be affected by it, but it?s

be affected by it, but it?s
10 sie 2018 - 04:19:27
On the second night of a back-to-back ? with first place in the Eastern Conference already wrapped up ? the Toronto Raptors easily could have packed it in after falling behind by 17 points.

That?s not what coach Dwane Casey wanted.

?We are taking these last games seriously Domingo Santana Milwaukee Brewers Jersey , because now isn?t the time to let any bad habits into our game,? Casey said. ?This week is about sharpening your habits to be ready for next week.?

Jonas Valanciunas scored 25 points, and the Raptors rallied for a 108-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night. Toronto closed the second quarter on a 21-7 run, and the Raptors also scored the first 13 points of the fourth.

Detroit was without injured stars Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin for its home finale, but the Pistons still led 53-36 in the first half. But it was 60-57 at halftime, and Detroit managed only 38 points over the final two quarters.

?I think we competed hard,? said Eric Moreland, who started at center in place of Drummond. ?I think we competed on both ends tonight.?

The short-handed Pistons are out of playoff contention, and Toronto had some key players out too in Fred VanVleet and Serge Ibaka. Although the result meant little, it was a tight, entertaining game through three quarters. The Raptors led 85-80 at the end of the third before breaking it open.

Toronto led 100-81 in the fourth, then Detroit went on a 14-2 run. Pistons rookie Luke Kennard took a 3-pointer that would have cut the deficit to four, but it rattled out.

Valanciunas didn?t play at all in the fourth P.J. Hall Color Rush Jersey , but he?d done plenty already. He finished 11 of 13 from the field and made his only attempt from beyond the arc.

HELD OUT

In addition to Drummond (sore Achilles tendon) and Griffin (right ankle contusion), the Pistons were also without Reggie Bullock (left knee swelling).

VanVleet was out with lower back tightness, and Ibaka had the night off to rest for Toronto.

LOOKING AHEAD

The game didn?t mean much in terms of seeding in the East, but Toronto (59-22) now leads Golden State (58-23) by a game for home-court advantage in a possible NBA Finals matchup.

The Raptors are also hoping to win their regular-season finale at Miami and reach 60 victories.

?We want sixty, because we know it would be a great achievement for our franchise,? said guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 11 points Monday. ?The important thing, though, is what happens after the Miami game. We?re ready. It doesn?t matter who we play. We just have to play our game.?

HANDICAPPING

Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy shared his thoughts on Toronto?s chances in the East.

?I?ve said for a long time, I think they?re the best team in the East, and the team to beat,? Van Gundy said. ?So, we?ll see what happens http://www.redskinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jonathan-allen-jersey , but that?s a really, really good team.?

TIP-INS

Raptors: DeMar DeRozan scored 16 points. ? Toronto outscored Detroit 60-38 in the paint. ? The Raptors completed a sweep of their back-to-back after beating Orlando on Sunday night.

Pistons: Kennard led Detroit with 20 points and Reggie Jackson scored 16 with nine assists. Ish Smith had 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

UP NEXT

Raptors: Visit the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.

Pistons: Visit the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

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As they stagger toward the midpoint of their miserable 2018 baseball season, the Orioles own the worst record in the majors and are on pace to lose 100 games for only the third time since their move to Baltimore in 1954.

Worst of all, they never saw it coming.

After giving free agent Alex Cobb a four-year, $57 million contract and signing veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner, the Orioles figured they had a solid starting rotation to go with a power-laden lineup ? a formula designed to produce the team?s fourth postseason berth in seven years under manager Buck Showalter.

?We had really high hopes, as most teams do, especially in spring training,? slugger Mark Trumbo said. ?Our offense was really firing, and we had both Cashner and Cobb coming into the fold to go with a similar group of guys from the last couple years.?

Nothing has gone according to plan. Entering Friday night?s game in Atlanta, the Orioles were 21-52 (10-29 on the road) and a whopping 29 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. The last time a team has been at least 30 games behind at the end of June was 1979, when Toronto was looking way up at the Orioles.

?It?s kind of mind-boggling,? reliever Zach Britton said. ?It?s tough. We thought we?d be fighting for a playoff spot http://www.brownsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-chad-thomas-jersey , and we?re not even halfway through and we?re already close to being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

?I can?t remember being in this type of situation here, maybe my first year in 2011 when we were pretty bad from the get-go. But I don?t even think it was this bad, and this roster has a lot of talent on it.?

Injuries have been a factor. Trumbo and Britton began the season on the disabled list, third baseman Tim Beckham has been sidelined since April 24 and 2017 All-Star second baseman Jonathan Schoop missed three weeks with an oblique strain. Outfielder Colby Rasmus languished on the 60-day disabled list before hitting a home run Thursday in his first action since April 6.

But the core of the problem has been, quite simply, poor performances by the vast majority of the team ? most notably two-time AL home run champion Chris Davis, who?s in the third season of a seven-year, $161 million contract.

Davis is batting .150 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 57 games. He is slated to return to the lineup on Friday night following a hiatus of nearly two weeks during which he worked to get his mojo back.

But Davis isn?t the only underachiever. Schoop has a .209 batting average, starting catcher Caleb Joseph is at .172, Trey Mancini is hitting at a .220 clip (down from .293 as a rookie last year) and the collective batting average of .227 is tied for last in the big leagues with Arizona. Baltimore has been blanked eight times, and no team in the majors has scored fewer runs.

?I can?t remember having a team with so many guys who haven?t swung the bats as they have in the past, or the way they are expected to produce over the course of a full season,? Showalter said.

The best hitters on the team are Manny Machado (.304 http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-lorenzo-carter-jersey , 18 HRs, 53 RBIs) and Adam Jones (.292, 10, 31), both of whom are in the final year of their contracts and likely to be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

It would take exceptional pitching to offset Baltimore?s meager offensive output, and that hasn?t happened. Cobb is 2-9 with a 7.14 ERA, Cashner is 2-8 and Gausman (3-6) has gone seven straight starts without a victory.

?I?ve never been a part of a team like this,? Gausman said. ?Ever since I came up (in 2013), we?ve been a winning ball club and a contender. So, this is really weird.?

Seems as if there?s no option but to tear it down and start over, beginning with some heavy trading action before July 31.

?If you just run the same roster out there the whole year, you don?t do yourself any justice,? said the 30-year-old Britton Robert Golden Color Rush Jersey , who?s in the final season of his contract and a likely trading chip. ?It?s unfortunate for some of the guys who are going to be affected by it, but it?s the nature of the beast. When you don?t play well, people get replaced by younger players.?

Showalter and vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette are also in the last year of their contracts, but situation likely won?t be addressed until the offseason.

Regardless, change is coming for a franchise still in search of its first World Series title since 1983.

?Sad to see it happen,? Gausman said. ?Obviously, I would love for us all to stay here and ride off into the sunset together. But at this point, that?s kind of unrealistic.?

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