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NEW ORLEANS - Greivis Vasquez, now an integral member of the Raptors second unit, has
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NEW ORLEANS - Greivis Vasquez, now an integral member of the Raptors second unit, has celebrated wins over each of his three former teams in the last two weeks but Wednesdays victory over the Pelicans brought an even wider smile to the jovial point guards face. Cheap Ray Lewis Jersey . He played a big part in Fridays upset win over Memphis - the team that drafted him - a week after defeating the Kings, the team that traded him Toronto. However, this one meant a little more, though it took him a couple minutes to admit it. "I just want to win," Vasquez said, initially downplaying his return to New Orleans after the Raptors overcame an abysmal start to knock off the undermanned Pelicans 107-100. Sandwiched between his brief time in Memphis and Sacramento, Vasquez spent two seasons playing for the New Orleans franchise, formally known as the Hornets. There he enjoyed his best moments, individually, of his career. "This is a very special place for me because they gave me the key, they labelled me a starting point guard, they gave me a chance to showcase my game," said Vasquez, who finished second in most improved voting with the Hornets last season, averaging a career-highs in points (13.9) and assists (9.0) before he was traded to Sacramento this past summer. "I was really angry when they traded me," he admitted. "I know its part of the business so that makes it a little sour when you come back but you always want to beat your former team." With the game in the balance down the stretch, Vasquez looked and played like a scorned man. The Raptors backup point guard, like the rest of his new team, got off to an unexpectedly slow start against a Pelicans club missing its best player, all-star forward and Vasquezs former running mate Anthony Davis. When Vasquez entered the game late in the first quarter, Toronto was already down by seven. That deficit would balloon to 13 a few minutes later, as the Pelicans had their way with the shorthanded Raptors in the paint, getting what they want, when and however they wanted it. The Raptors spent most of the second half clawing back, unable to get over the final hurdle until Vasquez vaulted them over it. With two minutes remaining on the clock and the score knotted up at 94 - Toronto had led for a total of 51 seconds in the game at that point - the former Hornet put the Raptors on top with one of his patented floaters. After misfiring on a three from the corner - one he thought he had made - moments later, Vasquez followed his shot, grabbed the rebound - Torontos 22nd offensive board of the night, a season-best - and covered the lay-up, also getting fouled on the play. After completing the three-point sequence, the Raptors found themselves up by five in a game they badly needed, having dropped their last two. They would not relinquish that lead. "I was blessed enough to be out there at the end of the game," said Vasquez, who scored nine of his 14 points in the fourth quarter. "Ive been wishing I could get out there at the end of these games and (Coach) gave me an opportunity." "I had a rough first half and then the second half I was on a mission," he continued. "I like close games. Im not afraid. I will never be afraid. I am the type of player who would risk everything. Thats how I got the (starting job) here in New Orleans. They saw me playing in Memphis against San Antonio and OKC in my rookie year and they thought I was a starting guard." The Pelicans missed just three shots in the opening quarter, dropping 32 points on the winded Raptors - playing in the second game of a back-to-back, having lost Tuesday in Atlanta - without Davis, their leading scorer. Shooting over 75 per cent until the latter half of the second quarter, New Orleans torched the visitors on dribble drives in the paint. "I didnt recognize the team in the first quarter," Dwane Casey said. "I told them they were playing like they were in a rec league in the summer time (but) we picked it up." The game began to turn midway through that frame, as the Raptors closed the half on a 23-10 run, hitting nine of their final 10 shots. Despite shooting 36-per-cent in the second half, the Raptors clawed and scraped their way back into the game. DeMar DeRozan carried them offensively, scoring 16 of his game-high 31 points in the second half and the team out-rebounded New Orleans 31-18, including a 14-2 advantage on the offensive boards. Amir Johnson - playing on a sore ankle, again - grabbed eight of his nine rebounds in the second half, Tyler Hansbrough - starting in place of the injured Jonas Valanciunas - pulled down eight of his season-high 13. Simply put, they wanted it more. "This game was about mental toughness, physical toughness more so than skill," said Casey. "No matter who youre playing you have to bring that each and every night and I thought our guys did." Undermanned frontcourt The Raptors were without two of their top three bigs in Valanciunas, who missed his first game of the season with a lower back sprain and Patrick Patterson, still out with an elbow injury. Valanciunas sustained the injury turning to set a screen in the third quarter of Tuesdays loss to the Hawks and was unable to suit up in New Orleans. Although his back is still tight, the Raptors centre underwent treatment before the game and plans to do the same during Thursdays off day, hoping to return on Friday at home to the Thunder. De Colos quiet impact Without attempting a single shot in the first half, only