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- Raptors-Magic Preview (The Associated Press) October 31, 2014Although they struggled with their shooting, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry found other ways to contribute in the Toronto Raptors' season-opening win. Now the talented guards have an opportunity to find their touch against the lowly Orlando Magic. As DeRozan and Lowry look to continue the success they had in last season's series, the Magic hope to avoid their first 0-3 start in nine years and snap a seven-game losing streak to the visiting Raptors on Saturday night. The starting backcourt played a key role last season when the Raptors won a franchise-record 48 games and their first Atlantic Division title in seven years, but they got off to a rough start offensively in Wednesday's 109-102 home win over Atlanta.
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist got so excited about dunking that he threw his mouthpiece at a referee (Video) (Ball Don't Lie) October 30, 2014It's the question on absolutely every sports fan's mind this morning: How amped up was Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to kick off the 2014-15 NBA season against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night? Would you believe, "Throw down a dunk, rip your mouthpiece out to roar with excitement, and whip said mouthpiece at a bystanding referee" amped? You wouldn't? Seriously? I mean, it's pretty believable. It's not like I said, "He ripped off his skin mask and incinerated John Henson with his fire breath." And besides, I thought we'd built up a certain level of trust over the years. This is ... kind of hurtful, actually. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] Anyway, here: The replays of MKG's second-quarter runout dunk kind of cut off the grand aftermath a bit, but luckily the fine folks at SB Nation captured it in all its gobby glory: Only two nights into the season and we've already got a slow-motion GIF of an official reacting in disgust to a mouthpiece hitting him in the run of play. So glad to have you back, NBA season. Kidd-Gilchrist isn't the first NBA player to hit a referee with a mouthpiece. Toronto Raptors forward Amir Johnson earned a one-game suspension for doing so back in December 2012, but his protective projectile was flung in frustration rather than celebration; hitting the zebra there seemed more intentional than incidental. Udonis Haslem didn't hit Joey Crawford with his mouthpiece, but merely throwing it "in the direction of" the famously cantankerous ref was enough to earn the Miami Heat big man an ejection and suspension during the 2006 playoffs . Other players whose mouthpieces landed in the stands rather than in the ref's hip pocket have received fines for their heaves in the past because, as it turns out, the league office doesn't much like the idea of the ticket-buying public getting splattered with players' saliva after a disagreement over a foul call. We suspect MKG won't see any such discipline, though; he was just havin' a little fun, is all. While the Hornets were still trailing in the second quarter of the grand re-opening at the Hive after a rough start that had some boos cascading down from the rafters at Time Warner Cable Arena , Kidd-Gilchrist did have plenty to be excited about on Wednesday. The early returns on his reworked shooting stroke looked promising, as the former Kentucky standout paired his customarily stout perimeter defense with 17 points on 6 for 8 shooting, eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks in the Hornets' 108-106 overtime win over the visiting Bucks. The No. 2 pick in the 2012 draft provided the first inklings of proof that all his hard work with shooting coach Mark Price has finally paid off, and point guard Kemba Walker provided the late-game heroics , completing a 24-point comeback that ranks as the largest in Charlotte's NBA history and sending Buzz City home happy after an emotionally charged season opener. “We were all too amped up,” veteran reserve point guard Jannero Pargo told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer after the game. See? Told you so. - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
- Dose: Chris Bosh Explodes (Rotoworld) October 30, 2014After a slow Tuesday, Big Wednesday was more like it for fantasy owners wanting to test out the goods. Bruski has the rundown.
- DeRozan scores 15 points, Raptors heat Hawks (The Associated Press) October 30, 2014DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry both struggled with their shooting, but it didn't matter. Toronto's two top stars found other ways to contribute, and the rest of the roster added plenty of punch in the Raptors' season-opening victory. DeRozan had 15 points and set career-highs with 11 rebounds and six steals, Lowry added 11 points and 10 assists, and the Raptors opened their defense of the Atlantic Division title with a 109-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night. Amir Johnson had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Jonas Valanciunas scored 17 points, and Terrence Ross had 13 for the Raptors, who were an NBA-best 7-1 in the preseason.
