TORONTO - Moments after the Raptors storybook regular season came to an end, losing a meaningless game to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden Wednesday, Kyle Lowry addressed his teammates in the visitors dressing room. Turning the page, the focus immediately shifted to the challenge that lay ahead of them, their most arduous test yet and one many of them have only dreamt of, heard about or watched on television. With the battle-tested Brooklyn Nets looming - their first playoff game set to tip-off early Saturday afternoon - the Raptors are leaning on their veterans, on Lowry, his experience and leadership. What did he say to rally his troops ahead of the crucial preparation stage that precedes a postseason series? "Thats for me and my guys to know," he said, chatty as ever. "Kyle came in here, hes been in the playoffs, and told us it starts [Thursday]," DeMar DeRozan clarified, offering a little more insight. "[Thursday] morning, as soon as we come to work its going to start there - studying, understanding what they run, their tendencies." As youve probably heard by now, the Raptors are a young, inexperienced team. Theyve heard about too, its the narrative that drives this series. Lowry and Amir Johnson account for all 24 games of playoff experience in the Raptors starting lineup. Neither have been to the dance in five years, neither have ever started a postseason game. Meanwhile the Nets starters have played in 399 postseason games. They have six players who have logged more than twice as many playoff minutes as any Raptor. Theyll be reminded of it over and over again for two weeks and then, should they advance to round two, itll be revisited once again. They cant run from it, not until they prove its a non-factor, but give them credit for the effort. "I mean, it aint like its rocket science or nothing," said DeRozan, asked about making his playoff debut on Saturday. "Everybody keeps talking to me like, bringing it up like its rocket science or Ive got to know trigonometry or something. You just figure it out. You just go out there. Ive been playing this game long enough, Ive been in the league long enough, been in a lot of situations. So it shouldnt be hard." He has a point. Playoff basketball is still basketball, after all. The game is the same; its the stage that changes. The stakes that are higher and the room for error is narrowed. Some adjust to it better than others. "Everythings at stake so youve just got to be ready for everything," the all-star guard acknowledged. "I think Ive watched enough playoff basketball to see how physical it is and to see how things go. Even superstar players dont get calls out there. So Im conscious of it. Im not naive of anything. Now Im in a position to go through it myself." That heightened, more physically punishing brand of basketball has burned Raptors stars of the past. Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh all shot below 40 per cent in their first playoff series, with Carter barely breaking the 30 per cent barrier and scoring six points fewer than his average that season. "Its a different level," said Dwane Casey, who will be making his playoff debut as a head coach after winning a title as an assistant in Dallas. "Its a different level in intensity, more physicality, less fouls called. Youve got to play through it and thats one thing that theyll learn. The only way you can do that, though, is to go through it." "I dont want to overhype it to scare our guys. Its still basketball but guys will see the difference, theyll feel that as soon as they walk on the court." Along with DeRozan, sophomores Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross, as well as fourth-year forward Patrick Patterson are among the teams rotation players who have yet to experience playoff basketball. How big of a role does experience play in the postseason? Given the staggering discrepancy between the two teams, this series could solve that query as much or more than any other in recent memory. Theres no telling how Torontos players might react to the adjustments theyll have to make, both in terms of their mental approach and on-court toughness, but they wont have the luxury of a grace period, not against the team theyre up against. The Raptors cant afford to ease their way in, hosting games one and two at the Air Canada Centre - where they won 22 of their final 29 contests - before the series shifts to Brooklyns Barclays Center, a building the Nets have dominated in since Jan. 1. The most promising quality the Raptors players displayed following Thursday afternoons practice was fearlessness. Theyre not the least bit shaken by the Nets, their experience or the theory that they may have been at the top of Brooklyns postseason wish list. "I mean, were all in the same league, man," DeRozan said. "Honestly, thats how I look at it, man. Credit to them, they did what they did but we play against guys who are experienced all season, honestly." As DeRozan has pointed out, their young legs may also be beneficial against an older, slower club. Although they rank towards the bottom of the league in fast break points - just marginally ahead of the Nets - the Raptors have been able to get out and run against Brooklyn this season. However, the spaced out schedule - with their first four games spanning nine days - at least appears to favour the veteran Nets, who will get a chance to recharge their batteries following each contest, a concern Patterson expressed on Thursday. Torontos true advantage my lie in their size and strength up front, if they choose to utilize it. The Nets turned around their once disastrous season in part by featuring their small lineup, with two point guards in the backcourt and Paul Pierce at the four spot. Although closing out on Brooklyns shooters and defending Pierce on the perimeter presents a challenge in and of itself, they were ranked second to last in rebounding and the Raptors bested them on the boards by 19 this year. Kevin Garnett, who played in just two of the four meetings