. "I dont know what it is. You cant give in, you have to keep grinding." Help could be on the way. The Giants optioned first baseman Adam Duvall to Triple-A Fresno after the game in anticipation of recalling Brandon Belt in time for Fridays game in San Diego. "Hes somebody we like having out there," Bumgarner said. "Its not going to do anything but help us." Angel Pagan may return to the Giants lineup early next week, giving them some semblance of order at the top of the lineup. Matt Carpenter continued ripping Giants pitching, extending his hitting streak against them to 11 games with a 2-for-4 effort. He has a .519 (28 for 54) career average against the Giants and has hit safely in 18 of his 20 games, including the post-season, against them. "Its one of those crazy things," Carpenter said. "Luck has been on my side so far I guess." YYadier Molina added three hits and Oscar Tavares, John Jay and Shane Robinson each drove in a run for the Cardinals. Keyshawn Johnson Jersey. Peraltas first-inning home run, after Carpenter drew a walk, put St. Louis ahead to stay. "I was able to work the walk and Jhonny hit the home run," Carpenter said. "That kind of set the tone and we found a way to pile it on." Bumgarner drove in a run for the Giants in the third, but then gave up three runs in the fourth -- two on a single from Martinez. Robinson, pinch hitting for Martinez in the sixth, tripled home a run. Tavares added an RBI in the seventh. The Giants loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, but Martinez got Buster Posey on a swinging strike three to end the threat. In the sixth, Tyler Colvin walked, Adam Duvall singled and Brandon Crawford punched a single into right field. An error allowed Colvin to score. Sam Freeman, Seth Maness and Jason Motte combined to keep the Giants at bay. NOTES: Giants INF Joe Panik batted second, where he hit for Triple-A Fresno, as manager Bruce Bochy tweaked the lineup. "He has some sense of comfort there," Bochy said. ... OF Hunter Pence hit lead off and OF Gregor Blanco was dropped to eighth. ... INF Marco Scutaro continues to make progress and if hes fine after playing for the second straight day for the Arizona Rookie League Giants, he could be elevated to Fresno by Sunday. . RHP Matt Cain (1-6, 4.38) pitches for the Giants when they open a three-game series at San Diego on Friday. Hes 7-13 lifetime against the Padres. ... RHP Lance Lynn (8-6, 3.38) pitches for the Cardinals when they open a three-game set with the Miami Marlins in St. Louis. Hes 2-0 with a 5.79 ERA against the Marlins. ... Cardinals OF Allen Craig was given a day off. He was hitting .176 on the road trip. ... Cardinals RHP Joe Kelly will make two more rehab starts and return after the All-Star Break. . 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh met with Cardinals manager Mike Matheny after the game. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '


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