- All of the Portland Trail Blazers got brand new motivational hammers to start the season (Photo) (Ball Don't Lie) October 29, 2014Welcome to the 2014-15 NBA season, Portland Trail Blazers. Please report to your lockers, inspect your uniforms to ensure that your last name is spelled properly, and pick up your complimentary personalized big ol' hammer. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Basketball: Sign up and join a league today! ] Each Blazers player was given one of these today from the organization. pic.twitter.com/e1kTQppNwY — Erik Gundersen (@blazerbanter) October 28, 2014 Now, I know what you're thinking, and the answer is no. The NBA didn't decide to implement Marcin Gortat's idea of allowing fighting during games and go one step further by encouraging players to have weapons at the ready should the beef get to sizzling. (I know what else you're thinking, and yes, I too immediately thought that Robin Lopez probably named his hammer Mjolnir .) These are merely inspirational hammers, hammers of metaphor and imagery, intended to remind the members of this year's Blazers squad — facing the difficult task of building upon last season's surprising 54-28 record and second-round playoff appearance — of the importance of giving it their all each and every night. From Erik Gundersen of The Columbian : According to Wesley Matthews, who was so kind as to let us take a picture, the hammers are a reminder to “keep grinding, stay on our worst behavior.” Some players had theirs out while some still had them in their box. [...] To recap, the hammer for each player is just a physical manifestation of the “COMPETE” mantra the Blazers have on their gear, all over their locker room and practice facility. This sort of "physical manifestation" has been a go-to move for some coaches in years past. Recall, if you will, Dwane Casey having a 1,300-pound boulder plunked inside his office after taking over the Toronto Raptors, which put to shame the 200-pound hunk of granite that Jon Gruden showcased inside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' locker room during their 2002-03 Super Bowl run. I prefer the Blazers' token talismans, though. Easier to move, and plus, you can use them for repairs around the house. All these rocks and hammers, of course, circle back to the same point of inspiration — the following famous quote by Danish-American social reformer and activist Jacob Riis: "When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before." Riis' quote became a mantra for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, and was later deployed by former Spurs assistant Mike Brown during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers, and by Lawrence Frank during his stint with the Detroit Pistons, and by a slew of other coaches all over the place. (It's a copycat league, after all.) The co-opting makes sense — it's smart to emphasize hard work, perseverance and focus on process rather than immediate results, after all — but it's especially nice to be able to connect yourself to five-time NBA champion Popovich, who loves the quote so much that he used it as the name of his wine . Keep your eyes and palates peeled for Pop dropping that new Jacob Riisling in the summer of 2015. Amar'e Stoudemire, for one, can't wait . Whether Terry Stotts experiences more success in Portland with his hammering than Brown did in L.A. or Frank did in Detroit remains to be seen, but if nothing else, the Spurs' ring night ceremony offered a pretty stellar and shiny reminder of what can happen if you just keep swingin' 'em: The pounding the rock detail on the Spurs' title rings is excellent. pic.twitter.com/zJ5jFQFsDl — Andrew A. McNeill (@drew_48moh) October 29, 2014 I mean, personalized tools are one thing, but there's a hell of a motivator. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow BDL's Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.
- Raptors-Magic Preview October 31, 2014Although they struggled with their shooting, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry found other ways to contribute in the Toronto Raptors' season-opening win. Now the talented guards have an opportunity to find their touch against the lowly Orlando Magic. As DeRozan and Lowry look to continue the success they had in last season's series, the Magic hope to avoid their first 0-3 start in nine years and snap a seven-game losing streak to the visiting Raptors on Saturday night. The starting backcourt played a key role last season when the Raptors won a franchise-record 48 games and their first Atlantic Division title in seven years, but they got off to a rough start offensively in Wednesday's 109-102 home win over Atlanta. DeRozan made 4 of 16 from the field for 15 points and had a team-worst five turnovers for Toronto (1-0). However, the sixth-year pro also posted a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with six steals. Lowry scored 11 on 3-of-11 shooting, though he added 10 assists, s...
