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TORONTO - When Greivis Vasquez was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, selected with the 28th overall pick in 2010, he joined an e
Joined: Aug 24 2016
02:09, Apr 05 2017
TORONTO - When Greivis Vasquez was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies, selected with the 28th overall pick in 2010, he joined an emerging Western Conference power. Tommy McDonald Womens Jersey . At the time of the selection, the Grizzlies were coming off a promising campaign, the first for frontcourt duo Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph together in Memphis. Helmed by now former coach Lionel Hollins, the 2010-11 Grizzlies were one of the most improved teams in the league, building a defensive foundation that sticks with them to this day while finishing 10 games over .500, defeating the Spurs in the first round of the playoffs and taking the Thunder to seven games in the Conference Semifinals. Vasquez, a 24-year-old, Venezuelan-born rookie from the University of Maryland, was along for the ride. He played in 70 regular season games, backing up Mike Conley and helping the Grizzlies snap a four-year playoff draught - appearing in 13 postseason contests - before being traded to New Orleans ahead of the following, lockout shortened campaign. Memphis has not missed the postseason since. "Ive got respect for them because they gave me an opportunity to be in this league," said the fourth-year point guard, poised to make his second postseason appearance with the Raptors next month. "Thats a tough team to beat," he continued following his new teams impressive 99-86 win over the one that drafted him. "We beat a playoff team and that was a good win for us at home." Aside from new coach Dave Joerger - a former assistant under Hollins - and last years trade of Rudy Gay, the Grizzlies havent changed much. Theyre still a defensive juggernaut - ranked third in opponent points per game, just ahead of the Raptors - and they still feature the daunting interior pair of Gasol and Randolph. They still embody physical, hard-nosed, playoff-calibre basketball and the Raptors - looking ahead to their own postseason birth - took it right to them. It was another valuable test for Dwane Caseys team, not unlike the one they failed in Brooklyn earlier this week, but this time they passed with flying colours. "I dont mean this in a bad way with Memphis because I love the style of defence they play," Casey said, "but the only way you can challenge a bully is if you hit them first." "I dont think we did that in the first quarter," Casey said in reference to Torontos timid start. "We did in the second quarter and they responded. Youve got to have a physical mentality against a team like that and I thought our guys did that after the first quarter." Vasquez had a lot to do with that turnaround. He may not be the fastest, the quickest or the strongest but there are few who play the game harder. His energy was infectious, as it tends to be, when he entered the game late in the first quarter and it carried over into the second, where the Raptors ended the half on a 19-6 run. About 30 minutes later he changed the game again, this time for good. With the score knotted up at 80, midway through the fourth, Vasquez knocked down a 27-foot pull-up three. As the Grizzlies came up the floor, he picked off a pass and went coast-to-coast for layup. It was the biggest sequence of the night, ironically initiating a second 19-6 run to close out the victory. "Obviously physicality is going to be the big factor [in the playoffs]," said Vasquez, who finished with 17 points, five rebounds and six assists Friday. "We play physical, we punch teams and we let them know that its not going to be easy for any team to come to our house and beat us like that and thats what we did tonight." Usually relegated to 17-22 minutes per night, mostly playing in the understudy role to starter Kyle Lowry, Vasquez logged 28. With the Grizzlies playing small in the backcourt, Casey was able to pair Vasquez and Lowry for over eight minutes in both the second and fourth quarters. With the two point guards sharing the court for 19 minutes, the Raptors scored 23 points more than they allowed. Playing alongside the other, both Vasquez and Lowry were at their best on this night. Lowry - who totalled 22 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists - was able to play off the ball and spot up for jumpers, while Vasquez could get in the lane and facilitate with more space. For Vasquez - as he realizes - the obvious benefit to spending more time on the floor with Lowry is spending more time on the floor, period. "I think we should do it more often if you ask me but Im not the head coach," Vasquez said. "[Coach is] doing a great job leading us to win games. Obviously Coach Casey is an outstanding coach and today he gave me a chance to come off the bench and play with a rhythm and I got the job done." Vasquez, a starter in New Orleans last season, has seen sporadic playing time since arriving in the trade from Sacramento. Generally, when he has played more he has played well but the opportunity for playing time at the position is scarce. It is what it is, as Casey would say. Lowry is playing at an extremely high level and pairing them together is something that can only work in long stretches if the matchup permits it. "When I play regular minutes it allows me to have a presence in the game," he said. "A lot of times its really, really hard coming off the bench and just being effective or having a presence in the game real quick." For the most part, the Raptors have had success playing Lowry and Vasquez together this season, keeping in mind its only been done in favourable situations. In 346 minutes with the two point guards on the floor, the Raptors have outscored their opponents by 102 total