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CHICAGO -- Nate Schierholtz was one of the few dependable hitters in Cubs lineup a season ago. [url=http://www.authenticmanchest Antworten

Raptors Top Five: Best point guards With the Toronto Raptors celebrating their 20th anniversary season in 2014-15, Josh Lewenberg and TSN. Domata Peko Jersey .ca take a look back at the franchises first two decades with weekly Top Five lists, counting down the standout and signature players and moments in team history. 5. T.J. Ford (2006-08) Raptor stats (2 seasons): 13.2 points, 7.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 126 games played/97 started One of the first orders of business for incoming general manager Bryan Colangelo, upon taking the helm prior to the 2006-07 campaign, was to shore up the point guard position. Although his initial gamble - the selection of Andrea Bargnani, first overall - will go down as a black mark on the former GMs resume, he would hit a home run just two days later, acquiring the speedy Ford from Milwaukee and selling high on then-rookie sensation Charlie Villanueva. Ford made an immediate impact, averaging 14.0 points and a personal-best 7.9 assists, helping to lead the franchise to its first division title in his debut year with the Raptors. Listed at a generous six-feet, Ford was a fearless player - its what made him great and loads of fun to watch before it ultimately ended his career early. Not unlike his time in the league, Fords Raptor tenure was short lived, derailed by serious neck and spinal injuries. He shares a common thread with others on this list in the way he fought through that adversity - refusing to compromise his style of play - but doesnt get the same recognition for it. Did you know?: Ford assisted on 44.6 per cent of his teammates field goals while on the floor as a member of the Raptors, the highest mark in franchise history. 4. Jose Calderon (2005-13) Raptor stats (8 seasons): 10.0 points, 7.2 assists, 1.7 turnovers, 48 per cent FG, 39 percent 3P, 525 games played/323 started More so than anyone else on this list, Calderon is the type of player that comes to mind when you think of the throw-back point guard, a dying breed in basketball. A truly selfless leader, the Spaniard remains a consummate professional and teammate, now with his third team in two years since being traded in the deal that netted the Raptors Rudy Gay. His NBA home will always be in Toronto, where he spent nearly a decade and grew into one of the more dependable floor generals in the league. When Calderon debuted in 2005 he could barely speak the language or knock down an open jumper (16 per cent from three-point range). Thanks in large part to the work he put in over the years that followed, he would go on to lead the NBA, shooting a ridiculous 46 per cent from long distance in 2012-13, his final season in Toronto. Routinely at the top of the association in assist-to-turnover ratio, Calderons near-flawless instincts on the offensive end helped him overtake a number of flashier point guards in the rotation, including Ford, leading to the latters departure. Underestimate him at your own peril. Defensive shortcomings aside, Calderon had a lasting impact on the franchise and wont soon by forgotten. Did you know?: Calderon ranks third in Raptors history in win shares (an estimate of the number of wins contributed by a player) at 41.5, behind only Chris Bosh and Vince Carter. Hes the Raptors all-time leader in assists (3770) 3. Alvin Williams (1998-2006) Raptor stats (8 seasons): 9.3 points, 4.3 assists, 1.4 turnovers, 417 games played/324 started To clarify, while Williams remains one of, if not the most beloved Raptor of all time, hes here because of his on-court contributions and overall importance to the franchise. No, his numbers dont stand out, theyre modest at best. That said, Boogie peaked at the right time and came into his own just as the Raptors reached their pinnacle - not a coincidence. An excellent defender and clutch shooter, Williams was the perfect sidekick to Carter in the backcourt. He broke out as a reserve in 2000-01, prompting his promotion and the midseason trade of Mark Jackson before hitting the biggest shot of his career - and possibly Raptors history - in the playoffs, a series-winning dagger at Madison Square Garden. The following season he played in all 82 games, averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 assists, helping lead Toronto to an unexpected playoff berth without the injured Carter to lean on. More than anything else, Williams is known for his toughness. That and his crucial role in the franchises biggest moments make him deserving of this spot. Did you know?: Williams has appeared in 18 playoff games for the Raptors, tied with Morris Peterson for most in team history. 2. Damon Stoudamire (1995-98) Raptor stats (3 seasons): 19.6 points, 8.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 200 games played/200 started An original Raptor, Stoudamire was also the franchises first ever star, and a marketable one at that. He burst onto the scene as a rookie in 1995-96, the teams inaugural season, averaging 19.0 points and 9.3 assists. The lone bright spot during the organizations early years, Mighty Mouse intrigued a young fan base with his crafty, fast-paced style of play and was at the forefront of some signature moments, namely Torontos unlikely victory over Michael Jordan and the 72-win Chicago Bulls. At 5-foot-10, Stoudamire could do the unimaginable. He was durable, lightning quick and like Williams - a player he was ultimately traded for - tough as nails. Alas, the relationship between player and franchise turned sour and Stoudamires production proved to be unsustainable once he engineered his own exit and moved on from the Raptors. You could certainly argue he was nothing more than a good player putting up great numbers on a bad team, but that shouldnt tarnish his Raptors legacy. For the first two and a half years of their existence, the Raptors featured one of the most exciting young talents in the NBA, an ideal set-up for any infant franchise. Did you know?: Stoudamire logged an average of 40.9 minutes per game in his rookie season, the seventh-highest among first-year players in NBA history. The six players ahead of him (Wilt Chamberlain, Elvin Hayes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robertson, Walt Bellamy and Jerry Lucas) are all Hall of Famers. Hes also the Raptors all-time leader in assists per game (8.8) 1. Kyle Lowry (2012-present) Raptor stats (2 seasons): 15.0 points, 6.9 assists, 4.7 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 147 games played/131 started Lowrys all-star caliber 2013-14 campaign will go down as one of the most impressive single-season performances by any player, at any position in the franchises first 20 years. After a disappointing debut season in Toronto and a series of lost years in Houston and Memphis, the 28-year-old finally realized his immense potential, finding himself at the most crucial time for both player and team. With free agency looming, Lowrys maturation as a leader - on and off the court - lifted his team to new heights at a time in which many expected them to head in the opposite direction. By channeling his toughness and stubborn nature in the right direction, he established himself as the face of the franchise - now and for the foreseeable future - and one of the NBAs elite point guards. Perhaps his most meaningful contribution to the organization occurred this summer when he bucked the trend of runaway stars and committed to Toronto long-term. Lowry - a two-way terror at the position - has spearheaded a Raptors renaissance, rejuvenating a long-suffering fan base entering the teams 20th season. Did you know?: Lowry set a franchise-record with 190 three-point field goals last season. His 11.7 win shares represented the third highest single-season mark in team history, behind only Carter. Honourable mention: Mike James (2005-06), Rafer Alston (2002-03, 2004-05), Muggsy Bogues (1999-2001), Mark Jackson (2000-01) Expert picks: Jack Armstrong 1. Alvin Williams 2. Jose Calderon 3. Damon Stoudamire 4. Kyle Lowry 5. T.J. Ford Leo Rautins 1. Kyle Lowry 2. Damon Stoudamire 3. Jose Calderon 4. Alvin Williams 5. Mark Jackson Jared Crick Jersey . Louis Cardinals. He was 48. The commissioners office said Bell died in his home state of Ohio. Bell had not been feeling well over the weekend and had been scheduled to see doctors later Monday at the Cleveland Clinic. Shane Ray Jersey .Y. - Geno Smith shouted a couple of mighty expensive expletives. . This week, topics cover the Blue Jays rotation, the futures John Gibbons and Alex Anthopoulos, protecting pitchers and a bonus question on his predictions for the MLB playoffs.PHOENIX -- What was supposed to be the triumphant return of Eric Bledsoe for Phoenix instead was an ugly home loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Kyrie Irving scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Cavaliers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 110-101 victory on Wednesday night. Spencer Hawes added 19, 17 in the first quarter, and Luol Deng scored 18 for Cleveland. Bledsoe, who underwent knee surgery and missed 33 games, had 15 points on 5 for 16 shooting and a team-high nine assists in 32 minutes. "It spoiled everything," he said of the loss. "It was a team we needed to beat and a game we needed to win, so now its going to make it that much tougher." Goran Dragic scored 20 points, Markieff Morris 18 and Channing Frye 17 in the Suns third straight loss. Irving also had nine rebounds and six assists for the Cavs, who never trailed, building a 14-point first-quarter lead. "They looked like the team that was trying to get into the playoffs," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We looked like the team that just wanted to play a basketball game." Phoenix fell two games behind Memphis and Dallas for the final two playoff spots in the West. The Cavaliers led by as many as 20 at home before falling to Phoenix earlier this season. But they held off a Phoenix rally this time. "A lot of huge contributions from a lot of our guys, especially from the three-point line," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. Cleveland led by 15 in the opening minutes of the third quarter but the Suns, behind Dragics 11 third-quarter points, cut it to two twice late in the period, the last time on Gerald Greens 11-footer in the lane that made it 77-75 with 35.9 seconds left. But after the teams traded baskets, Dion Waiters made a 3 at the buzzer to put Cleveland up 82-77 entering the fourth. It was part of a 12-2 run that gave thhe Cavaliers an 89-77 lead on Irvings 18-footer with 10:15 to play. Demarcus Walker Jersey. Greens steal and breakaway dunk cut it to 89-81, but Irving scored eight, including two 3s, in a 9-3 spurt and the Cavs led 98-84 with 6:33 left. Green, who had averaged 26 points in his previous five games, scored eight on 4 of 14 shooting, 0 for 6 from 3-point range as the Suns went 10 for 36 from beyond the arc to Clevelands 12 of 24. The Cavs outrebounded Phoenix 51-36. The Suns also struggled from the foul line, going 13 of 22 to Clevelands 22 of 27. Hawes scored 17 in the first quarter, including 3 of 3 3-pointers, as Cleveland took a 37-24 lead. "They were sinking back and just letting me walk into some on the trail so I took advantage of that," he said. It was the highest-scoring first quarter of the season for the Cavaliers. "I dont know what it is with us in these first quarters," Dragic said. "We played better (after that) but you use up so much energy trying to come back." Phoenix never got closer than nine in the second quarter. Markieff Morris scored inside to make it 46-37, but Tristan Thompson made a 6-footer and Deng made a 3 and Cleveland led 51-37 with 4:01 left in the half. The Cavs were up 60-47 at the break, outrebounding the Suns 25-13 and making 8 of 11 3s to Phoenixs 5 of 18 in the first two quarters. Notes: The Cavaliers signed F Shane Edwards to a 10-day contract and released F Arinze Onuaku. ... The game was the only one at home for Phoenix in a stretch of six. ... Hawes was called for a flagrant foul on Miles Plumlee in the third quarter. ... Phoenix has lost seven of 10. ... Cleveland shot 47 per cent, ending a string of seven straight games in which the Phoenix opponent shot better than 50 per cent. ... The Cavs have won five of their past seven against Western Conference teams. ... 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