#1 ler sent a pretty pass to Kane, who beat Lack on the von lebaobei123 28.03.2019 02:52

TORONTO - Over a dozen cameras and upwards of 30 reporters gathered in the hallway on the third floor of the Air Canada Centre, jockeying for position outside the Raptors practice facility Tuesday afternoon. No, they were not staking out a spot for the playoffs, now 11 days away. They were not there to take in the teams final scheduled regular season practice. They were not on hand to inquire about the injured Kyle Lowry or Amir Johnson, both of whom had returned to the court. The gravity of Jonas Valanciunas drunk driving charge and arrest had transcended basketball, it was bigger than sport. It was news, and rightfully so. The Raptors starting centre was arrested early Monday morning for impaired driving in Wasaga Beach - roughly two hours north of Toronto - where he spent Sunday evening visiting friends. Valanciunas did not speak to the media Tuesday, as he had not yet met with his legal representatives, but those that did - GM Masai Ujiri, coach Dwane Casey and a couple of his veteran teammates - said all the right things. Understanding the severity of the 21-year-olds poor judgment, the organization made their message clear. Without condoning his actions, they stood united in support of their youngest player. "Like I told him, Im upset with him and disappointed in him but hes mine," said Casey. "So we love him." "He made a mistake, like any other young man has probably done before. We all make mistakes and its what we do after it [that] is how were going to be judged." The news of his arrest was surprising to those within the organization. Coaches, teammates and even fans have come to know the wide-eyed sophomore for his sincere, albeit quirky personality. Mondays events seemed out of character, to say the least. "Hes a great person, great kid," said Ujiri, maintaining Valanciunas hasnt, to his knowledge had prior plights with excessive alcohol use or bad decision making. "Weve never had any issues here with him, thats the honest truth." Valanciunas met with Ujiri for an hour on Monday. The following morning he sat down with Tim Leiweke and Larry Tanenbaum before addressing his coaches and teammates ahead of practice. "He sat in my office there yesterday," said the Raptors GM. "He knew, face in his hands, that he was sorry about it." "Hes very apologetic," Lowry echoed. "I mean hes sick right now. Hes really hurt by it, hes really embarrassed by it [and] very disappointed in himself. I can tell you that for sure." Per NBA policy, no punishment - from the league or the team - can be handed down until the legal process plays out. Although the Raptors are unlikely to issue any supplementary discipline, the league will come down on Valanciunas with a suspension - of likely two games - when and if hes convicted or theres a plea of guilt. The ramifications for Valanciunas - the player - are modest. Hell continue to play. Any suspension he faces wont take into effect until the beginning of next season, at the earliest. He will not be required to attend his initial court date on Apr. 22, shortly after the Raptors begin their first-round playoff series. Hes been enjoying one of the best stretches of his career and theres no reason why that shouldnt continue, assuming he can stave off the legal distractions that are likely to ensure. For Valanciunas - the person - the consequences are intricate. He has some damage control, some image repair to do. Most importantly, he has some growing up to do. In the last year, his second in the NBA, weve watched Valanciunas blossom on the court, sometimes losing sight of the fact that he is also growing and learning as a young man. Valanciunas - less than a month away from his 22nd birthday - made a mistake, a stupid one. Thankfully no one was hurt as a result. Given what we know about the young seven-footer its not hard to believe that the apology he made to his team, to his coaches, to the organization and fans was a sincere one. Some athletes, upon putting themselves in a similar predicament, have apologized mostly for being caught, which doesnt seem to be the case for a remorseful Valanciunas. What many of those other athletes havent had is the support system the Raptors can offer their young centre. Both Casey and Ujiri have positioned themselves as mentors and father figures, not only for Valanciunas but for all their players, while the teams locker room is filled with positive influences who have already begun to steer the sophomore in the right direction. "Be smart," Casey told him. "We all have to be smart. All of us have to be smart in what we do, how we carry ourselves off the floor, where we are [and] who we hang out with." "I talked to him and I made him understand that the things he did were wrong," Lowry said. "He just has to suffer the consequences that come with that." "Its unfortunate that it happened to such a good kid in JV," the 28-year-old point guard continued, "but it happened. Hes 21, hes going to learn from it and Im sure hes never going to make that mistake again." Ultimately, thats the true test, as Casey wisely pointed out. How does he learn from Mondays incident? Will he grow as a result of it? He made a mistake. What does he do next? 