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But there were big hits (ATC-SIM)

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TORONTO - Although Wednesdays overtime loss was one that Jonas Valanciunas would sooner forget than relive, his coach hopes its something the Raptors sophomore centre will learn from. [url=http://www.cheapairmax1ireland.com/]Cheap Air Max 1 Ireland[/url] . In what promised to be a tricky matchup for the 21-year-old, Valanciunas held his own against the crafty Al Jefferson offensively but was taught a lesson or two on the other end. One of those moments occurred at the end of the extra period. Jefferson set a hard screen that freed up Kemba Walker, forcing Valanciunas to switch off and close out on the Bobcats guard. Walker would drain the game-winner over Valanciunas as time expired. "Weve watched film with him [and] work on it with him individually," Dwane Casey said after practice Thursday afternoon. "In the NBA, a lot depends on game experience and hes seeing every different post-up situation." Valanciunas scored 10 points and added six rebounds in 22 minutes of action Wednesday however, Jefferson poured in 24 to go along with 11 boards, leading the Bobcats with five points in overtime. "Hes still in the process, hes still learning the league, learning the speed of the game and again, hes [getting] better," Casey said, commending Valanciunas growth on the offensive end. "I thought he did an excellent job offensively when he got his catches in the post. Hes really grown from that standpoint." His biggest challenge continues to come on the defensive end, where hes still being exposed by quicker, versatile and more experienced big men. Jefferson is a nightmare assignment for any player, let alone a young and developing big. "My whole career, to this day, people always ask who the hardest [players] are to guard and I surprise them every time when I tell them Al Jefferson and Zach Randolph," said veteran forward and new teammate Chuck Hayes, who participated in his first full practice with the Raptors Wednesday. "For their size - theyre so wide - theyre light on their feet and theyve got great footwork and their shooting touch is just as good as any guard in the league." "It sucks that [Valanciunas] went through that torture chamber in a game that we needed before this road trip but its a learning process," Hayes continued. "Well see them again, Im sure and hell remember that overtime where Al got the best of him." Although Valanciunas shares the blame for what went wrong in overtime, theres plenty of it to go around. The Raptors, as a team, missed their first six field goal attempts while DeMar DeRozan shot 1-of-4. You can also cut the seven-footer some slack, given the amount of time he had spent on the bench. Valanciunas sat for over 17 minutes of game time, including the entire fourth quarter, before coming back in to start overtime. Facing Charlottes unconventional frontcourt of Jefferson and Josh McRoberts, a stretch four, Valanciunas became a late-game afterthought once again, sitting out in favour of Amir Johnson, Tyler Hansbrough, and the newly acquired Patrick Patterson. As Casey notes, it is sometimes a give-and-take with Valanciunas on the floor, certainly in a matchup like Wednesdays. Whatever advantage is gained on the offensive end, assuming the team is utilizing it, is often given right back on defence. With the game on the line, Casey - like he has done in past - opted to play it safe with more experienced and versatile defenders at the position. "Thats why its hard to win consistently with young players in the NBA," said the Raptors coach. "Jonas is going to be okay but thats the patience you have to have with a young player; take the good with the bad." While those who expected the world from Valanciunas in his second NBA season may be disappointed in the early returns, Casey is just as realistic as he is optimistic. It wont happen overnight, Casey reiterates regularly. It didnt with Tyson Chandler, it didnt with Roy Hibbert or Joakim Noah and it wont with Valanciunas. Inevitably, developing Valanciunas will become more of a priority now that Rudy Gay has been dealt. The challenge for Casey - who is trying to win first and foremost, as you would expect - centres on finding that balance between competing and nurturing the future of the franchise, a future he may not even be a part of. "I love the challenge of coaching young players, I enjoy that. I enjoy winning more," he said, half-jokingly. "But I understand where we are and what were about." Valanciunas represents the future of this team more than anyone else that is currently on the roster. The expectations, at least internally, have not changed. The word Casey continues to stress is patience. "Its a process," he insists. "Were patient [but] hes our guy, hes our starting centre for a long time and were just going to have to roll with it." [url=http://www.cheapairmax1ireland.com/]Air Max 1 Ireland[/url] . Now, the hottest team on the ATP are pointing their sights on qualifying for the eight-team season finals in London next November. Pospisil has now established the year-end World Tour Finals as the benchmark for a breakthrough season, with Pospisil and Sock provisionally standing ninth. [url=http://www.cheapairmax1ireland.com/]Air Max 1 Clearance[/url] . The native of