#1 find a way to get better in the second von Cl11234566 08.11.2019 07:02

INDIANAPOLIS - There are a few common denominators between the Indiana Pacers and the reigning champion Miami Heat, with the number of similarities growing each day. Both teams were conference finalists a year ago, both clubs have an unmistakable identity that defines them, both play unselfish, defence-first basketball and in the last four days, both have reminded the Raptors how far they are from competing at their level. For Toronto, Fridays meeting with the still undefeated Pacers came to an unofficial end before most of the home teams fans could make it back to their seats. As good as the Raptors looked in the first half and as hard as they worked to look that good, Indiana reclaimed what was, as they knew it, rightfully theirs in less than three revealing minutes. "We knew they were going to come out and throw their best haymaker at us," Dwane Casey said, his team leading by as many as 12 in the first half and holding on to a two-point advantage at the break. Everyone knew they would, because thats what great teams do. Indiana opened the second half scoring 10 straight points, forcing three turnovers and holding Toronto to 0-of-4 shooting. Just like that, Torontos 24 minutes of (mostly) hard work was more than erased and the game was over. You could see it on the faces of players sitting on both benches as Casey was forced to call a quick third-quarter timeout to regroup. The Pacers had been in this position before, more than you would guess though six games this season. There was no panic, there was no time for sulking. They knew they had it. The Raptors body language spoke louder than words. They knew it was only a matter of time now. "[There are] no moral victories in this one," Kyle Lowry stated and Rudy Gay echoed minutes later. "We lost." The Pacers matched a franchise record - previously set in 1970-71 as an ABA team - winning six straight to begin a season. They havent allowed a team to score more than 91 points or shoot over 40 per cent. They havent scored 100 points, but they havent needed to. "I dont know if the history of [it] is as [important] as the fact that we have to lead on our goal," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said before the game. "And our goal is the number one seed. Were off to a good start and we all understand the importance of each game when our goal is so high." Theyve trailed at halftime in five of their six games, but it hasnt mattered. When youre a team as good as the Pacers, you can afford to bide your time. The Raptors learned that from the Heat on Monday when the defending champs started Torontos losing streak. The Pacers sent them home with that same effortless spanking, extending the Raptors skid to three and reminding them why Wednesdays disappointing loss to the Bobcats was so disappointing. They need to take advantage of winnable games because in this league, if youre a middling team, theyre few and far between. "There are no moral victories," Gay repeated. "We want to get this next one, thats it. We have to get this next one. The more we put ourselves in a hole, the more important the next game is and the next game is pretty important for us." The Raptors host the winless Utah Jazz in the second night of a back-to-back on Saturday. Its not a game they can afford to lose. George vs. Gay The match-up at small forward was a fun one in Indiana Friday night. Gay and the Pacers rising superstar Paul George combined for 53 points, 30 per cent of the total offence in the game. Gay - who came into the game struggling, shooting just 34 per cent - was red-hot out of the gate. The Raptors leading scorer looked like the player of old, scoring 14 of his teams 32 first-quarter points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field. He would go on to shoot just 3-of-13 in the second half, finishing the evening with an even 30 points but needing 26 shots to get there. "You can talk about Paul George, but I thought Rudy outplayed him," Casey said. "They won the game, but talking about individual matchups, Rudy played the game hes supposed to play." George was outscored by his counterpart, pouring in 23 on the night, but hardly outplayed with 17 of his points coming in the third quarter when his team needed him the most and the game was ultimately decided. The Pacers all-star forward, who came into the game fifth in scoring, has had at least 21 points in each of his teams six contests. A gifted two-way player, hes every bit the superstar he was paid to be this summer. As George stepped to the line with 11 seconds remaining, he was greeted by a chorus of MVP chants. Although anointing an MVP six games into the season is as silly as it sounds, hes playing at that level and thats the direction the 23-year-old is headed. Hes that good. Learning from the best The Raptors coaching staff, like most teams with young and impressionable big men, have been using the Pacers Roy Hibbert as a model for the 21-year-old Valanciunas. Offensively, the Raptors sophomore centre continues to make strides but, as head coach Casey reminds us, he still has a ways to go on the defensive end. The team hopes he will one day become the anchor that Indianas all-star big man has grown into on both ends of the floor. "He does such a good job of getting deep post position," Casey said of Hibbert, who scored 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting. "Where he got JV last year was reposting, kicking it out and reposting up so on that second one, if you relax at all, all you can do is pray." One technique Torontos staff continues to preach with Valanciunas is something Hibbert has perfected in his