#1 ying for a mid-table club.Lori von carrie201918 23.04.2019 09:25

PHILADELPHIA - Despite a slow start to the season, the Raptors (4-7) can overtake the surprising 76ers (5-7) in the standings and claim sole possession of first place in the Atlantic when the division rivals meet on Wednesday. Dwane Casey has reminded his players that "the league hasnt gone anywhere" and their own division is a prime example. Its still early but Atlantic front runners New York and Brooklyn sit at the bottom of the division, both at 3-7, while Philadelphia - expected to be among the NBAs worst this season - has been a pleasant surprise, although the young 76ers appear to be coming back down to earth. "You read all this stuff about, theyre not playing to win, or whatever," Casey said, referring to the widespread belief that Philadelphia has constructed its team with the intention to tank this season. "Teams go in there with that relaxed attitude and thats not true." "Whatever the message is, those players are playing hard to win. You can have a different mission as an organization but as players theyre playing to win." After a 3-0 start - with impressive wins over the Heat and Bulls - the 76ers have struggled and, like the Raptors, have lost three of four coming into Wednesdays game. Two of Torontos defeats have come in overtime, including a 118-110 loss to the Trail Blazers at home Sunday afternoon. Rudy Gay scored 10 of his team-high 30 points during a 19-6 fourth-quarter run which was capped off by the forwards buzzer-beating layup to force extra time. The 76ers - who have defeated Toronto in seven of nine meetings - are coming off a 97-94 loss in Dallas on Monday, a game in which they shot just 38 per cent from the field. "They play really hard and outwork guys," said Philadelphia-native Kyle Lowry. "Theyve got some good players, theyve got players that are trying to make a name for themselves and theyre just going out there and playing hard." The Raptors havent been atop the Atlantic later than 10 games into a season since 2006-07, the only year they won the division. Trends and Tidbits Gay (20.6 points per game) and DeMar DeRozan (20.5) are one of four pairs of teammates averaging 20 or more points apiece in the NBA. Gay has scored 20 or more in each of the last four contests however, the team is winless (0-3) when both players exceed 20 points in the same game. The Raptors are 0-5 when DeRozan scores 20 or more. Gay and DeRozan have accounted for 46 per cent of the teams field goal attempts through 11 games, shooting a combined 39 per cent from the floor. The Raptors have reached 100 points in four of their last five games, averaging 102.4 points, after failing to hit the century mark in each of the six games to open the season, scoring 92.3. Toronto is 2-2 when scoring 100 or more this season and was 16-16 a year ago. Amir Johnson is one block away from reaching 500 for his career. Johnson has blocked 342 shots in 310 games as a Raptor and currently ranks seventh on the teams all-time blocks list. What to Watch For Control the pace With an average age just under 24-years-old, the 76ers are tied with Cleveland for the youngest team in the NBA. Theyre young, theyre quick and they look to run wherever possible. "They have some guys that get out in transition," Casey said of the hosting 76ers, who play at the fastest pace in the league. "Weve got to get back, build a wall, ready to play quick one-one-one defence and then when the shot goes up, weve got to make sure we find a body." Conversely, Toronto is last in the league in pace and although the Raptors coach has indicated hed like to get out in transition, hes also not planning on forcing the issue. "I dont know if we have natural runners," Casey said. "A lot of people get caught up in pace of play [but] I dont. I think you have to play the pace of play thats comfortable according to your talents." Pressure the young Sixers "The number one thing, the way they beat Miami, the way they beat Houston, the way they beat Chicago is hard play," Casey said of the 76ers. "Weve got to match that intensity at their place." The 76ers have snuck up on a few of the leagues elite teams with their hard play but more recently, their youth and inexperience has stood out. Philadelphia is committing an average of 17.3 turnovers per game, sixth most in the league, including 4.4 in the fourth quarter. Toronto has outscored its opponent in the fourth quarter in each of its last four games. Bench production Can either teams second unit step up and take pressure off the starters? Both teams rank in the bottom four in bench scoring, the Sixers reserves averaging 24.3 points per game (27th) and Torontos subs scoring 23.9 (29th). Who to Watch For Kyle Lowry The Raptors point guard has done a better job as the teams floor general, totalling 24 assists and only three turnovers over the last three games. However, he continues to struggle with his jump shot. Lowry is just 6-for-26 from the field in his last two contests, including 1-for-14 from three-point range. Lowry, a Philadelphia native, will look to get back on track against the team he grew up watching. "It never gets old," Lowry said ahead of his return to Philadelphia. "It never gets old because its home." The 27-year-old is averaging 13.8 points and 5.8 assists in five career games in his hometown. Evan Turner The fourth-year forward is one of the young 76ers players who has stood out early in the season, taking advantage of the