Mont-Tremblant, Que., captured a World Cup downhill event Saturday, his second this year and fifth career victory on the circuit. [url=http://www.cheapairmax1ireland.com/]http://www.cheapairmax1ireland.com/[/url] . The trade deadline is Monday, Mar. 2 at 3pm et/Noon pt. TRADES COMPLETED SINCE OCT. 1, 2014: Feb. 15, 2015 Toronto Maple Leafs acquire: F Olli Jokinen, F Brendan Leipsic, 1st Round Pick (2015) Nashville Predators acquire: D Cody Franson, F Mike Santorelli Feb. OMAHA, Neb. -- Adam Plutko limited Mississippi State to a run on four hits in six innings, and UCLA survived some anxious moments to beat the Bulldogs 3-1 in Game 1 of the College World Series finals Monday night. Plutko retired nine straight to start, worked out of trouble twice and turned the game over to the bullpen in the seventh. The Bulldogs (51-19) left runners in scoring position four of the last six innings. "We dodged some bullets, no doubt about it, but you have to give credit to our defence.," UCLA coach John Savage said. "Kind of a Bruin game. Tight game, and at the end of the night we were fortunate to come out with the win." The Bruins (48-17) are one win from their first national championship in baseball and the schools record 109th in a team sport. "Not much to get excited about," Savage said. "It comes down to tomorrow." Mississippi State must win Game 2 on Tuesday night to keep alive its hopes for its first NCAA title in any sport. UCLA made it 3-0 in the fourth on Eric Filias two-out, two-run single off Chad Girodo, who replaced starter Trevor Fitts (0-1) in the second. That was the last of the Bruins six hits. Plutko (10-3) walked in the Bulldogs run in the fourth. UCLA is 40-0 when leading after seven innings. There was drama all the way to the end. The estimated 8,000 Mississippi State fans at TD Ameritrade Park started the "Maroon and White" chant in the bottom of the ninth after C.T. Bradford and pinch-hitter Sam Frost singled to put runners on first and second with one out against closer David Berg. Nick Ammirati flew out, and pinch-hitter Jacob Robson ended the game with his comebacker to Berg, who sprinted toward first base before underhanding the ball to Pat Gallagher. Berg, who was making his 50th appearance of the season, earned his NCAA-record 24th save for 1 2-3 innings of work. "Records are meant to be broken, but titles are what matter," Berg said. "So if we all win a national championship, Ill enjoy that. But right now I dont think about it at all." The loss spoiled a splendid performance by Girodo, who pitched the last 7 2-3 innings. He allowed three hits, walked two and struck out nine. Both runs against him were unearned. UCLAs Plutko wasnt overly sharp, unable to rely on his breaking ball and changeup to get outs. But he still continued his dominance in post-season play. In eight career NCAA tournament games, hes 7-0 with an 0. [url=http://www.cheapairmax1ireland.com/]Cheap Air Max 1 Sale[/url]. 94 ERA. The Bruins brought a .248 season batting average into the finals, and a .182 average through their first three CWS games. They eked out enough offence to win again. In the first three innings, they had batters reach on a dropped third strike, infield single, two hit batsmen and a throwing error. But there were big hits, too. Filia, who came in 1 for 9 in the CWS, doubled after Kevin Kramer struck out but reached because strike three was in the dirt. Pat Valaikas single to centre drove in Kramer for a 1-0 lead. "First base runner of the game kind of spells it out," Bulldogs coach John Cohen said. "I really wish that kid hadnt swung at that pitch. Im not saying it to be a smart aleck, but that kid doesnt swing at that pitch, it lands in front of the plate, I think the ball game could be different. But crazy things happen in sports." The Bruins added two more in the fourth. Brenton Allen singled and Brian Carroll reached when he bunted and catcher Ammirati made a bad throw to first. Carroll ran into Bulldogs 6-foot-5, 272-pound first baseman Wes Rea while running through the bag. Rea stayed down after the knee-to-knee contact but was able to keep playing after an athletic trainer attended to him. Allen and Carroll came home on Filias base hit to right. Mississippi State got its first hit with one out in the fourth when Alex Detz sent a ball up the middle. Brett Pirtle followed with a base hit and Rea was hit by a pitch to load the bases. That got the "Maroon and White" chant started as Bradford came up to face Plutko. Bradford fouled off three straight pitches before the count ran full. Plutko walked him with a high changeup, bringing in Detz and UCLA coach John Savage out of the dugout for a mound visit. Plutkos 30-pitch inning ended when Trey Porter lined out. Plutko had to endure more stress in the fifth. Filia made a leaping catch in right field to rob Ammirati of extra bases, Demarcus Henderson reached when Plutko misplayed a comebacker and moved to second on a balk. The inning ended on Detzs line out to second baseman Cody Regis. Freshman reliever James Kaprielian came on in the seventh with a man on and none out. After he walked Ammirati, Henderson, the team leader in sacrifice bunts, fouled off two bunt tries and then grounded to second, where Regis started a double play. "Double play against Henderson was a game-changer," Savage said. 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