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TORONTO - The Raptors locker room was unnervingly quiet Friday evening, about how you would expect it after the implausible endi
Joined: Aug 24 2016
02:09, Apr 05 2017
TORONTO - The Raptors locker room was unnervingly quiet Friday evening, about how you would expect it after the implausible ending that sealed the teams fate in a double-overtime disaster. Doug Flutie Boston College Jersey . In the back corner sat an inconsolable John Salmons, the elephant in the room. Facing his locker, Salmons slouched forward in his chair, his head down in his hands and a long black towel draped over him. One by one his teammates came over to comfort him, patting him on the back and offering words of encouragement. He didnt move. He remained in that position, perfectly still for over 30 minutes. They win as a team and they lose as a team, but Salmons felt the brunt of it on this night. What seemed like a sure victory late in the second overtime period began to unravel when an exceptional player made an exceptional shot. With the Raptors up by eight, 49 seconds away from an improbable victory and season-sweep of the 50-win Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant banked in a 27-foot three-point jumper. Following another Thunder three - this one courtesy veteran assassin Derek Fisher - Salmons threw away an inbounds pass on the baseline, only to break up Durants runner and get sent to the line. With less than 10 seconds remaining, now up two, Salmons clanked both free throws, paving the way for the leagues leading scorer to do what he does best. Break hearts. "Great players make great plays," Dwane Casey said of Durant, moments after his 31-foot pull-up dagger gave the Thunder a 119-118 victory. Since coming over from Sacramento in December, Salmons has been praised for his poise and veteran savvy late in games, many of which hes helped them win. This was not his finest hour. "Hes a veteran (and) in those situations youve got to believe in him, that hes going to make those free throws," Casey said of Salmons, playing in place of Terrence Ross, who left the game with a hip contusion. "We had to go with John in that situation. Hes been one of our best defenders in that situation, but its not just one guy." The Raptors, now 1-6 in OT this season, need to close out these types of games. Salmons needs to be better down the stretch, they know it and so does he. It was three months ago, almost to this day that the Raptors pulled off their most impressive win of the season, a 104-98 victory in Oklahoma City. Coming off an OT win in Dallas a couple days prior and trailing by as many as 10 in the fourth, Toronto shocked the Thunder, who were undefeated at home at the time. "It helped kick start us going forward," Casey said of that night. "It helped our chemistry, it helped our togetherness it helped blend in the old and the new guys together." It would not have happened if not for Salmons. The 12-year vet spearheaded his new teams comeback, scoring nine points in the final quarter. After the game his teammates raved about his leadership and calming effect on the floor. Kyle Lowry gave him the game ball. Like Patrick Paterson - still out with an injured elbow - Greivis Vasquez, who was spectacular before fouling out Friday, and Chuck Hayes, Salmons fingerprints are all over the teams resurgence and that should not be forgotten, internally or externally. The Raptors proved something to themselves in OKC that night. They proved that they belonged. Three months later, clinging onto the Easts third seed and top spot in the Atlantic Division, they fell just short of proving something to everybody else. For whatever reason the franchise and its fan base has been battered by losses of the devastating variety to the point in which theyre almost immune to them. Toronto has lost 10 straight overtime games at home, an NBA record. "It does (hurt)," Casey admitted, "but we cant let it." "We cant let this game (give us a) hangover. (Its) a big learning experience for our guys. Youre playing with one of the top teams in the league, one of the top players... and you give yourself a chance to win in (double) overtime." KD the magnificent It seems impossible to fathom that Friday once started off as a slow night for Durant. The Thunder forward made just three of his 12 first-half shots but once Russell Westbrook went down in the third quarter - colliding with Lowry and spraining his surgically repaired right knee - Durant, with the help of some generous officiating, completely took over. Durant scored 51 and finished with 12 rebounds and seven assists, getting to the line 19 times and extending his streak of 25 or more points to 34 games, longest since Michael Jordans 40-game run in 1986-87. Amirs memorable game Playing in his 500th career contest, Amir Johnson nearly willed his team to victory. The Raptors forward recorded a double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds, connecting on 12 of his 19 shots in 50 minutes of action. He also spent the bulk of the second half guarding Durant, per his own request made after Ross exited with the hip injury. "It was tough, man," he said, asked about defending the leagues leading scorer. "Hes my height, out there