sixth NBA season. To stay out of foul trouble and contest shots in the lane, the Raptors want Valanciunas to go straight up, remaining vertical without bringing his arms down in the process. "We give him the respect of calling it the Hibbert play," Casey said of the technique. "Hes one of the best in the league at doing that and thats where JV is getting much better." "Im trying to be like him with that skill," Valanciunas noted. But its not something Hibbert - the leagues early-season shot block leader - picked up overnight, one of the reasons Casey preaches patience with the development of his young centre. "It takes a lot of time," Pacers coach Frank Vogel acknowledged. "Its one of the things I think most of the big men in the NBA are working to achieve now. I think thats the way that Roy has set the model for how its done." Friday was one of those nights that Casey calls a "learning experience" for Valanciunas. One of his roughest of the young season, Valanciunas scored just four points in 24 minutes, committing five fouls and two turnovers. He was out-muscled by Hibbert, beat off the dribble by quicker players, exposed on switches and missed defensive assignments. The Pacers star big man is a good example of what Valanciunas can grow into but he also serves as a reminder that it takes time. Cheap NBA Jerseys . So what happens? Stevenson lands a huge left to Dawsons temple only 76 seconds into the opening round and walks away with the championship belt. "I said Id knock him out," said Stevenson (21-1). NBA Jerseys China . Last years runner-up, Sara Errani, also reached the last eight in straight sets. Flipkens converted all four of her break points against Meusburger, and the third-seeded Errani broke Karin Knapps serve five times to win their all-Italian match 6-4, 6-3. https://www.nbachinajerseys.us/. 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Ilonen had just 26 putts on the occasion of his 300th European Tour event.JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jaguars had the lead, the momentum and the ball coming out of halftime Sunday.They squandered all of it.Jacksonville had a second half to forget in a 27-13 loss to Houston, a common theme in the franchises fourth straight losing season.I dont know what happened in the second half, said receiver Cecil Shorts III, whose head-scratching drop contributed to the teams woes. I know we didnt play well enough to win. Weve got to figure out a way to get better in the second half.Jacksonvilles lowlights included:— Being outscored 17-0 in the second half.— Gaining 73 yards in the second half, including just 4 in the third quarter.— Holding the ball for 9-plus minutes after the break.— Allowing 180 yards in the final 30 minutes.I cant pinpoint a reason right now, left tackle Luke Joeckel said. It needs to get fixed.Its been a problem all season, really.The Jaguars (2-11) have been outscored 79-32 in the third quarter. Theyve been even worse in the second period, which is when teams start making in-game adjustments.Jacksonvilles youth and inexperience are surely part of the issue, but the Jaguars arent making excuses, especially a week after they dominated the New York Giants in the second half.There are some things that we wanted to go out there and do, and adjustments we wanted to make, but we couldnt in that third quarter, tight end Marcedes Lewis said. So once again, we put ourselves behind the 8-ball going into the fourth quarter. Now were playing catch-up where we have to pass the ball, and then theyre teeing off on us. Its tough in this league when you put yourself in that position.Even tougher when J.J. Watt is on the other side of the ball.Watt created major problems, finishing with three sacks and five quarterback hits. The Jaguars lost starting right tackle Auustin Pasztor last week and went with unproven veteran Sam Young.dddddddddddd. Not surprisingly, Watt dominated the matchup. He was most disruptive once the Texans took a double-digit lead.Bortles completed 20 of 29 passes for 205 yards, with a touchdown to Allen Hurns and the costly interception. Denard Robinson ran 10 times for 30 yards.Lewis was one of the few bright spots, catching three passes for 69 yards — his best performance since Week 2.Young or not, were in the NFL, Lewis said. At some point, you have to put it behind you and take a step forward in the right direction. ... For one reason or another, we keep ending up behind the 8-ball. It sounds like a broken record.The Jaguars led 13-10 at halftime and had done so much right.But everything went wrong from there, and the franchise lost for the 37th time in its last 45 games. Of those, 27 have been by double digits.Houstons Arian Foster ran for 127 yards and a touchdown, a 1-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter was the play of the game.After quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick got stuffed on third down, the Texans lined up for a field goal before calling time out and opting to go for it. Foster emphatically told coach Bill OBrien he wanted the ball.Foster initially looked he would be stopped for a loss, but he eluded a tackle, headed in the other turned the other way and high-stepped into the end zone.I was just screaming for him to give me the ball, Foster said. We took a step in the right direction.The Jaguars headed the other way.We need to find a way to get better in the second half, Shorts said. Im not sure what happened, but weve got to figure out a way to get things going. We cant have one good half and one bad half. We have to play a full game together.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL ' ' '

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