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Ellis hit an RBI single in the ninth inning, Hanley Ramirez hit a tape-measure, three-run homer in the first against Cliff Lee and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 on Saturday night.VANCOUVER - Like just about everyone else in the building backup goaltender Eddie Lack was surprised when he suddenly was summoned off the bench against the Winnipeg Jets Sunday night. Lack replaced an injured Roberto Luongo late in the first period then watched defenceman Chris Tanev score the winning goal midway through the third as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Jets 2-1 in a tight NHL game. "I was a bit surprised for sure," said Lack, who stopped 15 shots to improve his record to 6-2-0. "I didnt hear anything before that he was hurt. "I just stuck my glove on and got out there." Luongo, one of the goalies being considered to represent Canada at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, suddenly left the ice with 3:30 remaining in the first period. Head coach John Tortorella said Luongo had a lower body injury and is day-to-day. The game was Vancouvers last before the Christmas break and the Canucks dont play again until Dec. 29 in Calgary. Luongo had his leg clipped early in the period by big Winnipeg defenceman Dustin Byfuglien. He also was knocked flat on the ice during a goal-mouth collision with the Jets Blake Wheeler. Tortorella said Luongo had spoken with trainer Mike Burnstein briefly a couple of shifts earlier but had no idea the veteran goaltender was in any trouble. "I didnt know," he said. "It surprised me." Tanev broke a 1-1 tie at 10:23 of final period when he took a pass in the high slot from Zack Kassian and ripped a shot past Winnipeg goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. It was Tanevs fourth goal of the season, leaving him tied among Canuck defenceman with Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison. "Im just trying to get pucks to the net," he said. "It seemed like the seas parted when I got it. It was awesome when I walked into it." Brad Richardson also scored for Vancouver with his first power play goal of the season. Tortorella said the Canucks need players like Tanev and Richardson to contribute as the season continues. "You cant depend on just a couple of guys," he said. "I dont think this team for the last little while has. "I think everybody has kind of chipped in." Evander Kane scored on the power play for Winnipeg. The Jets pushed Canucks at times but couldnt beat Lack. Winnipeg has lost five of its last seven games. "We had some opportunities to score but I thought we didnt push the pace that we needed to," said Kane. "t;Not having the success now, its very frustrating.ddddddddddddIts not something you want to be part of. Were going to have to figure out a way to change that and get out of that rut." The Canucks came into the game riding the emotion of a 3-2 shootout victory over the Blackhawks Friday night in Chicago. Lack was in goal for the game that saw Vancouver battle back from a 2-0 deficit. "Its fun when the team is winning," said the 25-year-old Swede, playing in his first season with the Canucks. "I feel like I have a great connection with the team. "I feel like they are there for me. It makes it easier." The win was even sweeter for Lack since his father, grandmother and girlfriend were among the sellout crowd of 18,910. Tortorella praised his teams effort, especially coming off a three-game road trip. "At the beginning of the third period it looked like we were ready to drop," said Tortorella. "I really respect the way they held on." Winnipeg coach Claude Noel said his team failed to take advantage of its chances. "I thought we carried a fair bit of the play, but theres a difference between carrying the play and finishing your plays," he said. "It isnt about scoring chances. "We just couldnt close out the game. That was the disappointing part." Richardson opened the scoring at 10:09 of the first period when he deflected a Hamhuis shot past Pavelec. The Jets tied the game at 9:38 of the second period. Wheeler sent a pretty pass to Kane, who beat Lack on the glove side. Jets rookie Mark Scheifele earned an assist for his eighth point (three goals, five assists) in the last five games. The goal came just a few minutes after Lack made a big stop off a point-blank shot from Byfuglien. Referee Ian Walsh left the game in the second period after a collision with Vancouvers Dale Weise. The game continued with Kyle Rehman acting as the lone referee. The Canucks improved their record to 22-11-6 for 50 points, leaving them tied with the San Jose Sharks for fifth-place in the Western Conference. The Jets are 11th in the West with a 16-17-5 record for 37 points. The Canucks have won nine of their last 11 games and collected points in 10 of those matches. CANUCK NOTES _ David Booths assist on Tanevs goal was his 100th career assist. ...Defenceman Kevin Bieksa played his 500th career game. ....Vancouvers Tom Sestito and Winnipegs Anthony Peluso engaged in a first-period fight. ' ' '

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