#1 13 games, the Raptors rank 19th von lebaobei123 18.03.2019 01:40

TORONTO - Raptors forward Steve Novak doesnt exactly blend into the crowd these days. In support of prostate cancer and the Movember campaign, Novak has been wearing his contribution to the cause on his face. "Everyone who sees me, theyre not sure [whether] to take me seriously," Novak joked prior to Fridays win over Washington, his moustache 22-days-old. A few weeks into his eighth NBA season, Novak is still getting comfortable with a new team but his presence is hard to ignore, on the court and off of it. Acquired from the Knicks in the Andrea Bargnani trade this summer, Novak is one of the most dangerous offensive specialists in the game, something the Raptors are finding out more and more as the 30-year-old works his way back from a series of early-season injuries. Since the start of the 2011-12 campaign, Novak has hit 286 threes - 16th most in the NBA over that span - and his 44 per cent clip from long range is ranked fourth. After sitting out most of training camp nursing a sore thumb and missing six of the first nine games with a bad back, Novaks playing time has increased steadily in each of the last four contests. So too has his impact. Without even touching the ball, the mere presence of Novak on the floor changes the complexion of Torontos offence. Uncharacteristically, the veteran sharpshooter has knocked down just four of his 17 three-point attempts but his true impact - playing 34 minutes in the last two games, both wins - cannot be measured using a box score. "He creates instant spacing," Dwane Casey said on Thursday. "He really made a big impact, opened up the floor," the Raptors coach continued. "Teams in the league respect his ability to shoot the ball. Whether he makes the shot or not he is a threat." As the Raptors offence continues to evolve, Novak will become more valuable to the teams second unit. In back-to-back victories this week, the Raptors have benefited from better spacing, improved ball movement and timely outside shooting. At least some of that is an indirect result of having Novak on the court, where he is a plus-19 - the third best plus/minus on the team - in 61 minutes. The Novak-Terrence Ross pairing has been especially intriguing with their ability to stretch the floor. The two have shared the court for 30 minutes over the last couple games and Ross, a beneficiary of the attention Novak receives, has thrived. The sophomore has averaged 14.0 points in those games, shooting 11-of-18 from the field including 4-of-8 from three-point range. Three-point shooting has long been an area of weakness for Toronto. Through 13 games, the Raptors rank 19th in the NBA shooting 34 per cent from long distance. They havent finished in the top half of the league in three-point percentage since the 2009-10 season, the last year Chris Bosh was in Toronto preoccupying opposing defences. "Hes one of the best three-point shooters in the league," Casey said of Novak. "Now that hes healthy we want to make sure we utilize that." Casey and the Raptors are still learning how to utilize Novak as a weapon off the bench, maximizing his strengths offensively while masking his defensive shortcomings. Novaks return to the lineup has forced Caseys hand defensively, where theyve had to be more creative. Although they used their zone defence sparingly Wednesday in Philadelphia, as the Raptors coach pointed out the following day, they leaned on it heavily with Novak on the floor Friday. It helped them regain the lead in the fourth quarter after being outscored by 17 in the third. "We have to do some special things for Steve and the whole league knows that," Casey admitted after the win over Washington. "We had to mix it up, our man [defence] wasnt working. We had to go to something else and it had to be our zone." The Raptors are prepared for opposing teams to go at Novak, looking to exploit the veteran one-on-one. "Teams look to attack him," Casey knows, "which sometimes we invite." For Novak, this is nothing new. Hes made a career out of it, or at least in spite of it. "I think that statistically Ive proven that Ive never been a liability [on defence]," said Novak. "If theres going to be a one-on-one defence contest Ill probably lose and Ill be the first to admit that but as long as I have my teammates out there I know Ill be fine." For his career, Novak has a defensive rating (an estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions) of 110, inferior to the league average but not the worst mark on the team. DeMar DeRozan has a rating of 111 through four NBA seasons. "Honestly, defensively basketballs a team game," Novak emphasized. "I think the good teams know that when you get out of your offence and go individual and [start] going at guys it usually hurts them more than it helps them." "So to be honest I think its a good thing for us if they start picking who theyre going to throw the ball to and not running offence. I think it probably works to our advantage." Utilizing Novak to his fullest may take time to master. Its a give and take, as the Knicks learned during his mostly productive two-year tenure