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o was the CONCACAF region which also had Mexico an

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BROOKLYN - With just over four minutes to go in the third quarter, Amir Johnson sat on the bench, wincing in pain as he watched the game and, in effect, his teams season slip away. Jon Ryan Jersey . That seemed like an appropriate time to get a head start on the Raptors playoff obituary. Their first-half onslaught had evaporated, the 17-point lead was no more and Johnson, like Kyle Lowry, was battling foul trouble and a myriad of ailments. At that point the momentum, if you believe in such things, belonged to the hosting Brooklyn Nets. This upstart Raptors team had been in similar situations throughout the season - fighting for their lives, backs up against the wall - but, tied going into the fourth quarter of a critical Game 4, this would be their biggest and most revealing test yet. They had a new audience, a brighter spotlight, a bigger stage and 12 minutes to prove something that they themselves already knew. "Everybody has something on their body that definitely hurts," said Johnson, who injured his knee in a failed attempt to draw a charge on the Nets Paul Pierce, "but we keep playing, we keep fighting. Its not the time to hold back now. Weve got to keep going." The Raptors held Brooklyn without a field goal for the final six minutes, without a point for the last five and in doing so they showed more character than they had at any point in this series. "Thats just us, man," DeMar DeRozan said after scoring a team-high 24 points in the Raptors scrappy 87-79 win on Sunday, tying their best-of-seven opening round series up at 2-2. "Were definitely resilient, were not going to give up until the games over. Were going to fight through." Just as things were at their most bleak - Lowry had picked up his fifth foul and Johnson, still on the bench, was also saddled with five - the Raptors got serious. Slightly out of character, DeRozan drew a charge, then he took another. Was that a first? "Nah, I dont think so," the all-star guard said with a smirk on his face as Lowry, sitting next to him, chuckled. "I hope its not." Then Lowry, throwing caution to the wind, reached in and poked the ball away from Pierce. Johnson followed suit and in a familiar scene - one that earned him his fifth foul and a sore knee earlier - stepped in to take the charge. Both Lowry and Johnson were one foul away from spending the rest of the game watching from the sidelines, one hit to the knee away from spending the rest of the night on the trainers table. Neither player seemed willing to allow his team to lose. "Theyre fighters," said Jonas Valanciunas. "Theyre soldiers. They go on the court anyway. So its good when you have those types of guys on your team." Everyone is dealing with bumps and bruises to some degree at this point in the season. Who wasnt limping out there tonight, Valanciunas was asked. "Julyan Stone," the young centre said with a smile. But there was Lowry, limping up and down the court between possessions, lying next to the bench to stay loose when he wasnt in the game. He had tweaked his reoccurring right knee injury early in Game 3, on top of all the nicks hes accumulated over a long season, but he gutted it out again. Where would his team be without him? "We would have probably got in a fight if I tried to take him out of the game," coach Dwane Casey joked. "Hes dealing with a lot right now and he came through with flying colours. He fought through foul trouble, a little bit of adversity throughout the game and still came through. Lowry scored 12 of his 22 points in the second half and once again, with the game on the line, his team resembled their point guard, their leader, their best player. "I am not surprised at all that Kyle was limping around, hes a warrior, hes everything to this team," said Chuck Hayes. "The guy gives it his all, we just feed off of him. Then we tease him about it after, hes going to have probably every ice bag in here on his body." "We dont give up man, were some fighters," Hayes continued. "We play like the underdog, we were the underdog probably all year, including this series. I dont know, we just go out there and play for each other." Go ahead, underestimate them, disrespect them and count them out. They feed off it. If respect is earned in the postseason, perhaps the Raptors are starting to turn heads. "We understand that this is a group thats not going to back down, thats not going to give up," Pierce said after the game. "Theyve earned a lot of peoples respect around the league. Just because you dont have a lot of playoff experience doesnt mean youre not a good team. You can learn on the fly." Theyve done just that, now its a whole new ball game. The Raptors will return to Toronto and their raucous crowd at the Air Canada Centre after reclaiming home-court advantage for what has become a best-of-three set, beginning with Wednesdays Game 5. Have they played their best basketball? "No," Lowry and DeRozan answered in unison, but there is a growing sense of belief in the room coinciding with an ambiance of nervousness that spread throughout Barclays Center as Toronto hit back on Sunday. The Raptors may not be in over their heads after