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Ujiri is banking on internal growth

in News 21.11.2019 08:55
von wh3171 • 195 Beiträge

BOSTON -- Nothing could stop Bostons Jared Sullinger on Friday night. Cheap Nike Shoes . Not a bruised left hand. Not the dislocated index finger on his right. And certainly not the Sacramento Kings. Sullinger scored 14 of his career-high 31 points in the fourth quarter, igniting a 15-0 surge that sent the Celtics to a 99-89 victory over the Kings and their longest winning streak in more than two months. Sullinger, who also pulled down 16 rebounds, hit just four of his first 10 shots from the field, but the second-year centre drained 10 of his final 14 as Boston closed the game on a 25-15 run. "I think he feels better every day," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "Fair or unfair, thats who we need him to be. And so thats the opportunity in front of him. "Im not saying that you have to get a double-double every day, but hes darn near capable of that." Jerryd Bayless added 19 points and Jeff Green had 17 for the Celtics, who won their third straight game for the first time since Dec. 3-8. And they did it without their starting backcourt. Rajon Rondo (soreness) and Avery Bradley (ankle) both sat out, allowing Bayless and rookie Phil Pressey to run the offence. But it was Sullinger who helped overcome their absence. The 6-foot-9, 280-pound inside force scored in nearly every way imaginable during his remarkable run in the fourth. He scored on layups, a dunk, a foul shot, a 3-pointer and capped his memorable performance with a nifty turnaround fadeaway on the baseline that kept Boston on top by 14 with 3 minutes to play. "I just went out and played my game," said Sullinger, who had season-ending back surgery last year. "I have been doing it for the last couple of games and just have been letting it go." DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 31 points and 16 rebounds, but was on the sideline for much of Bostons final push. He went to the bench late in the third with the Celtics up by three, and by the time he returned 4:10 into the fourth, Bostons lead had ballooned to 11. "I dont think I came in focused tonight," Cousins said. "There were some outside things that strike me tonight, so I blame myself for tonights loss." Isaiah Thomas had 24 points and Derrick Williams had 11 points and 12 boards for the Kings, who had won two straight. Sullinger actually heated up in the third, stringing together six straight points during a 10-0 run that handed the Celtics a 59-52 lead midway through the quarter. Boston came out firing in the fourth, opening an early 11-point lead on the heels of two 3-pointers from Bayless, who also displayed his defensive skills when he hustled back on a break to block a wide-open layup by Ben McLemore with 7:45 to play. "Just try and make plays. When you play well together, things work out," Bayless said. "It takes time for people to jell and right now you can see we are starting to jell a bit." Bayless block only sparked the Celtics -- Sullinger in particular -- further. He followed the swat with a rebound and putback, delivered a three-point play, hit a 3 and added the fadeaway to help preserve the lead. "Tip your hat to Jared Sullinger," Sacramento coach Michael Malone said. "He came out and dominated us tonight." Rondo had played in eight games since missing nearly a year with a torn ACL, and the four-time All Star has been rounding into form, averaging 13.5 points, 10.5 assists, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals in Bostons last two games. Sacramento was missing one of its top threats as well. Rudy Gay, averaging 20.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, sat out with an illness. NOTES: Boston C Vitor Faverani (knee) and Sacramento G Marcus Thornton (hip) also did not play. . Cousins was averaging 25 points and 13 rebounds over his last two games. He scored 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first quarter Friday. . Sacramento lost its sixth straight in Boston. . Boston shot 45.5 per cent (40 of 88) in the opening half, while Sacramento shot 35.6 per cent (31 of 87). . Thomas and Bayless got into a scuffle with 5:11 remaining, and both players had to be separated by teammates and referees. . Bradley has missed six of the last eight games with a sprained right ankle. Wholesale Nike Shoes . The Force had two men, including former Wallabies No. 8 Ben McCalman, in the sin-bin in the dying minutes of the match, but were able to resist a late Highlanders surge to post a four-try, bonus point win. Cheap Nike Shoes From China . Green-Ellis was Cincinnatis leading rusher each of the last two seasons. His role was reduced last year when Giovani Bernard was added to the backfield. Green-Ellis ran for 756 yards and a career-low 3. https://www.wholesalenikeshoesauthentic.com/ . - San Diego Padres centre fielder Cameron Maybin is going to be out two to three