Sports Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas steps out and steps up in win over Pistons

16:37  11 october  2017
16:37  11 october  2017 Source:   thestar.com

Miles draws start in Raptors’ pre-season opener

  Miles draws start in Raptors’ pre-season opener Miles draws start in Raptors’ pre-season openerCoach Dwane Casey said he’ll mix and match as the pre-season rolls on, and used Miles in Sunday’s opener here just to get him some court time with the other starters and some game conditioning.

Dwane Casey has been effusive in his praise of Jonas Valanciunas since the day the Raptors began pre-season workouts, lauding the veteran centre for his court Talent that’s not lost on his teammates. “(He) went out there and played great defence, got a couple shots up ,” DeMar DeRozan said.

Trotz steps down as Capitals coach. Humboldt Broncos players reunite on their way to NHL Awards in Las Vegas. Jonas Valanciunas scored 25 points, and the Raptors rallied for a 108-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.


Dwane Casey has been effusive in his praise of Jonas Valanciunas since the day the Raptors began pre-season workouts, lauding the veteran centre for his court awareness, his dedication to improved footwork and a summer conditioning program that has the seven-foot Lithuanian in outstanding shape.

Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 11 rebvounds against Detroit, although he missed both his three-point attempts. © Rene Johnston Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 11 rebvounds against Detroit, although he missed both his three-point attempts.

Valanciunas has repaid his coach for the compliments with a handful of excellent outings, including an 18-point, 11-rebound gem in Toronto’s 116-94 over the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday at the Air Canada Centre.

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Jonas Valančiūnas (Lithuanian pronunciation: [ˈjoːnɐs vɐɫɐnʲˈtʃʲûːnɐs]; born 6 May 1992) is a Lithuanian professional basketball player for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was selected by the Raptors with the fifth overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft.

Jonas Valanciunas scored 25 points, and the Raptors rallied for a 108-98 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night. The Raptors are also hoping to win their regular-season finale at Miami and reach 60 victories.

Operating almost entirely as an active roller to the basket and mid-range shooter/facilitator rather than a stodgy post-up player, Valanciunas has found a niche in an ever-expanding Toronto offence.

“I think he’s doing a great job, this is the best I’ve seen Jonas play,” Casey said of the sixth-year centre. “Not only numbers but awareness, alertness, his ball-handling. He has done an excellent job of reading and that’s what we’re doing a little bit different — a lot of read and react, very few (play) calls — and he’s done an excellent job of adjusting and handling the basketball when he’s at the top.”

Valanciunas, who played 22 minutes and attempted a couple of good-look, wide-open three-pointers, was part of what is likely to be Toronto’s regular rotation once the season begins. And it was a was highly effective group Tuesday.

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Norm Powell started with Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and Valanciunas with a second unit of C.J. Miles, Delon Wright, Fred VanVleet, Jakob Poeltl and a surprise showing from rookie OG Anunoby.

Anunoby, who is recovering from knee surgery in January, played 20 minutes and didn’t look out of place for a raw rookie. He had a couple of nice assists in the first half and was able to keep up to the pace all night.

There may still be tweaks to who plays alongside whom but that gang of 10 looked tremendous at times, piling up 30 assists on 41 made baskets and making 13 of 37 three-point attempts. Most important, they moved the ball extremely well at times, a pivotal part of Toronto’s emerging game.

Miles finished with 19 points, Ibaka had 14 and DeMar DeRozan 13 to anchor a well-balanced offence.

Casey conceded Tuesday morning that the backup role to Valanciunas was unsettled and might remain that way for a while. Poeltl and Lucas Nogueira have been both good and bad through four pre-season games and there are other factors in play as well.

Valanciunas has 18 points to lift Raptors past Pistons in preseason

  Valanciunas has 18 points to lift Raptors past Pistons in preseason When Jonas Valanciunas lined up for a three-point shot Tuesday night, Detroit’s Andre Drummond made no move to come out to guard him. Valanciunas missed on the three-point point attempt, but got the better of Drummond a couple of minutes later, muscling past the Pistons centre for a basket on a solid night for the Lithuanian.

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The context within is important. At the end of the day, or game, or series, it comes down to winning , and the Toronto Raptors have been beating the Washington Wizards when Jonas Valanciunas is on the floor.

“I’ve got to do a good job of communicating to which one we’re going to use through a stretch,” he said. “It could be up and down, both guys have to stay ready to back up. Also, too, you’ve got to throw Serge (Ibaka) in the mix as a backup five when other teams go really small.

“It’s going to be a fluid situation and no disrespect to Lucas or Yak, both of them just have to stay ready.”

It was Poeltl who got the first call off the bench as Toronto went to 2-2 in a pre-season that ends Friday in Chicago, playing 24 minutes with 12 points and six rebounds while Nogueira only got mop-up duty in the dying minutes.

Detroit, playing for the second straight pre-season night for some odd reason, never went to a small lineup that would have given Casey a chance to use Ibaka as a centre.

Ibaka finished with 14 points including four three-pointers, playing solely as one of Toronto’s forwards.

Valanciunas scores 23, Miles has 22 in Raptors win over Bulls .
Veteran C.J. Miles and the Raptors’ young second unit guaranteed Toronto opened the new NBA season with a victory on Thursday. Miles had six three-pointers and 22 points to lift the Raptors to a 117-101 victory over the depleted Chicago Bulls.Jonas Valanciunas anchored the starting five with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Norm Powell finished with 15 points, Delon Wright chipped in with 13, and Kyle Lowry had 12.DeMar DeRozan — who took centre-court to address the excited crowd before tipoff, saying "Thank you for all your support, let’s have a great season" — finished with 11 points.

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