in New York. If hes deployed in situations that allow his unique and specific skill set to flourish he can become a lethal weapon off the Raptors bench. "Its my eighth year so I must be doing something right," he said with a smile. Wholesale College Basketball Jerseys . The 31-year-old Spain midfielder hasnt played since Madrid lost in the Copa del Rey final to Atletico Madrid in May due to back and foot injuries. NCAA Jerseys China . Its great to be back for another season in Banditland, and Im looking forward to another competitive season with my teammates, said Tavares. http://www.jerseyscheapncaa.com/. -- Chicago manager Darold Butler has a message for the Windy City. Cheap NCAA Football Jerseys . -- One shot came out of bottom of a cactus, the other from the base of a desert bush with rocks scattered around it. Cheap College Jerseys Free Shipping . The two-time Olympic halfpipe gold medallist informed ESPN on Monday he plans to compete in Apsen, Colo.WASHINGTON -- The Carolina Hurricanes and Washington Capitals compressed most of their excitement into a four-minute span. We score; you score. You score; we score. Sort of like one of those mini-games with the peewee players that are sometimes featured during intermission. Both coaches were aggravated, to say the least, but Carolinas Kirk Muller was in a better frame of mind about the whole thing because his team eventually won, taking a 4-3 victory in overtime Thursday night on Jeff Skinners third goal of the game. "Yeah, its not what coaches are wanting to see," Muller said with a chuckle. "Tonight it just looked like just whenever someone made a mistake, it was in our nets." With Washingtons Dmitry Orlov out of position, Skinner decided the game when he took a pass from Ryan Murphy to cap a 3-on-1 break at 1:20 of the extra period, giving the Hurricanes their second straight win after a five-game losing streak. The goal seemed far removed from the whirlwind stretch early in the second period, when five players scored goals and Alex Ovechkin missed a penalty shot -- all in 3 minutes, 45 seconds. It was a brand of dont-leave-your-seat hockey thats become all too familiar for the Capitals, who have a knack this season for letting up after scoring a goal. "I know its exciting for the fans," said Troy Brouwer, who scored for the Capitals during the goal cavalcade. "I know its a fun game to watch, but weve got to be able to calm it down. Whenever we score a goal -- we had a couple of big goals that put us ahead there -- weve got to be able to build off that and make sure that were not giving them opportunities right away. Its been a problem all year." Skinners second hat trick in less than a month gives him 19 goals for the season. Manny Malhotra also scored for the Hurricanes. With Cam Ward out with a lower body injury, Anton Khudobin made 38 saves in his first start since Oct. 13. Khudobin had been out with a lower body injury and was recalled Tuesday after a two-game conditioning assignment in the AHL. Ovechkin, skating on a new liine with Eric Fehr and Mikhail Grabovski, broke a four-game point-less streak with his NHL-leading 31st goal before missing his penalty shot.dddddddddddd. Brouwer and Steve Oleksy also scored for the Capitals, who have lost three straight and five of six. Philipp Grubauer, who has quickly emerged as the Capitals workhorse in goal ahead of Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth, started for the ninth time in 12 games and finished with 29 saves. Skinner scored the lone goal in the first period on a 5-on-3 -- it was more like 5-on-2 1/2 because Washingtons Nicklas Backstrom had a broken stick -- before Ovechkin opened the scoring in the second with a shot that was deflected by defenceman Ron Hainsey and fluttered past Khudobin. Then back and forth they went. Malhotra for the Hurricanes. Brouwer for the Capitals. Ovechkin was dragged down by newly minted U.S. Olympian Justin Faulk and given a penalty shot, but Khudobin poked the puck before the striker could make an attempt on net. Then Oleksy flung the puck toward the crease and watched it get deflected into the net for only his second goal of the season. Skinner got his second of the game when he put in a rebound to tie the score at 3. By then, Capitals coach Adam Oates was all but fed up. "Just mistakes. Mistakes. The guys that are on the ice are veteran guys," Oates said. "We talked about the things we talked about this morning, the icing. Stupid icings when we dont have to. We took a too many men penalty when we dont have to. You know, one of the goals -- (John) Erskine went in the zone and no one covered for him. Thats mistakes by veteran guys. They know better." Notes: Brooks Laich returned after missing 14 of 15 games with a groin injury. ... With F Riley Nash (lower body) out, the Hurricanes recalled F Brett Sutter from Charlotte of the AHL. ... Capitals D John Carlson was honoured during the first period with a video tribute for his selection to the U.S. Olympic team. Carlson is the first player in franchise history to represent the United States at the Winter Games. ' ' '

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