all. "Were on a mission," Casey said. "Were not just here trying to win a game. We want to make sure we stay poised, stay focused on our business. Thats what weve been about all year." Jeremy Lane Jersey . As analysts we do the same thing, so here are some observations from week one. First there were two major upsets. I should say, major upsets in the eyes of the fans and prognosticators. Amara Darboh Jersey . His fellow Finn, 21 years his junior, had just arrived in Anaheim and was hoping to stick with the Ducks. http://www.footballseahawksfanatics.com/authentic-tyler-lockett-seahawks-jersey/ . Numbers Game looks into the Canadiens securing the services of Thomas Vanek in a trade with the New York Islanders. The Canadiens Get: LW Thomas Vanek and a conditional fifth-round pick.GENEVA -- Risk-taking and counterattacks are the new fashion in football, according to a FIFA study of World Cup teams tactics. "The trend is for teams to play positively and do everything to win a game rather than merely not lose," FIFAs panel of coaching experts working in Brazil reported Friday. The best teams were rewarded for being "not afraid of losing their shape for brief moments," the 284-page document noted. "Outstanding fast transitions and counterattacking tactics," were praised as the most effective strategy at a World Cup which equaled the tournament record for most goals and was widely praised as the best in a generation. It was a different story four years ago. Then, the football was so poor in South Africa that FIFA President Sepp Blatter asked a task force to suggest ways of making football more entertaining. Though that panel achieved little, in Brazil the teams, coaches and players rose to their challenge. "The tempo of the game was impressive -- Brazil 2014 was one of, if not the fastest World Cups ever played," the FIFA technical report said. Other successful trends in Brazil included playing with at least two strikers, three central defenders and only one defensive midfielder. Controversial incidents -- including Uruguay forward Luis Suarez biting an opponent, and players continuing despite apparent head injuries -- are not mentioned in the document. Teams are also rarely criticized, though Brazil is not spared after being outplayed by eventual winner Germany and the Netherlands. "An incomprehensibly poor performance against Germany," the report said of the host nations semifinal humbling, adding that 7-1 was "a fair reflection of the strengths of the two teams." FIFAs coaches noted Brazils "attacking game not quite clicking into gear and some co-ordination problems obvious in defence." Tactically, the FIFA report says top teams no longer use two holding midfielders, which was effective in South Africa. A lone striker is also out of fashion. "Most teams played with two strikers (if not three), and the few teams that played with one lone attacker left the competition early," the report said. Goalkeepers like Germanys Manuel Neuer now functionn as an extra outfield player, and specialized coaching should reflect that, the report said. Tedric Thompson Jersey. The report suggests playing with three central defenders is "on the rise again" thanks to the third-place Netherlands, surprise quarterfinalist Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico and Uruguay. Four years after Spain rode its tiki-taka passing to win the World Cup, the report notes effective use of the ball is now more important than simply having it. In Brazil, 21 of 64 matches were won by the counterattacking team having less possession. "Possession play must be efficient and not sterile," the report noted, adding that 34 of 171 goals in Brazil came from "quick transition play." "Counter-attacking tactics were once a tool in a teams armoury, but now some teams base their entire play around such tactics," the report said. More goals than expected came from corner kicks and "remarkable" high-quality crosses, and early leads were often overturned. "Teams that scored the first goal were at times too confident and too sure of themselves," the report said. Defensive tactics included aggressive pressing to get the ball in the first 15 minutes, and holding a back line at least 40 metres from goal. "Teams defended in a compact block in a high line and overloaded the area where the ball was," the report said. Costa Rica and Algeria are praised for making progress, and so was the CONCACAF region which also had Mexico and the United States reach the second round "Good development work has seen the gap between (CONCACAF) teams narrow, which automatically means that there is healthy competition and an improved standard of football," the report states. "Europe can be more than happy with their performance at Brazil 2014," the report said, after winning for the first time in the Americas. The four winless Asian confederation teams "lacked creativity, ideas, penetration and players who could turn a match in their favour." FIFAs experts also hope the World Cup will encourage a generation of unselfish players putting their team first. "Individual skill can only be effective if it is fully in sync with the efforts and philosophy of the team." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
11-10-2017 08:49:57 P.M.

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