av Bellroll33 04 jan 2019, 07:17
TORONTO -- Rudy Gay launched a long lob to a soaring DeMar DeRozan, who finished with huge one-handed dunk early in the third quarter Wednesday. The Toronto Raptors dropped a 101-89 pre-season decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves, but the highlight-reel connection between the two athletic Raptors was perhaps a promise of more to come for the two whove now had the benefit of some time playing together. "Its going good, I know where his sweet spots are, and vice versa," said DeRozan, who topped Toronto (1-1) with 17 points. "Were just trying to put it together, especially when we need to get a bucket, and be aggressive, and get other teams in the penalty. Thats one thing were trying to do." Gay finished with 11 points. "Were trying to get in the rhythm of the offence, being aggressive, trying to create for others, trying to get that down pat," DeRozan said. New Raptor Tyler Hansbrough had nine points and seven rebounds, while Jonas Valanciunas had nine points and five boards and Kyle Lowry had eight points to go with four assists. Kevin Love led the Timberwolves with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Nikola Pekovic had 12 points and eight boards and J.J. Barea added 12 points. Its a new season under a new general manager in Masai Ujiri, but there is stability in the Raptors starting five that didnt exist at this time last year. All five are returnees compared to a year ago when three of the starting five were newcomers. Added to that, Gay was acquired during the mid-season trade that sent Jose Calderon to Detroit, and had to learn on the job without the benefit of training camp or pre-season. Together, DeRozan and Gay can open up space for each other, and pose a huge threat to opponents defences, who have to decide whos the more important player to focus on. Apart from the alley-oop, Wednesdays game at the Air Canada Centre was typical pre-season, not a pretty performance for either team, featuring mis-timed alley-oops and sloppy turnovers. "Its pre-season," coach Dwane Casey said. "I dont think you can talk to a coach in the NBA now that is where they want to be. We are definitely not where we want to be defensively." Valanciunas said it was a "bad effort on defence tonight." "We still have time and a lot of things to fix and were going to start tomorrow," he said. The Raptors sophomore centre, who was beaten up by the leagues top centres early in his rookie campaign, had some trouble with Minnesotas centre Pekovic on Wednesday. "Hes a really good player, and its not easy to go up against him," Valanciunas said. "Its easier than last year, but I still have to fix a lot of things." The Raptors, who won their pre-season opener 97-89 over the Celtics in Boston on Monday, trailed the Timberwolves 29-22 after a sloppy first quarter. New Raptor Steve Novak drained three three-pointers in the second to help Toronto take a 59-55 lead into the dressing room at halftime. Ronny Turiaf led the TWolves with seven points in a third quarter that saw the visitors regain the lead, up 83-75 with a quarter left. Casey went with mostly newcomers down the stretch as he continues to get a feel for what they have to offer. Toronto next hosts former Raptors No. 1 draft pick Andrea Bargnani and the New York Knicks on Friday. They open the regular season at home against the Celtics on Oct. 30. Notably absent on the night was The Raptor, the teams much-beloved mascot, whos out for the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon. Casey said he called The Raptor after hearing of his injury, which required surgery. "I was disappointed, my daughter cried, she was upset," Casey said. "(The Raptor) is a good man, but hell bounce back, hes in good hands with the physicians. The Raptor will be back." The Raptors will hire a replacement for the man under the costume, whos been with the team since Day 1. Cheap Jordans 12 For Sale .Y. -- As if the worst start in franchise history isnt bad enough, Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black braced his teams win-starved fans for potentially more tough times. Jordan 12 Store Canada . There are practical ideas, like this Chewbaca inspired Star Wars jerseys. Star Wars themed jerseys for the Toledo Mud Hens. http://www.cheapairjordan12canada.com/. -- Maxence Parrot of Bromont, Que. Jordan 12 Cheap Real . Louis still looking for a way out of Tampa Bay, the 38-year-old NHL veteran isnt showing his cards. Jordan Retro 12 For Sale Cheap . Rookie Marek Mazanec made 39 saves for his first NHL victory and the Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 7-2 Saturday night.TORONTO - Toronto FC addressed the issue of defensive depth with two acquisitions Monday but other questions remained on Day 1 of training camp.Who will captain the MLS team? Will star signing Sebastian Giovinco come sooner than later? Where does Brazilian striker Gilbertos future lie? And whats going on with English forward Luke Moore?Toronto unveiled Damien Perquis, signed from Spains Real Betis, and Eriq Zavaleta, acquired via trade from Seattle, as the team had its first workout under the bubble on a grey, chilly day at the TFC training centre.Those additions ticked one box, but camp opened with a large question-mark over the captain.Veteran Scottish centre back Steven Caldwell is the incumbent. And while the proud Caldwell has worn his heart on his sleeve in leading the team, all signs recently have pointed to a change in leadership.American star midfielder Michael Bradley, who wore the armband when Caldwell was injured or suspended last season, is clearly seen as the heart of the team.Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, has made a point of talking up Bradleys role in helping land stars Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco. Bradley, said Leiweke, was in the information loop all along.Caldwell was asked Monday whether his input was sought.No I wasnt consulted, he answered.The 34-year-old Scot said he would be disappointed to lose the captaincy.I love being captain of this football club, he said. Ive captained every team Ive played for since I was 15 so its something that I relish, I enjoy and I think Im quite good at it. Its a great honour to be captain of any club. I dont treat it lightly. I love being captain of Toronto. So I hope to stay that.Head coach Greg Vanney and general manager Tim Bezbatchenko sidestepped the issue.We havent really crossed that bridge entirely yet, said Vanney. We want to see all our faces (in camp) and sit down and give the proper respect to everybody in the group so that they understand how were going to be moving forward.Bradley, along with striker Jozy Altidore, is away with the U.S. national team until Feb. 9 so it will take a while for that sit-down. In the meantime, the issue oof captain remains a topic of conversation.dddddddddddd.Bezbatchenko deferred the issue of captain to his coach.While Giovinco is scheduled to join Toronto in July after his contact with Juventus expires, there has been chatter the designated player could arrive sooner.Hell be coming as soon as we possibly can get him here, said Vanney.Bezbatchenko was somewhat more cautious about an early Giovinco arrival.We have not spoken one word with Juventus about that, the GM said. Its something we would entertain because if we can get a player of that quality for the entire season, that would help our roster. But hes a Juventus player, we havent spoken to them yet and Ill guess well just see.Which begs the question why not ask?As of right now hes a player for them ... theyre in a position where they need top players, said Bezbatchenko, shedding no more light on the matter.Gilberto, meanwhile, remains in Brazil while the team sorts out its designated player logjam. Only three are allowed and Toronto, with Altidore, Bradley, Gilberto and Giovinco, has four.With no expectation of any immediate roster rule changes, Toronto has to shed a DP by March 1, which is roster compliance day.Were working through our options now with the league, Bezbatchenko said of Gilberto. There could be a trade, it could be a loan or a transfer.Moore, meanwhile, was absent Monday. Bezbatchenko said the club was finalizing a possible new deal that would have the English forward back in the fold in days.Returning players were optimistic about the off-season player moves.Its never boring around here, but I think it just shows that this club is committed to winning, said fullback Justin Morrow. Thats what you want to be around as a player so Im excited to be here and Im excited to start the season.Zavaleta, a former Seattle first-round pick and Vanneys nephew, cost Toronto a second-round draft choice. Perquis is expected to partner Caldwell at centre back, with young backup options in Nick Hagglund, Zavaleta and draft choices Clement Simonin and Skylar Thomas.The team will train the rest of the week indoors before flying Sunday to Orlando. 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