er previously eligible candidates made the final 25 for the
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TORONTO - Although no one cared to admit it, on either side, at the outset of the evening, Mondays divisional grudge match in Brooklyn meant more to the Raptors than the game that preceded it or the one to follow. Drew Kaser Jersey . The stakes were higher, the competition more fierce and the atmosphere was that of a playoff game - something the young, upstart Raptors have five weeks to better prepare themselves for or the result will be eerily similar. If they looked out of place in that environment, its probably because they were. Torontos starting five features a fifth-year star that has yet to make a playoff appearance. Theyre the only team currently in a playoff position that starts two sophomores and its been five years since either their point guard or power forward has experienced postseason basketball. Combined that lineup accounts for 24 games of postseason experience. Staring them down in the final minute of a one-possession, high stakes game was a Nets unit that has collectively participated in 268 playoff contests. Paul Pierce alone is responsible for 136 of them while Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko - both out with injuries - would have added another 176. The Nets took a five-point advantage into the fourth quarter and, for all their hardships this season, they had only lost one of 30 games in which they held the lead after 36 minutes. Thats the difference experience makes. The Raptors, despite a valiant effort, showed up to a knife fight armed with plastic forks. "This team here in Brooklyn is a championship-caliber team," Dwane Casey said following his teams 101-97 loss. "They know the plays to make to win games. Weve still got to learn that. Were on our way but we still have some learning to do." Although the Raptors remain the NBAs best fourth-quarter team, outscoring opponents by 158 points in the final frame this season, their late-game execution continues to be a work in progress. When ahead or behind by five points or less in the final three minutes, Toronto shoots 37 per cent, the ninth-lowest mark in the league. Theyre 15-18 in games that come down to that scenario. On Monday, Pierce hit what may have been the biggest shot of the night - a cold-blooded three to break a tie with just over a minute left and the shot clock ticking down - while the Raptors wilted in the moment. Down one, 30 seconds later, Toronto got the stop it needed, leading to a five-on-four break the other way. In the midst of a brilliant second half, Kyle Lowry found DeMar DeRozan in transition, believing he would continue to go hard to the bucket. Met by Pierce in the lane, DeRozan lateraled back to Lowry, who wasnt expecting the pass and turned down the shot. John Salmons, receiving the ball from Lowry, also hesitated on an open look from the elbow, which ultimately led to Terrence Ross fumbling the ball as he looked to salvage the broken play. It was a possession mired in indecision and it sealed Torontos fate. The Nets - 10-for-14 from three-point range after the first quarter - hit big shots and made winning plays. They looked like the desperate team, and rightfully so. Had they won, the Raptors would be sitting pretty in the Atlantic Division, five games up on Brooklyn with the season-series tiebreaker in hand. Instead, Brooklyn has pulled within three games of the division lead. "[The atmosphere] was definitely a notch higher because of what was at stake," DeRozan admitted after the game. "Theyre chasing us and were leading in the division. It was just a big game overall. Theyve been playing well, trying to make a playoff push and were trying to sustain our position so it definitely was a big game." While the loss stings, the Raptors are still in the drivers seat, controlling their own destiny with 20 games to go. "It was a disappointing loss in the fact that theyre a team thats battling us for the division," Casey said. "Theres still a lot of basketball left to play. Weve got to stay positive. Its not the end of the world. We werent going to go undefeated the rest of the way. We knew that." Should Toronto and Brooklyn share the same record atop the Atlantic when its all said and done, with the season series now even, the tiebreaker would go to the team with the most wins within the division. The Raptors are currently 8-3 with five games left to be played against Atlantic opponents while the Nets are 7-5 with four remaining. Each of those games could be crucial - including two meetings with New York in the final week of the season - for the Raptors who are hoping to win their second division title in franchise history. Sink or swim, that will be determined by what theyre able to take out of Mondays squandered opportunity. "Its a learning experience," DeRozan said. "It was a heck of a game that we can learn from and possibly could be a team we could see in the playoffs." Doug Flutie Jersey . Raymond, 31, started 15 regular-season games for the Stamps in 2013, racking up 51 tackles. He also returned two kickoffs for 79 yards including a 61-yarder. Philip Rivers Jersey . Louis Cardinals placed outfielder Allen Craig on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee contusion on Sunday. http://www.chargersauthenticshop.com/Cha...ft-Jersey/ . Detroits powerful offence made that unnecessary. Scherzer allowed two hits and struck out seven, and the Tigers backed their star right-hander with three early homers in an 8-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.Perennial All-Pro linebacker Derrick Brooks and wide receiver Marvin Harrison were among 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fames class of 2014 announced Wednesday night. Brooks and Harrison, along with tackle Walter Jones and coach Tony Dungy, were the first-year eligible candidates to make the cut from 126 to 25. Brooks won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay, while Harrison and Dungy were champions with Indianapolis. Other star players being considered for induction to the Canton, Ohio, shrine next August include placekicker Morten Andersen, running back Jerome Bettis, defensive end-linebacker Charles Haley, safety John Lynch and defensive end Michael Strahan. Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue also made the semifinals. The Hall of Fame election will be held Feb. 1, the night before the Super Bowl, in New York. Along with Harrison, who is third in career receptions with 1,102, Brooks, Dungy and Jones, two other previously eligible candidates made the final 25 for the modern era: coach Jimmy Johnson and guard Steve Wisniewski. Johnson wwon two Super Bowls leading the Dallas Cowboys. Kellen Winslow Jersey. The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced to 15 modern-era finalists. Those 15 will be joined by two recommended candidates from halls seniors committee: punter Ray Guy and defensive end Claude Humphrey. Although there is no set number of enshrinees for any Hall of Fame class, between four and seven new members are selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year. The semifinalists, in alphabetical order: Morten Andersen, PK Steve Atwater, S Jerome Bettis, RB Derrick Brooks, LB Tim Brown, WR-KR Don Coryell, Coach Roger Craig, RB, Terrell Davis, RB Edward DeBartolo Jr., Owner Tony Dungy, Coach Kevin Greene, LB-DE Charles Haley, DE-LB Marvin Harrison, WR Joe Jacoby, OT Jimmy Johnson, Coach Walter Jones, OT John Lynch, S Karl Mecklenburg, LB Andre Reed, WR Will Shields, G Michael Strahan, DE Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner Aeneas Williams, CB-S Steve Wisniewski, G George Young, Contributor Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Wholesale Discount Basketball Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys Authentic Cheap Baseball Jerseys Free Shipping Cheapest College Jerseys Sale Cheap Football Jerseys China Nike NFL Jerseys Canada Wholesale NHL Jerseys From China MLB Jerseys Outlet Canada Wholesale NBA Jerseys Canada Store Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Cheap Authentic Jerseys Canada ' ' '
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