s next possession, with the home team still t

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  • CLEVELAND - With just over a minute remaining in a three-point contest, Kyrie Irving, Clevelands lethal late-game weapon, barrelled into the lane as Kyle Lowry stood in his way, positioned above the restricted area. Mired in an offensive slump, Lowry - the NBAs leader in taking charges this season - did what he has learned to do best, standing his ground and drawing a crucial offensive foul on the Cavaliers all-star point guard. Fast forward 30 seconds to the Cavs next possession, with the home team still trailing by three, Spencer Hawes - one of the leagues best passing big men - threw an interception, intended for Tyler Zeller and picked off by DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors two best players, their two leading scorers, made the two most important plays of Tuesdays 99-93 win over Cleveland. That much is not unusual. Of note though is both of those plays came on the defensive end. "Those defensive plays are deflation plays for the opposition," said Lowry, who struggled with his shot, hitting just three of 15 attempts from the field and misfiring on all nine of his jumpers from three-point range. "Its definitely fun to step up for the team in those situations." Lowry didnt think twice when faced with a split-second decision, one hes made time and time again in high-pressure situations during his breakout campaign. "Those are winning plays," he said, asked about the art of drawing a charge, crediting the tutelage of former teammate Shane Battier, whom he called "one of the best charge takers" in the league. DeRozans steal was just as vital, if not more so, to the teams sixth win in the last seven games and second over Cleveland in a span of five days. "He was like a free safety out there," Lowry said, shortly before DeRozan - in conversation with the media - made yet another reference to Seahawks cornerback and fellow Compton-native Richard Sherman. "I kind of anticipated it, I read the play a little bit," said DeRozan, who also made his share of big offensive plays, scoring 16 of his game-high 33 points in the fourth quarter, adding six assists without turning the ball over. "They ran it earlier in the game. I knew they were going to look for it and I just went for it." Toronto, and DeRozan in particular, has come up short when faced with one final possession, one final shot in the past. Both guards heeded their coachs direction this time around. It didnt come down to a last-second heave. The Raptors won with timely defence. After enjoying a much-improved first quarter following a series of slow starts, the Raptors struggled on both ends of the floor during the meat of the game. Nothing was falling for Lowry - a 39 per cent three-point shooter on the season - and the team was accumulating sloppy turnovers at an uncharacteristically alarming rate for the second straight contest. Almost foreshadowing the nights eventual result, Casey was asked how to prevent his team from allowing its offence to dictate defensive effort prior to the game. "I havent discovered it yet in my 30 years of coaching," he responded. "Its the same in college, [in the] pros and its been that way for a long time. A lot of guys have to see the ball go through the basket to get themselves going on the other end, which you dont want, you preach against but I think its human nature." For at least one night, his team and his point guard bucked that trend. "That was one example of a guy not letting his offence dictate his defence," Casey said of Lowry, who also added nine assists, made all seven of his free-throw attempts and could have drawn a couple more charges if not for a pair of close calls that didnt go his way. "Thats how you have to play," Lowry added. "Youre not going to have great games all the time. Youre not going to shoot 10-for-12 every night or 20-for-30. Youre always going to have some sort of off game but you cant let that stop you from helping your team win a game." Terrence Ross bailed him out offensively, scoring what DeRozan called a "quiet 19 points", knocking down five of his eight shots from long distance. With the win, the Raptors climb seven games above the .500 mark for the first time in six years. It ensures theyll have a winning record for a third consecutive month, accomplishing that feat for the first time since 2007. Alex Colome Jersey . "Youre next." Hardly. Iguodala tormented his former team with a game better than any he ever played in eight seasons with the 76ers. Robinson Cano Jersey . -- Max Domi scored twice and set up two more as the London Knights toppled the visiting Kingston Frontenacs 6-4 on Sunday in Ontario Hockey League action. http://www.marinersrookiestore.com/Mari ... ds-Jersey/. MacArthur scored two goals, and the Senators outlasted Detroit in a testy third period to beat the Red Wings 4-2 on Saturday night. Ben Gamel Jersey . Nwaneri, who was born in Dallas and attended Naaman Forest High School in nearby Garland, Texas, tweeted, "Its official! Im coming home, Im coming home. Ichiro Suzuki Jersey . The defeat leaves the 41-year-old Nestor to concentrate on the mixed-doubles event after winning 12 straight matches and winning Australian titles in Brisbane and Sydney with two different partners. "This was a little bit of a let down, but all credit to them," said Nestor.OSTRAVA, Czech Republic -- Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek won the doubles for the defending champion Czech Republic to take a 2-1 lead over the Netherlands in the Davis Cup first round on Saturday. The Czechs defeated Robin Haase and Jean-Julien Rojer 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4) in almost four hours on an indoor hard court at CEZ Arena to improve to a 15-1 record in the cup doubles. The Dutch were trailing 2-0 in the fourth set before coming back and saving three break points at 5-5 after Haase double-faulted twice but the home pair converted their second match point in the tiebreaker with Haase sending a volley too long. "It was the toughest game we have played," Berdych said. "It was extremely hard for us. They were excellent." It was the first defeat in the cup doubles for Haase and Rojer following four victories. "We had our chances but our opponents were unbelievable," Stepanek said "We had to fight till the end." The Czechs, seeking their third straight Davis Cup title, are one win away from the quarterfinals while the Dutch must win both reverse singles on Sunday to reach the quarters for the first time sincee 2005.dddddddddddd On Sunday, Berdych plays Haase then Stepanek faces Igor Sijsling. The winner of the best-of-five series will face either Canada or Japan in April. Berdych and Stepanek saved five set points in the 10th game of the opening set before they broke Haase, and Stepanek served the set out. The Dutch pair wasted 10 break opportunities in the set. In the second set, Stepanek failed to hold his serve in the fourth game and Berdych double-faulted to do likewise, allowing the Dutch to race to a commanding 5-1 lead. Haase hit an ace on the first set point. Berdych was broken again in the seventh game of the third set when his forehand volley hit the net but the Dutch let the Czechs come back after wasting three set points and Haase failed to serve the set out in the 10th game. The Dutch still forced a tiebreaker after saving three set points. Haase became furious when the Czechs jumped to 4-1 for no clear reason, hitting the net three times with his racket before the Czechs prevailed 7-2 with Berdychs backhand volley winner. Berdych had to be treated for a back problem when trailing 5-4 in the third set but said it was not serious. 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