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reamed for a - yyys123 - 04-01-2020

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. 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. Darron Lee Super Bowl Jersey .Ryan Anderson had 14 points for the Pelicans, who trailed 78-63 after three periods before trimming the deficit to 86-83. Jrue Holiday had 13 points and Eric Gordon added 12 for New Orleans.Mike Scott and Jeff Teague each had 11 points for Atlanta. Demarcus Robinson Super Bowl Jersey . Vinci also beat Dulgheru last week in Bucharest en route to her first WTA final in a year. Vinci next faces sixth-seeded Kurumi Nara of Japan, who beat Czech qualifier Katerina Siniakova 7-6 (5), 6-7 (3), 6-2. No. http://www.thechiefsshoponline.com/Youth-Dustin-Colquitt-Chiefs-Jersey/ .com) - Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James will sit out Thursdays game against the Oklahoma City Thunder with left knee soreness. Tony Gonzalez Super Bowl Jersey . on the 15-day disabled Monday list because of a strained right hamstring. LeSean McCoy Super Bowl Jersey .Y. -- Defenceman Ryan Murphy had a goal and an assist and Drew MacIntyre made 24 saves to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Islanders 4-2 in an exhibition game Wednesday night. MANAUS, Brazil -- Xherdan Shaqiris hat trick put Switzerland into the second round of the World Cup, and kept coach Ottmar Hitzfeld gainfully employed for at least a few more days. Shaqiri scored a pair of first-half goals and added another in the second Wednesday to give Switzerland a 3-0 victory over Honduras, a result that put the Swiss in second place in Group E behind France. "We knew that we were going to show great football today," said Shaqiri, a Bayern Munich winger. "For us, this has been really a dream to be in the World Cup, small Switzerland in the World Cup." The small Swiss will next face the not-so-small Lionel Messi and Argentina on Tuesday in Sao Paulo in what could be Hitzfelds final match. The German veteran, a two-time Champions League winner as a coach, has said this tournament will be his last. "We are really anxious for that. We also know that we are not the favourites for the match, but we are going to try for victory," Shaqiri said. "Getting to the round of 16, everything is possible. You never know." Shaqiri scored his first goal in the sixth minute, dribbling into a crowd of defenders and curling a shot into the net off the underside of the crossbar. In the 31st, he collected a pass from Josip Drmic after a defensive error and easily beat Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares. Shaqiri completed his hat trick in the 71st. Drmic did well to beat Honduras defender Victor Bernardez on the left and pass to a charging Shaqiri, who one-timed his shot past a diving Valladares. In the other Group E game, France held Ecuador to a 0-0 draw. The match at the Arena da Amazonia was the fourth and final game to be played in the Brazilian rainforest, and was the second to have an official cooling break because of the stifling heat and humidity. According to FIFA, it was 26 degrees C (79 degrees F) with the humidity at 88 per cent when the match started. Referee Nestor Pitana of Argentina made the decision to stop the match in the 39th, and the break lasted for about a minute. There was also an official break in the first half of the United States-Portugal match on Sunday. After three 6 p.m. starts at the Arena da Amazonia, Wednesdays match started at 4 p.m. But a noontime thunderstorm combiined with overcast skies and a slight breeze cooled the temperature a bit after several days of sunny skies and oppressive heat.dddddddddddd "Toward the end things were getting tougher, but we managed to deal with this," Hitzfeld said. "We ran for the ball." The extreme weather had been something Honduras was looking forward to. The Central American country has a similar climate, and they often play qualifiers under the same circumstances in an effort to gain an advantage over opposing teams. On Wednesday, Honduras struggled to create much on the attacking end, but did manage several decent attempts in the second half. The teams best chance came in the 52nd minute when striker Jerry Bengtson beat Switzerland goalkeeper Diego Benaglio but had his shot cleared off the line by defender Ricardo Rodriguez. A few minutes later, Honduras screamed for a penalty after substitute Jerry Palacios went down in the area with Switzerland defender Johan Djourou on his back, but Pitana decided otherwise. "The second half was very good. We had three or four chances to score, but to score a goal is a different story," said Honduras coach Luis Fernando Suarez, who said he would not continue as coach of the national team. "In a sense, we disappointed our nation." Switzerland and Honduras played each other at the World Cup in South Africa exactly four years ago, on June 25, 2010, but that match ended in a 0-0 draw and both teams were eliminated. This time, the Swiss move on and Hitzfeld has plenty more work to do against Argentina. "(Its) going to be a match that we have nothing to lose. We have a lot to gain," Hitzfeld said. "We do have a chance, even against Argentina." ------ Lineups: Honduras: Noel Valladares; Brayan Beckeles, Victor Bernardez, Maynor Figueroa, Juan Carlos Garcia; Oscar Boniek Garcia (Andy Najar, 77), Jorge Claros, Wilson Palacios, Roger Espinoza (Marvin Chavez, 46); Carlo Costly (Jerry Palacios, 40), Jerry Bengtson. Switzerland: Diego Benaglio; Stephan Lichtsteiner, Johan Djourou, Fabian Schaer, Ricardo Rodriguez; Valon Behrami, Gokhan Inler, Xherdan Shaqiri (Blerim Dzemaili, 87), Granit Xhaka (Michael Lang, 77), Admir Mehmedi; Josip Drmic (Haris Seferovic, 73). ' ' '