ORLANDO - Its been a rewarding season for Kyle Lowry, the Raptors most important player, but its also been a long one. The eighth-year point guard played in his 500th career game on Sunday, a 98-93 win over the Orlando Magic. Does he feel like hes played in that many games? "No," he said initially, before reconsidering. "I mean, this season, yeah." "This is a game I love to play," the 28-year-old continued. "Ive probably played 500 more in street ball games growing up. So this is a great accomplishment for me to say Ive made it that far." After missing 14 games last year, his first in Toronto, Lowry is the Raptors only starter to suit up in every game this season. Hes 10th in the NBA in minutes played and is fighting through a number of ailments, but with fewer than 10 contests remaining before he makes his first playoff appearance in five years, Lowrys still the engine that drives his team. Despite taking a 19-point lead into third quarter - their largest halftime advantage of the season - the Raptors began to come apart in the second half. The Magic, down by as many as 21 points, hit 22 of their final 33 shots and tied the game early in the fourth. With his team up by two, Lowry misfired on a long three-point shot, absorbing a fair amount of contact on the play, immediately turning to give official Eli Roe the trademark Lowry scowl. Scorned after the no-call, Lowry would get the ball back off of an Amir Johnson offensive rebound and drain the same shot he had just missed, shooting another look at Roe on the way down the court. Weve seen this before. Lowry was fired up. The Raptors point guard scored nine of his 16 points in the final quarter, holding off the Magic, who were coming hard. Dwane Casey continues to seek passable opportunities to manufacture rest for Lowry, but theyve proven few and far between. As he and DeMar DeRozan sat to end the third and begin the fourth, the lead dwindled down and in came Torontos star backcourt. Lowry logged 35 minutes while DeRozan - who scored 15 of his 28 points at the line - played 38. "Its tricky," Casey admitted. "Its tricky to make sure we cut their minutes and not give up leads. Its something we have to learn to do, but I thought the second unit did their job. They built a lead. Now its up to the starters coming back in. I wasnt going to play them a lot the second half, but they kept chipping away at it so I couldnt wholesale sub the second unit in." After a quiet first half, Lowry - to his own admission - began the second half lacking the "energy and effort" hes become synonymous with. The wear and tear of a long season has taken its toll and he, understandably, has to pick his spots, but there he was when his team needed him most. The Raptors needed this win with games against the Heat, Rockets and Pacers on deck. "Were happy about the win but we cannot be satisfied about the way we got it," Casey said. "“The hardest thing to do in this league is to play with a lead and thats something we have to learn to do." Big night for JV In a tough matchup against the Magics Nikola Vucevic, Jonas Valanciunas did not back down and more than held his own. The Raptors sophomore centre got off to a hot start, scoring 10 of his 20 points in the first quarter. "They are two good, young players that are coming up in this league," Casey said of Valanciunas and Vucevic, who led Orlando with 22 points and 10 rebounds. "So you will see them go at each other a lot in the future." Bench comes through in second quarter Without Patrick Patterson - who could return Monday in Miami, but missed his 13th straight with an elbow injury - the Raptors second unit has under-performed. Beginning the second quarter with an unconventional lineup that included Nando De Colo running the point and Landry Fields, who hasnt played much since a spot-start early in March, the reserves gave Toronto a lift that ballooned the lead going into intermission. "They really gave us a great boost," Lowry said of the bench. "They pretty much won the game in the second quarter." Vasquez gets stitched up After getting hit in the face early in the game, Greivis Vasquez required five stitches to close a gash below his left eye. He return late in the first half with a bandage covering the wound and finished the game with five points in 15 minutes of action. The stat Toronto matched a franchise record with its 20th road win of the season Friday, one shy of finishing the season above .500 away from home for the first time in team history. They have four road games to go, three against losing teams. The quote "I thought he did a heck of a job of initiating the offence, being in attack mode," said Casey on De Colo, who played the point for the first time as a Raptor in the second quarter. "We know he can pass the ball but what he did tonight was get to the rim. He grew on us as a coaching staff tonight... not that he wasnt there in the beginning." Andrus Peat Jersey
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. The match, billed as a "next-gen" encounter between two of the sports rising stars, lasted two and a half hours. The loss kept Raonic, from Thornhill, Ont., from reaching a third fourth-round spot in Melbourne over the past four years.There will be five Scholars strutting their stuff in Brazil this summer and we wish them all the best on the big stage. It has been a long, hard and emotional rollercoaster ride for all 11 of our Sky Academy Sports Scholars since they were selected for our Sky team after London 2012.With the British Paralympic athletics squad finalised on Tuesday, sprinter and long jumper Olivia Breen became the fifth Scholar to be selected for the Games.The five Scholars heading to Rio:SIOBHAN-MARIE OCONNOR (Swimming, 200IM - DOB 29/11/1995)Being part of Sky Academy has been brilliant for my training. Ive been able to do everything needed to improve and try to get to the top.Read more about Siobhan Siobhan Marie OConnor is drawing on the experience of London 2012 for Rio OLIVIA BREEN (Athletics, T38 100m, 200m & long jump - DOB 26/07/1996)Being a Scholar has given me the confidence and financial ability to make this dramatic move and I havent looked back since.Read more about Olivia Olivia Breen will line up in the 100m, long jump and 4x100m relay HOLLY BRADSHAW (Athletics, Pole Vault - DOB 02/11/1991)Sky have already given me some great opportunities and Im looking forward to more in the future.Read more about Holly Pole vaulter Holly Bradshaw will be competing at her second Olympics SAVANNAH MARSHALL (Boxing, Middleweight - DOB 19/05/1991)Johnny Nelson has helped me particularly on the physical side with my techniques, where Adam Smith has helped me mentally.Read more about Savannah Savannah Marshall is hoping to put a nightmare two years behind her in Rio MARK ENGLISH (Athletics, 800m, 4 x 400m relay - DOB 18/03/1993)Having a mentor has been immensely valuable.dddddddddddd The advice Darren Campbell has given me on injuries, training and racing has been golden.Read more about Mark Mark English has battled back to fitness after a thee-month lay-off For the five that have made Rio, there are six Scholars that did not and have to now work on goals beyond 2016. Head of Sky Academy Sports Scholarships Tony Lester insists not making the Games isnt a disgrace.Lester says: For some the joy is in making the cut, and getting onto the team. For the more seasoned its simple, a medal is the only measure of success.You can only imagine the self-imposed pressure that our young Sky Academy Sports Scholars have put upon themselves in their quest to become an Olympian.There really is no easy route to the Olympics; its a labour of love looking to fulfil that once in a lifetime sporting ambition. The journey is filled with bumps in the road, and having an off day, you do so at your peril. Tony Lester (left) with boxer Jack Bateson who wasnt selected for Rio To make an Olympics team, you without a doubt need to be talented. But equally, luck is a key player. Catching a cold, picking up an injury in the heat of competition is all the bad luck you dont need.Lets not forget that these athletes are people too, who have not only sacrificed everything, but given their all. The one thing that can be guaranteed is that they are doing their very best.We should try not to criticise. We should take a minute to think about the journey that sports person has been on to get to that point and try to walk a mile in their shoes.WHATS COMING UP FOR OUR SCHOLARSJuly 30: Lucy Garner, Ride LondonAugust 5-21: Rio OlympicsSeptember 7-18: Rio Paralympics Also See: About the Scholarship Meet the athletes Blogs Videos Galleries Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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