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PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:22 am 
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TORONTO - For the second time in less than a month, Kyle Lowry heard MVP chants rain down at him as he stepped to the line nearing the conclusion of yet another remarkable performance. "Yeah, [I heard them]," he said. "They made me miss the free throw." A year ago, Lowrys post-game antics may not have been so well received but what was snide and snarky is now endearing quick wit. The sound he heard as he missed that free throw was less about his candidacy for an award nobody actually expects him to win - though he has been the Raptors MVP - than it was a sentiment of appreciation. Often misunderstood, Lowry has finally found something in Toronto that had eluded him for seven seasons prior. Lowry has found a team that fits him like a glove, a locker room filled with players who hang on his every word and a city that is ready to embrace him as their own. Lowry has found a home. "Im just playing," said the Raptors point guard, after eclipsing 30 points for the second straight game - the first time hes accomplished that feat as a pro - carrying his team to 98-83 wire-to-wire win over the Magic on Wednesday. "My team, they expect me to do a certain thing every night and when you go out there and play for these guys that give you everything they got in this locker room, you dont want to disappoint them." Lowry had scored 31 in Mondays thrilling victory over the Nets. Two days later, it was a near triple-double, a season-best 33 points to go along with 11 assists and seven rebounds. All of this without Torontos leading scorer. DeMar DeRozan continues to sit out, nursing a sprained left ankle that is steadily improving, according to the Raptors guard. On Wednesday, he watched from the locker room because, as he insisted, he couldnt bare to be a well-dressed spectator on the Raptors bench. What he saw was a team that has come together in his absence and a player, in Lowry, who has taken his game to a whole new level. By the end of the first quarter, Lowry had 17 points, perfect on all five of his three-point attempts. The Raptors, as a team, connected on their first nine treys, making 11 of 14 in the opening half. When his team made their way to the locker room at intermission, Lowry had scored or assisted on 12 of the Raptors 17 field goals in his 18 first-half minutes. The lead was 15. "Hes stepped it up," coach Dwane Casey said of his point guard. "He set the tone in the first half with his threes, just his aggressive play means a lot." He seemed to bring out the best in everybody. Amir Johnson had his best game in well over a month, scoring 22 points and adding 11 boards. Jonas Valanciunas, who was named to the Rising Stars game at All-Star Weekend earlier in the evening, recorded his 16th double-double of the season with 14 points and 15 rebounds. Lowrys fingerprints were all over the teams effort. "You cant say enough," Casey continued. "I just hope, I keep my fingers crossed that the coaches voted him in [to the All-Star game] because he deserves it. Hes one of the best point guards in the league right now." Lowry has made his case loud and clear - though both 30-point performances have come after the coaches ballots for All-Star reserves were collected on Sunday - and his fate will be revealed on Thursday. The 27-year-old leads the East in assists in January, averaging 8.3, hitting more threes (49) than any player in the league, shooting them at a 46 per cent clip and leading his team to their second consecutive winning month. On Monday, he became the first player this season to record at least 30 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals in a game, a feat that was only accomplished by LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant last year. You have to go deep into the franchises not-so-rich history to find a point guard that even comes close to the level that Lowry is playing at right now. Damon Stoudamire, perhaps? Its been a while. Casey has been pumping Lowrys tires around the league and hopes that will tip the scale in his favour when the All-Star subs are revealed. As it turns out, maybe they should have sent his backup on the campaign trail. "Kyle is an unbelievable player," said Greivis Vasquez, who started Wednesday in place of the injured DeRozan on Wednesday. "Hes doing great things, not just for the team but for the city and thats huge." "Ill tell you this, he should make it," he continued. "Its not because Im his teammate, the numbers dont lie. I mean, Im seeing it, watching it and Im enjoying it." As it happens, Lowrys not holding his breath. Although he would welcome the honour with open arms, hes acknowledged that, of the two, DeRozan will likely be the one to get the call. One way or another, Lowry has 14 teammates, a coach, and the bulk of a city that believes hes an All-Star. Regardless of the result Thursday evening - as the Raptors land in Denver to begin a five-game road swing - that is not likely to change. Mens Air Max Retro . Next week, hell try to add to the list. A Stanley Cup champion as a rookie, Seguin followed that up by becoming the youngest player to lead the Boston Bruins in scoring. Cheap Air Max Outlet .com) - Nate Buss 3-pointer with 5. http://www.cheapairmax2018.us/.C., won gold in the womens 200-metre backstroke, and Dominique Bouchard of North Bay, Ont. Blue Air Max Shop .com) - Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was named the National League Player of the Month for April. Cheap Air Max 90 . Braves reliever David Carpenter was also fined for throwing at Rockies outfielder Corey Dickerson in the same game, which featured several ejections, including Colorado manager Walt Weiss. CLEVELAND -- John Axford had other choices where he could pitch next season. The Indians closed the deal. Axford, who had 46 saves for Milwaukee in 2011 but lost his closers job last season and was traded to St. Louis, finalized a $4.5 million, one-year contract Thursday and will close for Cleveland in 2014. The 30-year-old Axford had other teams interested in signing him, but he decided to join the Indians because of their turnaround in 2013, a strong clubhouse and manager Terry Francona, who sold Axford with his typical straightforward approach. "He was very, very up front with me about the team, the organization, the city," Axford said. "It just sounded to me like a situation I want to be a part of." Axford replaces two-time All-Star closer Chris Perez, who was released in October after Cleveland made its first playoff appearance since 2007. Axford agreed to the contract with Cleveland earlier this week, and completed the deal after taking a physical on Wednesday. The right-hander can earn another $1.75 million in performance bonuses based on games finished: $250,000 for 38 and $300,000 apiece for 43, 48, 53, 58 and 63. The Indians initially considered filling the closers role within the organization -- right-handers Bryan Shaw and Cody Allen were the top candidates -- and pursued several veteran free agents before working out a deal with Axford. The Indians werent scared off despite Axford struggles last season, when he started horribly and was demoted by the Brewers before eventually being traded to St. Louis in August. "We thought he was the right guy to take a chance on," Indians general manager Chris Anntonetti said.dddddddddddd "We feel like we added an experienced, power arm to the back of our bullpen." Antonetti said the team wasnt reluctant to give the job to Shaw or Allen, its just that Axford was a better option and the club feels he can "bounce back" and be an elite stopper again. Axford attributed some of his early problems last season to pitching in the World Baseball Classic. He was throwing hard from the get-go and went through a "dead arm" period when his velocity dropped following the WBC. But after making some adjustments, Axford settled in and posted a 2.92 ERA in his final 71 appearances with the Brewers and Cardinals. "I dont like to make excuses," Axford said. "I really enjoyed pitching for my country, but I really dont think my arm was ever ready for the start of the regular season. I had a dead arm and my velocity was down in those first few games of the regular season. But when you give up four home runs and have an ERA of 22 after four games, you cant be surprised that youre not the closer anymore." Axford has a 22-19 career record with a 3.29 ERA and 106 saves in 281 relief appearances. He said being a free agent "was fun, but it was difficult." Ultimately, he thought the Indians were the best fit for him because they provided a chance to close again and Cleveland is just a 4 1-2 hour drive from his home in Ontario. It also helped the Indians are on the rise after earning a wild-card spot in 2013. "There were certainly other teams in the mix," Axford said. "They had a great season last year. It seemed like a team I would want to pitch for." Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '


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