taking one in the game, Nando De Colo helped ignite the Raptors and change the game with his energy, effort and decision making. Logging 14 minutes, the most hes played since he was acquired from San Antonio at the trade deadline, De Colo was credited with sparking his new teams second-quarter run that cut their deficit from 14 to one going into intermission. "Oh man, he was unbelievable," Kyle Lowry said of De Colo, who went scoreless but added two rebounds and three assists. "You cant forget a guy like that. Thats what I always say, were 15 strong. Nando hasnt played that much but tonight he really changed the game, just moving, speed, defence, just his overall effort and knowledge of the game." Nearing a milestone on the road With the victory, the Raptors picked up their 18th road win of the season, most since the 2001-02 campaign and are getting closer to the franchise record of 20 set the year prior. Toronto has seven road games to go and can finish at or above .500 away from home for the first time in team history if they can win at least three of them. Theyll face only one winning team on the road - the Heat - the rest of the way. Wednesdays visit to New Orleans also marked the Raptors final road game against Western Conference opponents, finishing the season 8-7 in those contests. Wholesale Ravens Jerseys . -- Each time the Utah Jazz threatened Memphis lead, the Grizzlies responded with defensive stops. Cheap Ravens Jerseys China . Two weeks after suffering a concussion, Foles will start in place of Michael Vick, who is out for the second time this season with a hamstring injury. http://www.cheapravensjerseyselite.com/?...ews-jersey . -- Jimmie Johnson has a sixth NASCAR championship in hand and two legends within reach.DENVER - Pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning off Kyle Farnsworth, and the Colorado Rockies, down by six runs early, rallied again to beat the New York Mets 11-10 in a wild affair on Saturday night. The Mets had weathered an eight-run fifth inning by Colorado, that included Nolan Arenados grand slam, and took a 10-9 lead on Juan Lagares RBI single in the ninth inning off LaTroy Hawkins (1-0). But Troy Tulowitzki, who recorded his 1,000th career hit earlier, singled off Farnsworth (0-2) to start the bottom of the ninth. He advanced to second on a deep flyout by Arenado, and Culberson followed with a drive that cleared the centre field wall. The crowd erupted as he rounded the bases. As he neared the plate, he tossed his helmet and jumped onto home plate as he was mobbed by his teammates. It was a sudden finish to a game in which the teams combined for 30 hits, including Arenados slam that extended his major league-best hitting streak to 23 games. Tulowitzki notched his 1,000th hit in the seventh when he singled up the middle off reliever Daisuke Matsuzaka. The ninth-year pro became the fifth Rockies player with 1,000 hits and the 78th active player to reach the milestone. He scored from third on Jordan Pachecos sacrifice fly to give Colorado a 9-8 lead, but the Mets tied it again in the eighth on Chris Youngs RBI single. Staked to an early 6-0 lead, Jenrry Mejia had blanked the Rockies through the first four innings and seemed headed toward the solid pitching outing New York needed. Instead, he became the third Mets starter in a row to fail to get out of the fifth after the rotation began the season with 26 straight starts of at least five innings. The turnaround was triggered by Ryan Wheelers first home rrun of the season leading off the fifth. Cheap Zach Sieler Jersey. The Rockies sent 11 men to the plate in the inning. In one stunning five-pitch stretch, Mejia gave up RBI singles to Charlie Blackmon, Drew Stubbs and Carlos Gonzalez as the Rockies tied it 4-4. Mejia then hit Tulowitzki in his upper left arm with a pitch to load the bases, and Arenado drove the next pitch into the left field bleachers for his second career slam and the first by a Rockies player this season. Arenado also tied Dante Bichette for the second longest hitting streak in Rockies history. Matsuzaka then relieved Mejia, who gave up eight runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings. The Mets, who built a 6-0 lead off Rockies starter Franklin Morales, fought back in the sixth to tie it at 8, getting a run-scoring double from Young and an RBI single from Curtis Granderson. Daniel Murphy got the Mets going with a one-out triple in the first and scored when David Wright followed with a double. Anthony Recker and Lucas Duda added RBI singles. New York added to its lead when Wright singled to start the third, stole second and took third on a groundout. He scored on Grandersons single, and Granderson came in on a double by Anthony Recker, who scored on third baseman Arenados throwing error. NOTES: Bichette had his 23-game hitting streak in 1995. ... RHP Chad Bettis was optioned to Triple A Colorado Springs, and the Rockies recalled catcher Michael McKenry. ... RHP Jhoulys Chacin, who began the season on the disabled list because of a right shoulder strain, is slated to make his season debut Sunday for the Rockies against Mets RHP Dillon Gee (2-1). ... Wright, who had three hits, has a career batting average of .391 at Coors Field, his highest at any ballpark. Cheap Diamondbacks Jerseys Cheap Braves Jerseys Cheap Orioles Jerseys Cheap Red Sox Jerseys Cheap Cubs Jerseys Cheap White Sox Jerseys Cheap Reds Jerseys Cheap Indians Jerseys Cheap Rockies Jerseys Cheap Tigers Jerseys Cheap Astros Jerseys Cheap Royals Jerseys Cheap Angels Jerseys Cheap Dodgers Jerseys Cheap Marlins Jerseys ' ' '
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