ll Wednesday night. The Raptors sop

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lw789
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ll Wednesday night. The Raptors sop

Post by lw789 » Fri Dec 21, 2018 7:27 am

TORONTO -- Jonas Valanciunas cherished the chance to think about nothing but basketball Wednesday night. The Raptors sophomore centre cast aside his off-court troubles to score a career-high 26 points and grab 12 rebounds in Torontos 125-114 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers -- less than three days after he was charged with drunk driving. "It has been a rough couple of days, but I had to find energy to come out and fight. I felt really good fan support -- thank you to them. I felt great, because everybody supported me," said Valanciunas, addressing the media for the first time since his arrest early Monday morning. "I say sorry, and (am) learning to be better. "Its been a really good two-and-a half hours (playing)," he added. Kyle Lowry topped Toronto (46-32) with 29 points in his first game back after missing three with a bruised kneecap. Patrick Patterson finished with 17 in the Raptors fourth straight victory and seventh in eight outings. DeMar DeRozan added 17 points before leaving the game with a minute to play with a nasty gash over his left eye that required three stitches. The swirling trouble surrounding Valanciunas didnt show in his game. He scored the Raptors first points of the night, then grabbed a rebound on the Sixers first shot, and scored on a thunderous dunk on a pass from DeRozan on Torontos next trip down the floor. "I expected it," Lowry said. "He was going to play like trash or he was going to play amazing. And he played amazing like we expected. "Its a tough situation for him to handle, but this is our sanctuary, basketball. We get a chance to be away from everything and basketball is our space, our secret spot. Thats where guys can release a lot of energy and intensity." Henry Sims scored 22 points, Michael Carter-Williams added 19, and Thaddeus Young finished with 16 for the Sixers (17-61). The Raptors are headed for the post-season for the first time in six years, and a victory on Friday versus the visiting New York Knicks will clinch the Atlantic Division. It will also tie their franchise record for wins of 47 -- set in 2000-01 and 2006-07. But the Raptors were coming off a tougher-than-expected 102-98 win over the last-place Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, and the lowly Sixers -- who recently tied the league record for most consecutive defeats with 26 -- gave Toronto a decent game for much of the night. "These are the dog days, teams that dont have anything to play for, our guys see the computer, they see the standings and all the records. But we cant play that way," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "I told them weve got to pick our defence up and not have the mental letdown." The Raptors led by only a point midway through the third quarter before taking a 98-89 advantage into the fourth in front of an Air Canada Centre crowd of 18,789. "I think for the most part we went out there and played a solid game, (the Raptors) are a good team," Young said. "They are a playoff contending team, third in the East, they have proven it day in and day out. They have a lot of key guys that can make shots and score the basketball." The Sixers trailed by just six points with 2:44 to play after Young drained a 17-foot fadeaway jumper. But Lowry proved once again how valuable he is down the stretch, sinking consecutive baskets to give the Raptors a 10-point lead with 1:52 to play, and the Sixers never threatened again. "Im just happy to be back out there with my teammates, honestly," Lowry said. "When you miss games you feel that you are letting the team down and its great to be back out there with the fellas." There were questions about Valanciunas playing Wednesday in the wake of his arrest, and Casey was asked pre-game about what message that sends. "We sent a message," Casey replied. "We sent a message that we dont condone it, were disappointed in him. By playing him, were not saying were condoning it." Valanciunas was arrested early Monday morning in Wasaga Beach, Ont., and charged with having more than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Police say they began investigating after a report that a vehicle went through a drive-thru with open beer bottles visible. DeRozan was pleased Valanciunas "came up big" against the Sixers. "I hope everybody leaves him alone," DeRozan said. "(His game) just shows you hes not letting everything else affect him, everything thats going on, or the situation that happened. Hes just going out there playing, he did what he did, its over with, he apologized to us, and understands whats at stake." Valanciunass first court appearance is scheduled for Collingwood on April 22. The 21-year-old is not required to attend so a lawyer will stand in for him. He could receive a suspension from the NBA, but that would be pending the results of a trial which would likely be during the off-season. Raptors starting forward Amir Johnson missed his fourth game with an ankle injury. Casey said the hardworking forward, who has long battled bad ankles, isnt 100 per cent, but "hes pretty close." "Probably if he had to go tonight he probably could go, but again, were trying to make sure, trying to get him ready for the next couple of weeks," Casey added. The Raptors led for all but a few seconds of the first quarter, and went up by nine points when Lowry converted a three-point play with 23 seconds left. A three-pointer by Elliot Williams cut Torontos advantage to 34-28 heading into the second. The Raptors continued to build on their lead, and Pattersons three-pointer with just under three minutes to go in the second put Toronto up 62-49. The Raptors went into the dressing room at halftime up 68-60. The Sixers opened the third with a 17-10 run, capped by Andersons three-pointer with 6:23 to go that cut the Raptors lead to just a point. The Raptors finished the quarter with a run of their own to give themselves a nine-point lead with a quarter to go. NOTES: The Raptors host the New York Knicks on Friday, then play the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday. They host Milwaukee on Monday then play their regular-season finale next Wednesday at Detroit. 23:08ET 09-04-14 Discount Air Max . Hargreaves began his career in 2008 with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and has played with the Edmonton Eskimos and last season with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Air Max Sale Australia . The injury will keep the Finnish forward out of the Olympics. The 29-year-old has 20 goals and 41 points in 56 games this season, his first with Tampa Bay. http://www.australiaairmax.com/. -- The Val-dOr Foreurs made it to the Memorial Cup semifinal thanks to their workhorse goaltender and their ability to hang around like a bad cold. Cheap Air Max . Knapp defeated American Alison Riske 6-3, 7-5 to secure Italys victory in the best-of-five series. She held a 5-2 lead in the second set, only to let Riske tie it at five. Air Max Australia . Englands only win in the four most recent trips north had been tight, and Scotland was expected after losing 28-6 to Ireland six days ago to show some venom against its archrival.ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Kansas City Royals left-hander Jason Vargas was taken to the hospital Wednesday and had an appendectomy. Royals manager Ned Yost, after Kansas Citys 5-4 win over Tampa Bay on Wednesday night, said the surgery went great and that there were "no complications." Yost says Vargas "started really having severe discomfort" around 4 a.m. Wednesday. There was no timetable given for how long Vargas will be out. Bruce Chen could replace Vargas in Sundays game against Detroit. Royals All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon was scratched from Wednesdays lineup due to a sprained right wrist.ddddddddddddHe will have an MRI and see a hand specialist Thursday when the team returns to Kansas City. Gordon did enter as a defensive replacement Wednesday in the ninth inning. He said the major problem is pain when swinging a bat. "I dont think its anything serious," Gordon said. Yost said the injury could "very well" impact Gordons status for next weeks All-Star game. Kansas City third baseman Mike Moustakas was also out of Wednesdays lineup with the flu. He was feeling better late Wednesday, but is not expected to start Thursday. 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