months after rupturing his left biceps tendon during a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday.Twelve months ago, Tim Leiweke was heading up Los Angeles-based sports giant AEG, partial owners of an expected-to-contend Lakers team. Masai Ujiri - one of the leagues lowest paid general managers - was set to begin his third season at the helm of the Denver Nuggets, a season that would see his team produce a franchise-record 57 wins, earning him NBA Executive of the Year honours. Locally, Bryan Colangelo shared his "acceleration plan" with the Toronto media ahead of what would be another disappointing year for the Raptors, missing the playoffs for a fifth consecutive season. A lot has changed in the last four months but as training camp approaches, the Raptors roster - apart from a missing former first-overall pick and a tweaked second unit - remains relatively untouched. But for how long? For this struggling franchise, any semblance of roster uniformity falls outside of the norm. In their 18-year existence theyve started 12 different centres on opening night. Theyve used an astonishing eight different starting small forwards to open eight seasons since Vince Carter was traded in 2005 (Rudy Gay should become the ninth in nine years when the team debuts at home to Boston on Oct. 30). They cycled through 22 different starting lineups last season (6th most in the NBA) after using 20 different first units during the lockout shortened 2011-12 campaign. In light of their recent front-office shuffle, the return of a group that started 21 of the final 32 games last season may come as a surprise. When Leiweke was appointed the president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment in late April, the Raptors new boss preached change. The makeover began shortly after with the reassignment of Colangelo and the eventual hiring of Ujiri, his former assistant. The Raptors will open training camp in Toronto on Oct. 1, Colangelo now out of the picture but the core he assembled, the core he believed could take this team to the next level, remains intact and ready to begin the season atop returning coach Dwane Caseys depth chart. Gay will attend his first camp as a Raptor, joining fifth-year guard DeMar DeRozan, sophomore centre Jonas Valanciunas, unheralded forward Amir Johnson and point guard Kyle Lowry, who is entering the final year of his contract acquired from Houston last July. Whether Ujiri believes in this group, as his former mentor did, or if the market and theiir value within it simply prohibited him from making a big move remains to be seen. Discount Nike Shoes. Ultimately, it doesnt matter. Now, the onus is on the players and their coach to justify Colangelos vision as the former GM watches from a distance. Theres reason to believe that status quo could work, assuming the goal is to squeeze into the post-season. The aforementioned group was Torontos most used five-man unit last year, despite only being assembled in February. They were ranked third among five-man units league-wide (minimum 300 minutes played together) in defensive efficiency, giving up 92.5 points per 100 possessions (an impressive 15 points fewer than Torontos 22nd-ranked season mark, via NBA.com/Stats). With Gay on board from the get-go, the continued improvement of Valanciunas and the hope of a healthy Lowry paired in the backcourt with a more efficient DeRozan, Ujiri is banking on internal growth. At least for now. Returning to Toronto with a reputation for being patient, albeit opportunistic, the Raptors new GM has a knack for unpredictability, a silent assassin navigating through an era obsessed with breaking news before it even happens. Thats precisely what makes this coming season one of the most intriguing in the franchises recent history. The decision makers have changed. So, too, has the philosophy. But will the player personnel? Will the trigger be pulled, when will it be pulled and what will prompt it? Another slow start could very well bring on wholesale changes in Toronto, but couldnt a hot start conceivably do the same? If the value of players like Gay (who can opt out after this season), Lowry (expiring contract) or DeRozan (four-year extension, signed by Colangelo took effect July 1) exceed their perceived worth prior to the trade deadline, could they be moved regardless of the teams trajectory? With change comes the inevitable uncertainty that is destined to surround this organization until a direction is made clear. Ujiri has just begun to put his fingerprints on this club, adding depth in the form of journeymen Tyler Hansbrough, D.J. Augustin, Steve Novak and Austin Daye, while appeasing the fan base by jettisoning disgruntled forward Andrea Bargnani to New York. What he does next - and when he does it - is anyones guess, which should make things interesting going into what could be the Raptors most unpredictable season yet. ' ' '

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