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TORONTO - The surging Phoenix Suns had already erased a 17-point deficit and hit seven of 10 three-point attempts in the fourth quarter when point guard Isaiah Thomas made his move, looking to complete Phoenixs comeback with just over 20 seconds remaining. Marcel Dionne Jersey . Thomas, one of the leagues premier reserves, had hit all four of his shots in the frame, all four from beyond the arc and a couple of them from way behind the arc. Borrowing a play from his own greatest hits - one that won Toronto a game in Boston earlier this month - Kyle Lowry, defending Thomas, reached in and poked the ball away. Scrambling for it around centre court, Lowry forced a jump ball with the Suns 5-foot-9 super sub. Toronto was barely hanging onto a fleeting two-point lead when Lowry made the single biggest play of the night, ultimately sealing the Raptors 12th victory in 14 tries to begin the campaign. It was huge, Dwane Casey said following Mondays 104-100 win, Torontos fifth straight. That last play, where he dived on the ball and poked it away and caught [Thomas] sleeping was huge. He has the instincts to do that. As long as Casey is in charge, the Raptors will continue to hang their hats on defence. Thats what wins in this league, as hell tell you. Its what won on this night. However, its their suddenly red-hot offence that has helped propel them to their best start in team history. Mondays game featured two of the leagues highest scoring teams. The Raptors entered their meeting with Phoenix ranked second in points per game (first in the East), just ahead of the fourth-ranked Suns. Its hardly unusual to see the Suns at the top of the NBAs offensive hierarchy. With Steve Nash at the helm of a prolific and revolutionary offence, the Suns paced the NBA in scoring for six straight seasons earlier in the decade. Last year, their first under head coach Jeff Hornacek, they tailored their attack around a pair of dynamic point guards, reestablishing themselves as a nightly threat to run you out of the gym. But its a relatively new look for the defensive-minded Raptors. Their rise to the top of the scoring ladder has been gradual. Its been more subtle. In Caseys first year with the team, the 2011-12 lockout shortened campaign, the Raptors made strides in changing their culture by prioritizing defence, mostly at the expense of scoring. They were second to last in the league that season in offensive efficiency (scoring 100.8 points per 100 possessions). The next year, they improved to 13th in that category (105.9) before jumping to 10th last season (108.8). Through 14 games to begin the new year, the Raptors are the leagues second best team, scoring 114.1 points per 100 possessions, trailing only the Dallas Mavericks. There doesnt seem to be one easy explanation to justify the improvement. Firstly, internal growth has played a significant role. Lowry, by far the teams most valuable commodity and decision maker, has been unleashed, DeMar DeRozan has become more disciplined and Terrence Ross has blossomed into a reliable three-point shooter, stretching the floor and freeing up the two guards. The addition of Lou Williams, the Easts reigning Player of the Week, has added a new dimension off the bench. He, along with Lowry and DeRozan are among the best in the league at drawing and then selling contact on long jumpers, something that has helped the Raptors get to the line at an impressive rate. The Raptors attempted another 32 free throws Monday, hitting 26, which turned out to be a major advantage over the Suns, who made eight of their 11 shots from the line. Next, and perhaps most importantly, theyre getting back to sharing the ball. After being held under the 20-assist mark in seven of their first 10 games, the Raptors have exceeded 20 dimes in each of their last four contests. Lowry led Toronto with eight of its 21 assists against the Suns, but everyone was making a conscious effort to dish out the extra pass, from the teams guards all the way to Chuck Hayes, who dropped a nifty behind-the-back dime to Ross for a reverse slam in the second quarter. Its natural for our guys because theyve seen the fruits of it, of moving the ball, sharing the ball, Casey said. You wouldnt think it the first week, we were 27th in assists or something like that but now the ball is moving, its not sticking. I think once guys get comfortable within the offence, with the rhythm of the game, they do share the ball when they trust that the ball is going to go back to them. Then theres Jonas Valanciunas, the teams X-factor when utilized on offence. Hes never been better on that end than he was Monday. Valanciunas needed just 11 shots, missing only one, to score a career-best 27 points. The high-scoring tempo of the game didnt seem like one that would be conducive to a seven-footer with his skill set, but the Raptors third-year centre used that to his advantage, punishing the Suns smaller front line. To their credit, the Raptors - primarily Lowry - made a conscious effort to get Valanciunas the ball in the low post, which isnt always the case. He was dominant tonight, Lowry said. He was really aggressive, he asserted himself, he really attacked the basket. He really went out there and played like a true, dominant 7-foot centre. When all these pieces are clicking the way they have been, the Raptors offence has proven to be a handful. They have now scored 100 or more points in 12 of their first 14 games. But most importantly, for Casey, it hasnt come at the expense of their defence. Entering the game against Phoenix, the Raptors were still ranked fifth in defensive efficiency. Last year they were the only Eastern Conference team with a top 10 offensive and defensive rating. So far, Toronto and Memphis are the only NBA clubs ranked in the top five in both categories. We have a lot of scorers now, Valanciunas said. We have Lou, he can shoot from everywhere. Hes given us a lot. DeMar can shoot, Kyle Lowry can score, I can [list] names of every player who can score. Trevor Lewis Kings Jersey . -- Billy Andrade hasnt played much competitive golf over the past four years. Jake Muzzin Kings Jersey. On Saturday night, Winnipegs strong offense was again accompanied by some fantastic pitching which gave the Fish a commanding victory.MILWAUKEE - Ben Streets power-play goal in overtime gave the red-hot Abbotsford Heat a 4-3 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals in American Hockey League action on Tuesday. The Heat, coming off their first loss of the month on Saturday in Oklahoma City, trailed 2-0 after one period and 3-1 after two, before winning for the 10th time in 11 games. Blair Jones, Markus Granlund and Greg Nemisz got the other Abbotsford (14-5-1) goals. Robyn Regehr Jersey. Nemisz supplied the equalizer at 10:13 of the third period. Austin Watson and Simon Moser opened the scoring for Milwaukee (8-4-3), and Miikka Salomaki made it 3-1 in the second period. Joni Ortio handled 37 shots for Abbotsford, while Magnus Hellberg stopped 33 for the Admirals. The Heat were 2 for 6 on the power play, and Milwaukee was 1 for 5. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '
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