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the league-best
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INDIANAPOLIS - It was just before 2pm local time when the Raptors landed on game-day, five hours prior to tipoff and 38 hours after they were originally scheduled to touchdown in Indianapolis. Creatures of habit, the Raptors were expecting to fly out after their previous game - a hard-fought loss in Miami on Sunday - practice on Monday and shoot around ahead of an already daunting match-up with the league-best Pacers, a team they had defeated at home a week earlier. Instead, Mother Nature threw them a curveball and they had no choice but to adjust. A major snowstorm and frigid temperatures in Indianapolis resulted in the altered itinerary, a reasonable excuse for a team that has vowed to stop making excuses, and to their credit they refused to take the bait. "We can have all the excuses in the world, but in a game like this you have to man up and bring it," Dwane Casey said after his road-weary club dropped Tuesdays sluggish rematch with the Pacers 86-79 in snow-covered Indianapolis.  "Its a mans league. I expected us to have a little bit of a hangover with the bullcrap with the travel but I thought we put ourselves in a position to win. Now weve got to close the deal." Not one Raptor player would use the teams travel nightmare as justification for the loss; they would barely even acknowledge it in the visitors locker room post-game. It was the type of easy out they used to fall back on, almost routinely. This time they did what winning teams do. They owned it. "[We] had the opportunity, but didnt make shots," said Kyle Lowry, who had 16 points to go along with just two dimes, his lowest assist total since November 11th. "They beat us. We were a little bit off, schedule off, routine, but still had a chance to win, so cant really say it messed us up too much." The loss was just their fifth in 15 games since the trade, dropping a game below the .500 mark. "We came out a little sluggish, had a couple turnovers at the beginning, shots werent falling for us and we got out-rebounded," said Amir Johnson, coming off his worst outing of the season. "Theres your ball game." More often than not, the Raptors were a step slow against a team that prides itself on pounding opponents into submission, especially at home, where theyve suffered just one loss. Toronto was out of sync, looking nothing like the club that stunned the Pacers at the Air Canada Centre last week. The Raptors managed just 18 assists, failing to reach 20 dimes for only the fourth time in the last 15 games. They were out-rebounded by 17 and bested by 14 in the paint, 11 in second-chance points. True to character they nearly made something out of nothing, cutting their deficit - once as big as 17 - to six down the stretch before eventually succumbing to the home teams punishing brand of basketball. "Guys were just a little bit off from their rhythm," Lowry said. "Not making shots, just the timing of everything was just a little off tonight." DeMar DeRozan scored the teams final 17 of the third quarter and finished with 28 and Patrick Patterson - playing in place of Johnson - had 11 of his 20 points in the fourth.  Johnson was not himself, finishing scoreless on five attempts in just over 20 minutes of action. Battling a cold on top of the travel snafus, the Raptors forward struggled through fatigue, looking out of breath on a couple of occasions in the first half. With Patterson playing well, Casey opted to ride the hot hand and sit Johnson in the fourth. Jonas Valanciunas also had an off night, held to just four points in 32 minutes and outplayed by Pacers centre Roy Hibbert on both ends of the floor. The team checked in and out of its Miami hotel three times before eventually taking off for Indianapolis at 11:30am Tuesday morning. There, they spent less than an hour at the hotel before boarding three busses to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, skipping shoot around and putting a dent into most of their game-day routine. "Youve just got to get your body going," Johnson said before the game. "After sitting down for a couple of hours, youve got to [stay active]." "Adversity sometimes comes in different ways," Casey said. "Its a good character builder for us. You hate to be against the best team in the conference but it is what it is." Bob Netolicky Jersey .ca. Kerry, I hope you address Ron MacLeans comment during the second intermission of Game 4 in Montreal-Tampa series. Basically, he suggested that the NHL should not have used a referee from Quebec, following the Game 3 disputed non-goal, because the referee could be biased towards Montreal. T. J. McConnell Jersey . Like a magic trick, the puck popped out behind Stalock in the San Jose net. While Sharks coach Todd McLellan decried the legality of the tiebreaking goal, the Los Angeles Kings celebrated their latest, greatest escape yet. https://www.cheappacers.com/1043k-roy-hi...ers.html.Y. - The New York Rangers have reached a one-year contract extension with goalie Cam Talbot, keeping Henrik Lundqvists backup away from unrestricted free agency. Custom Indiana Pacers Jerseys . However, Jim Popp isnt sure how long hell be able to admire wide receiver Duron Carter. Indiana Pacers Pro Shop . PETERSBURG, Fla.Marit Bjoergen lived up to her billing as the hot favorite by winning the womens 15-kilometer skiathlon at Sochi on Saturday, giving the Norwegian cross-country skier her fourth career Olympic gold medal.  Bjoergen pulled away from Swedens Charlotte Kalla on the final straight to win in 38 minutes, 33.6 seconds and defend her title from the 2010 Vancouver Games. Kalla was 1.8 seconds back. Heidi Weng of Norway took bronze. Bjoergen was the most successful athlete of the Vancouver Games with three gold medals, a silver and a bronze and showed right away she has the ability to match that feat in Sochi. With a group of five skiers staying together until the last kilometer, Kalla tried to pull away in the final tough uphill section and decide the race before the final sprint. Only Bjoergen was able to match her pace going up the hill, and the Norwegian then went in front as they entered the stadium. Kalla had no answer for the strong finish by Bjoergen, who had time to turn her head and then raise her arm in celebration as she crossed the line. The skiathlon event starts with 7.5 kilometers of classical-style skiing before switching to freestyle, making it a tough test of the athhletes all-round abilities.dddddddddddd Kalla won the 10K freestyle event in Vancouver four years ago and showed she has vastly improved her classical style skiing since then. She has never finished on the podium in a skiathlon on the World Cup circuit and celebrated as if she had won on Saturday, raising her arms to celebrate as she crossed the line behind Bjoergen and then jumping up and down holding her skis in the air. She prevented a Norwegian sweep of the medals, with Therese Johaug finishing fourth. Aino-Kaisa Saarinen of Finland was fifth. Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland, a three-time overall World Cup winner who has been struggling with a foot injury, was with the leading group of seven skiers at the halfway mark but slipped and fell just as she was about to enter her station for the ski change and lost several seconds. She exited the ski change 7.4 seconds behind Kalla, and never came any closer during the freestyle. Entering the last lap, she was nearly 19 seconds behind and she finished sixth, 58.1 seconds back. The next womens event is the individual freestyle sprint on Tuesday, when Bjoergen is again among the favorites. The mens 30K skiathlon is Sunday. ' ' '
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