shooting from half court. Theres not too much you can do but double team that." "He did a great job," Casey added. "I felt for him. Hes hurt. He was all over him, draped over him. (Durant) made a tough shot. Theres nothing Amir did wrong." The stat For the first time since Jan. 13, 2013, the Raptors had four players score 20 or more points. Along with Johnson, DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 33 points, hitting all but one of his 16 free throws, while Lowry added 25 and Vasquez scored 21 off the bench. The quote "We couldnt go another overtime," Durant said. "I had to live with whatever happened. You had to get out of there. I wasnt trying to go to another overtime. I pulled up for it, it looked good when it left my hands and God guided that thing to the basket, man. That was the craziest game Ive ever been a part of." Auburn Tigers Jerseys . The 10-horse field of 3-year-old pacers will leave the starting gate at approximately 10:14pm et. Co-owned and trained by David Menary, Hes Watching will be driven by Tim Tetrick and is the 5-1 fourth selection in the field. Central Michigan Chippewas Jerseys . Top-seeded Djokovic, who is making only his second appearance this year after reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, was a 6-3, 6-3 winner over 54th-ranked Istomin of Uzbekistan. "It wasnt as easy as the scoreline indicates," said Djokovic, who has won in Dubai on four occasions. http://www.soccercheapjerseys.us.com/Byu-Cougars-32-Jimmer-Fredette-Navy-Blue-Basketball-Stitched-Ncaa-Jersey-Fx-77.html .J. -- New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is going to start the off-season training program with a surgically repaired left ankle.SYDNEY, N.S. -- Raphael Corriveau scored a hat trick as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles snapped Halifaxs nine-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory over the Mooseheads in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play Friday. Corriveau scored the first two goals of the game for Cape Breton (14-11-3) while Cameron Darcy capped the scoring with the game winner 11:37 into the third. Luca Ciampini, Jonathan Drouin and Max Lindsay scored for the Mooseheads (21-9-0). Screaming Eagles goaltender Alex Bureau finished with 28 saves, while Zachary Fucale stopped 27 shots for Halifax. HUSKIES 5 ISLANDERS 2 CHARLOTTETOWN -- Rouyn-Noranda scored three unanswered goals in the third period to beat the Islanders. Maxime St-Cyr scored twice for the Huskies (16-9-3), and Marcus Power, Julien Nantel and Jean-Sebastien Dea added singles. Alexandre Goulet scored both goals for Charlottetown (13-12-4). Alexandre Belanger stopped 26 shots for Rouyn-Noranda. Antoine Bibeau allowed four goals on 37 shots for the Islanders. FOREURS 5 SEA DOGS 3 SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- Val-dOr overwhelmed the Sea Dogs with four unanswered goals to end the game. Anthony Beauregard, Phil Pietroniro, Anthony Mantha, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Guillaume Gelinas scored for the Foreurs (17-11-0), while Keven Bouchard needed to make just 18 saves. Kelly Bent, Mackenzie Brown and Matthew Highmore replied for Saint John (7-19-3). The loss spoiled a big effort from Sea Dogs goalie Antoine Landry. He finished with 42 saves and was electric in the first when he shut the door despite his team being outshot 15-2. PHOENIX 3 TIGRES 2 SHERBROOKE, Que. -- Jean-Francois Plante scored in overtime to lift the Phoenix past Victoriaville. Alexandre Sillls and Nathan Glass also scored for Sherbrooke (10-15-2), who opened the scoring with a pair of quick goals in the third period. Herschel Walker Georgia Jersey. Gabriel Gagne and Matthew Boudreau, who forced extra time with a goal at 19:27 on the power play, replied for the Tigres (11-13-3). Francis Desrosiers stopped 28 shots for the Phoenix, while his Tigres counterpart Brandon Whitney made 30 saves. SAGUENEENS 3 OCEANIC 1 RIMOUSKI, Que. -- Chicoutimis offence exploded in the second period with three unanswered goals to beat the Oceanic. Nicolas Roy, Sebastien Sylvestre and William Gignac scored for the Sagueneens (15-15-0). Dominic Beauchemin had the lone Rimouski (16-8-4) goal in the first period. Chicoutimi Domenic Graham made 29 saves, while Zachary Fortin stopped 27 shots for the Oceanic. OLYMPIQUES 6 DRAKKAR 3 GATINEAU, Que. -- Emile Poirier scored twice, including one shorthanded, as the Olympiques doubled Baie-Comeau. Martin Reway also had two goals while Taylor Burke and Alex Dostie added singles for Gatineau (20-9-0). Valentin Zykov, Bokondji Imama and Denis Gorbunov scored for the Drakkar (18-6-4). Olympiques goaltender Robert Steeves stopped 29 shots. At the other end of the ice, Philippe Cadorette allowed five goals on 22 shots. VOLTIGEURS 3 ARMADA 2 (OT) DRUMMONDVILLE, Que. -- Frederick Gaudreau scored in overtime to lift the Voltigeurs past league-leading Blainville-Boisbriand. Guillaume Gauthier and Olivier Caouette also had goals for Drummondville (16-10-2). Frederic Bergeron and Philippe Sanche each scored in the second period for the Armada (20-3-4). Louis-Philip Guindon stopped 16 shots for Drummondville, while the Armadas Etienne Marcoux made 28 saves. 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