points, per NBA.com/stats. With Casey looking to manufacture some rest for Lowry over the final five weeks of the season, playing him off the ball more often could be the solution. "Its easier for me," said Lowry, asked about playing alongside Vasquez, "because weve got a guy who is going to look for me and who can make the play. He gives me a chance to rest and hang out and shoot open threes. When hes playing like that, were a pretty good team." Vasquez and Jonas Valanciunas - who scored a season-high 23 points - both came up big for Torontos offence with Memphis elite perimeter defence locked into DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross. The Raptors two wing players shot a combined 6-for-16 Friday. Carson Wentz Jersey .Johnny there, who knew he had that speed? teammate Tommy Wingels said.Scott and Matt Irwin were unlikely goal-scorers Tuesday night as the previously stingy San Jose Sharks finally sprung a leak or two, blowing a pair of three-goal leads before coming away with a 6-5 shootout victory over the Washington Capitals. Jordan Matthews Womens Jersey . The Rainbow FlickNext up is the Rainbow Flick, or as you probably know it, the trick that everybody at soccer camp thought they knew how to do. http://www.theeaglesfootballauthentic.com/eagles-reggie-white-black-jersey/ . - John Elways philosophy is to address immediate needs in free agency, even though some of his own veterans may prove too pricey to keep around.OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland Athletics leadoff hitter Coco Crisp tinkered with his swing for a few days and finally got the results he has been looking for. That is critical for a team trying to hang on in the AL West after owning the best record in baseball for a majority of the season. Crisp hit a tiebreaking three-run triple in the fourth inning to help Scott Kazmir earn his career-best 14th win, and the As beat the New York Mets 6-2 on Tuesday night to snap a five-game losing streak. "I havent been hitting well at all so Im trying to figure out some things to try to be successful with whatever Im dealing with," Crisp said. "These past couple of days, whatever Ive been trying to do it seems like it could work so Im trying to stick with that and see what happens." Crisp wouldnt divulge what changes he has made to his swing but it is clear he knew something had to change. Coming off a miserable road trip when he went 2-for-23, Crisp grounded out and singled before lining an 0-1 pitch from Mets starter Dillon Gee down the right field line with the bases loaded. It was Crisps third triple this season. The As, who avoided losing six consecutive games for the first time since 2012, remained a half-game behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. "Its very rare that he goes through a stretch like that," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Crisp. "Its not like he was striking out all the time (or) taking off-balance swings. A hit like that, especially with runners in scoring position in a tight game, can do wonders for the personality." Kazmir (14-5) allowed one run and four hits in six innings. He retired nine of his final 10 batters after giving up a solo home run to Travis dArnaud leading off the fourth. New York lost its third straight. Oakland had been mired in a team-wide hitting slump before coming up with its most productive game in a week. Crisp, the As leadoff hitter who has been in and out of the lineup with lingering neck pain, provided the biggest boost with his first multi-hit game since July 8. Josh Reddick added a two-run homer, and Alberto Callaspo drove in a run with a sacrifice fly two batters before Crisps bases-clearing hit. Jordan Matthews Jersey. The Mets avoided making history but couldnt snap their skid. New York had been held to four hits or fewer in its previous five games. According to stats provided to the team by Elias Sports Bureau, no club had ever done that in six straight. The Mets managed seven hits this time but it wasnt enough to prevent their second loss in three games against the As this season. Gee (4-6) gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander fell to 0-5 in his past seven starts and is winless since July 9. "He was up in the zone," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Thats not where hes supposed to be. The balls Coco hit were because he fell behind in the count. Hes a better pitcher than hes showing." WORLD SERIES REDUX This was just the Mets second visit to Oakland since the teams played in the 1973 World Series. New York lost two of three games at the Coliseum in 2005. ON FIRE DArnauds home run was his fourth in 12 games. In 43 games since being brought up from Triple-A on June 24, he is batting .267 with eight homers, 10 doubles, 22 RBIs and 10 runs scored. TRAINERS ROOM Mets: As expected, New York placed RHP Bartolo Colon on the bereavement list following the death of his mother. RHP Gonzalez Germen was recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Colons roster spot. ... RHP Jacob deGrom pitched to hitters and is on schedule to come off the DL on Friday. ... 2B Daniel Murphy was given the night off. Murphy went into the day leading the NL with 152 hits. Athletics: INF Nick Punto (hamstring) will begin to do more baseball activities in the coming days. ... OF Craig Gentry (hand) was slated to play seven innings for Triple-A Sacramento. Kyle Blanks (calf strain) was penciled in at DH. UP NEXT Mets: RHP Zach Wheeler (8- makes his second career start against Oakland. Wheeler allowed six runs and lasted just two innings in his only other outing against the As on June 25, the shortest start of his career. Athletics: RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-2) pitches the second half of this two-game series. He is unbeaten in five starts at the Coliseum. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '