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13.12.2018 04:45
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BROOKLYN - With just over four minutes to go in the third quarter, Amir Johnson sat on the bench, wincing in pain as he watched the game and, in effect, his teams season slip away. Authentic Fred VanVleet Jersey . That seemed like an appropriate time to get a head start on the Raptors playoff obituary. Their first-half onslaught had evaporated, the 17-point lead was no more and Johnson, like Kyle Lowry, was battling foul trouble and a myriad of ailments. At that point the momentum, if you believe in such things, belonged to the hosting Brooklyn Nets. This upstart Raptors team had been in similar situations throughout the season - fighting for their lives, backs up against the wall - but, tied going into the fourth quarter of a critical Game 4, this would be their biggest and most revealing test yet. They had a new audience, a brighter spotlight, a bigger stage and 12 minutes to prove something that they themselves already knew. "Everybody has something on their body that definitely hurts," said Johnson, who injured his knee in a failed attempt to draw a charge on the Nets Paul Pierce, "but we keep playing, we keep fighting. Its not the time to hold back now. Weve got to keep going." The Raptors held Brooklyn without a field goal for the final six minutes, without a point for the last five and in doing so they showed more character than they had at any point in this series. "Thats just us, man," DeMar DeRozan said after scoring a team-high 24 points in the Raptors scrappy 87-79 win on Sunday, tying their best-of-seven opening round series up at 2-2. "Were definitely resilient, were not going to give up until the games over. Were going to fight through." Just as things were at their most bleak - Lowry had picked up his fifth foul and Johnson, still on the bench, was also saddled with five - the Raptors got serious. Slightly out of character, DeRozan drew a charge, then he took another. Was that a first? "Nah, I dont think so," the all-star guard said with a smirk on his face as Lowry, sitting next to him, chuckled. "I hope its not." Then Lowry, throwing caution to the wind, reached in and poked the ball away from Pierce. Johnson followed suit and in a familiar scene - one that earned him his fifth foul and a sore knee earlier - stepped in to take the charge. Both Lowry and Johnson were one foul away from spending the rest of the game watching from the sidelines, one hit to the knee away from spending the rest of the night on the trainers table. Neither player seemed willing to allow his team to lose. "Theyre fighters," said Jonas Valanciunas. "Theyre soldiers. They go on the court anyway. So its good when you have those types of guys on your team." Everyone is dealing with bumps and bruises to some degree at this point in the season. Who wasnt limping out there tonight, Valanciunas was asked. "Julyan Stone," the young centre said with a smile. But there was Lowry, limping up and down the court between possessions, lying next to the bench to stay loose when he wasnt in the game. He had tweaked his reoccurring right knee injury early in Game 3, on top of all the nicks hes accumulated over a long season, but he gutted it out again. Where would his team be without him? "We would have probably got in a fight if I tried to take him out of the game," coach Dwane Casey joked. "Hes dealing with a lot right now and he came through with flying colours. He fought through foul trouble, a little bit of adversity throughout the game and still came through.” Lowry scored 12 of his 22 points in the second half and once again, with the game on the line, his team resembled their point guard, their leader, their best player. "I am not surprised at all that Kyle was limping around, hes a warrior, hes everything to this team," said Chuck Hayes. "The guy gives it his all, we just feed off of him. Then we tease him about it after, hes going to have probably every ice bag in here on his body." "We dont give up man, were some fighters," Hayes continued. "We play like the underdog, we were the underdog probably all year, including this series. I dont know, we just go out there and play for each other." Go ahead, underestimate them, disrespect them and count them out. They feed off it. If respect is earned in the postseason, perhaps the Raptors are starting to turn heads. "We understand that this is a group thats not going to back down, thats not going to give up," Pierce said after the game. "Theyve earned a lot of peoples respect around the league. Just because you dont have a lot of playoff experience doesnt mean youre not a good team. You can learn on the fly." Theyve done just that, now its a whole new ball game. The Raptors will return to Toronto and their raucous crowd at the Air Canada Centre after reclaiming home-court advantage for what has become a best-of-three set, beginning with Wednesdays Game 5. Have they played their best basketball? "No," Lowry and DeRozan answered in unison, but there is a growing sense of belief in the room coinciding with an ambiance of nervousness that spread throughout Barclays Center as Toronto hit back on Sunday. The Raptors may not be in over their heads after all. "Were on a mission," Casey said. "Were not just here trying to win a game. We want to make sure we stay poised, stay focused on our business. Thats what weve been about all year." Authentic Malachi Richardson Jersey . - The New York Rangers have momentum, a unified locker room and Henrik Lundqvist. Authentic C.J. Miles Jersey . Patrick Sharp scored twice and Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell and Nick Leddy also connected to lead Chicago to a 5-2 win over the Devils on Monday night. http://www.cheapraptorsjerseysauthentic.com/?tag=authentic-delon-wright-jersey . PAUL, Minn. ARLINGTON, Texas -- Shin-Soo Choo is already having a positive influence at the top of the Texas Rangers lineup. Adrian Beltre has been clutch for them since 2011. For the second night in a row, they played big in a winning ninth-inning rally. Choo drew a bases-loaded, game-ending walk against Jonathan Papelbon as the Rangers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Wednesday to clinch the season-opening series. "Its really special for us," said Choo, who signed a seven-year free-agent deal with the Rangers this winter. "Thats why you play nine innings, and thats what we do every night is play nine innings," manager Ron Washington said. "In the end, we did what we had to do. We got focused and put some good at-bats together and made things happen." Beltre, whose ninth-inning single Tuesday night drove home Choo with the winning run, started this three-run rally with a leadoff single. After Mitch Morelands double, pinch-hitter Jim Adduci had an RBI infield single and Leonys Martin singled home the tying run. Donnie Murphy walked on four pitches before Choo got to full-count pitch before walking. Adduci reached on a slow roller down the third-base line with one out before Martin grounded a single through the drawn-in infield. "The whole inning was kind of just one of those innings. You get a cue ball down the third base line. Then you get a double-play ball, which you think is the game-ending double play. Its not," said Papelbon, who gave up four hits and two walks while retiring only on batter. "My whole focus was get a ground ball, get a double play and get us out of the inning." Seth Rosin (1-0) worked two scoreless innings for his first major league victory. Moreland had a triple in the seventh and scored on Martins two-out single. "Its a nice way to start the season," Moreland said. "We really came together these last couple of games. Authentic Lucas Nogueira Jersey. " Ryan Howard hit a two-run homer and Kyle Kendrick allowed only one run over seven innings for the Phillies, who still havent won a road series since Ryne Sandberg took over as their manager last August -- first on an interim bases before getting the full-time gig. The Phillies lost 24 of 32 games over their final 10 road series last season. They split four games against the New York Mets last August in Sandbergs first series on the road -- but had dropped the previous five series away from home, and then lost the last four. They won this years season opener 14-10 before consecutive ninth-inning losses. Texas left-hander Robbie Ross struck out seven over five innings in his first major league start after 123 relief appearances the past two seasons. He allowed three runs and seven hits with two walks. Howards homer made it 3-0 in the third. It was his first homer since July 5, when he went deep in his final game last season before going onto the disabled list because of left knee inflammation. After Philly got an unearned run in the first after centre fielder Martin bobbled the ball for an error, Texas failed to score in the bottom of the inning after two hits and two errors by the Phillies. Choo got caught in a rundown and tagged out between third base and home after Kendrick initially dropped a grounder. NOTES: The Phillies were a player short after SS Jimmy Rollins returned home to be with his wife for the birth of their second child. ... Texas said ace RHP Yu Darvish will make his season debut Sunday at Tampa Bay. He was put on the disabled list because of neck stiffness. ... Rangers INF Adam Rosales cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Triple-A Round Rock. ... Both teams are off Thursday before road games Friday. The Phillies play the Chicago Cubs for the opener marking the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, and the Rangers are at Tampa Bay. 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