- Raptors claw past the Atlanta Hawks in season opener; 109-102 October 30, 2014After a confidence & team building 2013-14 season, featuring a tough First Round, Game 7, playoff exit at the hands of their Atlantic Division rival, Brooklyn Nets, the Toronto Raptors were eager to get back on the court to tip off of the regular season. The Air Canada Centre crowd inside and outside, in Maple Leaf Square aka ‘Jurassic Park’, was electric and ready to show that ‘We The North’ continues to stand strong! First on the schedule for Toronto, were the visiting Atlanta Hawks. Atlanta is happy to have the services of power forward, Al Horford, back in their employ. Horford tore a pectoral muscle in December 2013 and missed the rest of the 2013-14 season. The Hawks were the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference last season, earning them a playoff berth, and they are eager to start building on that to start the campaign. The game was tightly contested early on, with the Raptors holding a slim 24-22 lead after the first quarter. After half time the Raptors were leading 6...
- DeRozan scores 15 points, Raptors heat Hawks October 30, 2014TORONTO (AP) DeMar DeRozan had 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, Kyle Lowry added 11 points and 10 assists, and the Toronto Raptors opened their defense of the Atlantic Division title with an 109-102 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. Amir Johnson had 16 points and 10 rebounds, Jonas Valanciunas scored 17 points, and Terrence Ross had 13 for the Raptors, who were an NBA-best 7-1 in the preseason. Kyle Korver, Jeff Teague and Mike Scott each scored 20 points for the Hawks, and Paul Millsap had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Atlanta's Al Horford, limited to 29 games last season by a torn right pectoral muscle, had 12 points and 13 rebounds. Horford connected on six of his 15 attempts, and his baseline jumper at 10:06 of the fourth was the 2,500th field goal of his career. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Scott and DeMarre Carroll capped a 10-1 run to bring Atlanta within eight, 102-94, with 2:30 left in the fourth, and another 3 by Scott at 1:26 made it 103-99. Lowry made ...
- Since 95 Toronto Raptors ‘Heritage’ Tee October 29, 2014How time flies when you’re having dinosaur sized fun. This season marks the 20th season of the Toronto Raptors being in the NBA and folks over at Since 95 created this tee saluting the best team the Raps ever had — up to this point. Cop one of these tees over at since95.com and you’ll automatically feel a little better about that Game 7. You know which one I’m talking about. The post Since 95 Toronto Raptors ‘Heritage’ Tee appeared first on Hooped Up.
- Toronto Raptors Season Preview Party Makes A Big Impression October 28, 2014The Toronto Raptors were pulling out all the stops again this year to get their Season Seat Holders revved up at the Season Preview Party and they left a big impression. Raptors Superfan and Toronto Path host of MoVernie On The Move, Vernon Chang was there soaking it all in. He watched as the Fan 590’s Tim and Sid, Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, The Raptor and the players participated to ensure everyone had a good time.
- Raptors Edge Knicks October 25, 2014DeMar DeRozan scored 15 points and the Toronto Raptors beat Knicks, 83-80, in Montreal in the final preseason game for both teams.
- Back at the Garden, a Different Knicks Team Is in Search of Chemistry October 14, 2014The Knicks lost an exhibition game to the Raptors, but Coach Derek Fisher said wins and losses were not the focus of the preseason.
- Lowry Will Be Back With the Raptors July 3, 2014Point guard Kyle Lowry will re-sign with the Toronto Raptors, his agent confirmed.
- Nets Move On With a Swat at the Buzzer May 5, 2014Bounced from the first round a year ago, the Nets earned a measure of redemption as Joe Johnson scored 26 points and Paul Pierce blocked Toronto’s final shot.
- Nets’ Fate May Rest With Backcourt May 4, 2014Game 7 of the Nets-Raptors series could be decided on how well each backcourt plays and how much life is left in the legs of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.