added playing time hes been given. Turner is scoring a career-best 22.0 points per game on 47 per cent shooting, also averaging 6.3 rebounds and 3.6 assists. Historically, Turner has struggled against Toronto, averaging only 8.2 points on 35 per cent shooting in 11 career meetings with the Raptors. Injury Report 76ers rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams has missed the last four games with a bruised left foot but participated in shootaround Wednesday morning and hopes to play against Toronto. Raptors forward Quincy Acy is questionable after spraining his right ankle early in Sundays game against Portland. Casey Short Jersey . - The Florida Panthers are getting some Army training to finish off their preparations for the season. Lynn Williams Jersey . -- Jane Kish stopped all 25 shots she faced as the Weyburn Gold Wings blanked the Sudbury Lady Wolves 3-0 on Friday to advance to the gold-medal game at the Esso Cup. http://www.socceruswntshop.com/crystal-dunn-usa-jersey/. - Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II says the NFL has told the team it will not be docked a pick in this years draft for coach Mike Tomlins foray onto the field against Baltimore last November. Lindsey Horan Jersey .com) - Its fair to call Mike McCarthy one of the best coaches in the NFL but its also more than objective to point out that the veteran mentor bookended the Green Bay Packers season with two, truly awful game plans in Seattle. Mallory Pugh Jersey . They have homered once every 27.3 at bats, which just happens to be the third best mark in the American League, albeit just 10 games into the season.Our Sky Sports Fantasy Football scout looks at four Premier League goalkeepers worth considering for your team. Our Sky Sports Fantasy Football scout looks at four Premier League goalkeepers worth considering for your team.Arsenals Petr Cech (£7.5m) was last seasons top scoring stopper with 148 points but is rated among the most expensive this season. Machester Uniteds David de Gea is top priced at £8m, but last season also showed us that there is value to be found between the sticks, with Watfords Heurelho Gomes (£6.1m) the second-highest scorer with 134 points thanks to 11 clean sheets and a league high of 122 saves. Sky Sports Fantasy Football Not got a team yet? Pick your XI, create a league and let the mind games begin! Heres a look at four stoppers capable of repeating the Brazilians valuation-defying heroics…Fraser Forster - £6.8m Fraser Forster kept six successive clean sheets after returning from injury Just six Premier League goalkeepers conceded less than a goal-per-game last season: Cech, Kasper Schmeichel, De Gea, Hugo Lloris, Sergio Romero (who only played four times) and Southamptons Forster. The commanding 28-year-old recorded a modest 60 points after missing half of the season due to a knee injury, but if you double his stats from the 18 starts managed then he would have actually been the fourth highest scorer in the league, beating Lloris tally of 113.Hitting the prime of his career and with a full pre-season under his belt, Forster should be expected to do even better next season in front of a settled defence of Ryan Bertrand, Virgil van Dijk and two Euro 2016 winners in Jose Fonte and Cedric Soares.Jack Butland (£6.4m) Jack Butland was stretchered off in Englands friendly against Germany Butland was last seasons emerging young goalkeeper, stepping up to produce the third most saves and keeping 10 clean sheets for Stoke. That saw him rack up 106 points, just 16 less than De Gea, meeaning at £1.dddddddddddd6m cheaper than the Spaniard, hes still good value for money.The 23-year-old will be desperate to bounce back from the disappointment of missing the Euros, with Joe Harts No 1 spot looking more vulnerable than ever following a disappointing showing in France.Jordan Pickford (£4.8m) Jordan Pickford has committed his future to Sunderland Finding a young star, ready to step up is one of the great intrigues of management and the rewards are just as great for Sky Sports Fantasy Football bosses, but who can follow in Butlands footsteps? Sunderland fans will be hoping that Pickford will one day be challenging for the England No 1 spot, but for now his sights are set on Victor Mannone.The 22-year-olds stats from last season are impressive to say the least, keeping 13 clean sheets from 24 appearances while on loan at Preston. To put that into perspective, he boasted a clean sheet percentage of 54.2%, the highest of any goalkeeper to have played 10 times or more in Englands top-four tiers, despite playing for a mid-table club.Loris Karius (£6.6m) Loris Karius was handed the No 1 shirt at Anfield Karius chances of being Liverpools first-choice goalkeeper were hardly played down when he was handed the No 1 shirt upon his arrival. Jurgen Klopp will be more than aware that conceding 50 goals last season undermined his sides ambitions and Simon Mignolet (£6.9m) will be feeling the pressure more than ever.His rival, in contrast, enjoyed a campaign of over-achievement at Mainz, with only three other teams conceding less goals as they secured a sixth-place Bundesliga finish. At 23-years-old, it looks a matter of time before he is afforded the status to suit his shirt number. Sky Sports Fantasy Football Which goalkeeper makes your XI? Create a league and let the mind games begin! Also See: Pick your team now Fantasy wonderkids ' ' '

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