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who crossed for Nasri to net with
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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? Sven Andrighetto Jersey . -- Fresh off their surprising run in the playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers have signed head coach Terry Stotts to a multi-year contract extension. J.T. Compher Jersey .com) - Minnesota Vikings fans would surely concede Teddy Bridgewater is not Peyton Manning. http://www.hockeyavalancheteamshop.com/C...as-Jersey/. Orlando is to begin play in the MLS for the 2015 season. Kaka, who currently plays with AC Milan, is expected to be loaned out to his home club Sao Paulo for the upcoming season before joining Orlando for next season. Joe Sakic Jersey . A quick first step to get to the hoop for a layup. A rousing dunk on the break off a high outlet pass saved by teammate Ramon Sessions. Adam Foote Jersey .? It was his second straight start for the Jets; he suffered a 1-0 loss against Minnesota Monday. So this season Hutchinson has now won games in the ECHL, AHL and NHL. He was perfect three- for-three in the shootout to nail down the win.LONDON -- An exquisite equalizer from Yaya Toure sparked a second-half comeback by Manchester City in the League Cup final on Sunday, with a 3-1 victory over Sunderland giving Manuel Pellegrini his first trophy as manager. Returning to the stadium where Roberto Mancinis City career ended in an FA Cup final loss last May, further Wembley misery appeared to be beckoning when Fabio Borini put Premier League struggler Sunderland in front after 10 minutes. Instead, City, which has now scored 121 goals this season, remains on course for an improbable quadruple that would require all the resolve displayed in the second half to complete. After a flat first-half performance, the recovery began after Toure nonchalantly curled into the net from 30 yards (meters) in the 55th minute, with Samir Nasri volleying home Citys second inside two minutes. City fans were already celebrating just their third trophy in three years -- following a 35-year title drought -- when Jesus Navas completed a counterattack to add the third in the 90th minute. "To win the first trophy I think is important for us all ... because at an important club you must win trophies," said Pellegrini, the Chilean who spent a decade in charge of Spanish clubs without a winners medal. "In the second half we changed it and scored two beautiful goals and we had the patience to win." City is in the Premier League title hunt and has reached the FA Cup quarterfinals, but must overturn a 2-0 deficit against Barcelona to advance in the Champions League from the round-of-16 stage. "I hope it will bring confidence for us to win the other trophies," Nasri said. After more than $1.5 billion of Abu Dhabi investment in less than six years, City has now won each of the domestic trophies in three years, following the 2011 FA Cup and 2012 Premier League title produced by Mancini. But, in a showpiece game seen live in around 180 countries, City was unpicked after just 10 minutes by a team fighting relegation when slack defending allowed Sunderland to pounce. Fernandinho was dispossesssed next to the Sunderland penalty area, allowing Seb Larsson to launch a counterattack before passing to Adam Johnson on the right wing.dddddddddddd. Johnson then sent the ball high down the flank to Borini, who easily slipped beyond captain Vincent Kompany before scoring low past Costel Pantilimon. In response, there was little threat from a team which is six points off the top of the standings but with two games in hand. Sergio Aguero, back after five games out with a hamstring injury, launched himself down the right flank midway through the first half. But after crossing to Nasri, the France midfielders sight of goal was partially obscured by Lee Cattermole and it was a trouble-free save for Vito Mannone. Making amends for his earlier slackness, a well-timed tackle by Kompany cut out Borinis run on goal -- denying Sunderland a chance to double its lead before halftime. "Our first half, there was memories of Wigan," Nasri said, referring to last years FA Cup final loss. "We said that we need to stay calm, to remain focused and play our football." City did just that, and two exceptional moments swung the game in Citys favour. The curling shot from Toure looped over Mannone into the corner of the net, giving the defensive midfielder a 17th goal of the season. And before Sunderland could regroup there was an equally fine finish from Nasri. From Pantilimons quick goal kick, Aguero sent the ball to Aleksandar Kolarov, who crossed for Nasri to net with a first-time volley. "Theyve scored a great goal to get back into it, hes stuck it in the top corner from 30 yards out and then weve lost a bit of organization and its cost us a second goal," Sunderland captain John OShea said. There was no way back for Sunderland, and Fernandinho seized possession to allow City to mount a late surge forward that ended with Toure setting up Navas to beat Mannone with a close-range finish. "It wasnt to be," Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said. "But we tried ... and now we want to stay in the Premier League." NFL Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Discount Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Jerseys NFL China NFL Jerseys Wholesale ' ' '
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