this season, is nearing his NBA swan song but is still a difference maker defensively and on the glass when hes on the court. The Raptors could force the issue by attacking the paint, putting pressure of Garnett and the Nets frontcourt, void of a true shot blocking presence. "We know who the match-ups are," Casey said. "Weve just got to take it and dissect it and take advantage of the things we have an advantage in, which is our speed, athleticism and our energy. Weve got to keep a fast tempo in the game." Pat Neshek Jersey . Knapp defeated American Alison Riske 6-3, 7-5 to secure Italys victory in the best-of-five series. She held a 5-2 lead in the second set, only to let Riske tie it at five. Tim McCarver Jersey . Its not intended to be some magical formula and doesnt apply any context, like, for example, taking injuries into account. This remedial statistical method has gone 9-5 in picks through the first three rounds. http://www.baseballphilliesofficial....rsey-c-37/.com) - Mike Conley scored 20 points with five assists to help the Memphis Grizzlies remain unbeaten with a 91-89 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. Mitch Williams Jersey . The star receiver certainly isnt celebrating it with the Texans mired in a franchise-record 13-game skid. Tug McGraw Jersey . Langer appeared to be in trouble when his second shot on the par-5 18th ended up in the rough short of the green. He hit a brilliant pitch to 5 feet and made the putt after Slumans birdie attempt rolled just wide.LA QUINTA, Calif. -- Zach Johnson asked his short-iron approach on the par-4 18th to "Do something right, baby." It did. With just a hint of a draw, Johnsons shot landed to the right of the right-side pin and spun to 2 feet to set up a birdie Thursday that left him two strokes behind first-round leader Patrick Reed in the Humana Challenge. Thriving on great driving, even better wedge play and putting, Johnson has three worldwide wins in his last seven starts. He began the run in the BMW Championship in September, and beat Tiger Woods in a playoff in December in the World Challenge after holing a wedge for par on the final hole of regulation. Johnson followed that with a victory two weeks ago in Kapalua. "I dont think Im the best," Johnson said when asked if hes the best wedge player. He pointed to Ryder Cup teammate Steve Stricker. "Hes the first one that comes to my mind," Johnson said. "Phenomenal wedge player. ... But my wedges are clean. ... Ive worked on it a lot. Ive worked on it in a number of different ways, but the main way is really just trying to dial in yardages and trajectories." Johnson finished with a 7-under 65, hitting all 14 fairways at La Quinta Country Club -- the most-demanding driving layout in the three-course event. He hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation and had 27 putts in his bogey-free round. "The greens over there are, I dont even know how to explain them, its like carpet," Johnson said. "I mean, theyre just so good. I dont know what they do over there, but they look artificial. Theyre like this every year, but theyre as good as Ive ever seen." Johnson has 11 PGA Tour victories. Dating to his rookie season in 2004, only Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have more. "It means that Im doing something right," said Johnson, the top-ranked player in the field at No. 6. Reed had a 9-under 63 in perfect scoring and weather conditions. He ran off five straight birdies in the middle of his bogey-free round on PGA Wests Arnold Palmer Private Course and tied his career low. "The course is in perfect shape," said Reed, the Wyndham Championship winner in August. "The rough isnt very high, the fairways are perfect and the greens are rolling very true." Reed started on the back nine and birdied Nos. 16-18 and 1-2 to get to 7-under. He added birdies on Nos. 6 and 7. "I started ouut a little struggling with the driver, had some lefts in it, but luckily I missed it in the right spots," Reed said.dddddddddddd "I was really confident with my irons, kept hitting greens and all of a sudden, 10-, 12-, 15-, 20-foot putts started going in." With wife Justine pregnant with their first child, her brother, Kessler Karain, is subbing as Reeds caddie. Justine has walked every hole with her husband this year and plans to rejoin him inside the ropes after the baby girl arrives. The due date is Memorial Day. "We cant wait for that," Reed said. "Im excited to be a dad." Ryan Palmer, Justin Hicks, Daniel Summerhays and Charley Hoffman shot 64. Palmer birdied his final six holes and nine of his last 12 on the Palmer course, the site of the final round Sunday. "I wasnt making a whole lot of long putts, just hitting it close," Palmer said. Hicks had an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey on the Jack Nicklaus Private Course. "Just trying to give myself as many opportunities as I can," Hicks said. Hoffman, the 2007 winner, had an eagle and six birdies at La Quinta. "I love this golf course," Hoffman said. "I think this is probably one of the better tracks we play all year when its said and done." Summerhays birdied seven of his last 10 on the Nicklaus course. "Its fun to make birdies," Summerhays said. "Thats one of the fun things about this tournament is that the courses are a little easier. Theyre in perfect shape, which makes them almost even easier." With a high temperature in the mid-80s and only a gentle morning breeze off the Santa Rosa Mountains, the players averaged 69.692 on the Palmer course, 69.431 on the Nicklaus layout, and 70.192 at La Quinta. Ottawas Brad Fritsch carded a 67 at the Palmer course. David Hearn of Brantford, Ont., also on Palmer, had a 68. Calgarys Stephen Ames and Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., each shot a 73 on the Palmer course. Keegan Bradley opened with a 69 at La Quinta in his first start of the year. Hes fighting a cold and struggled with his distance control and accuracy. "Im still a little tired. Getting better every day," said Bradley, paired with Johnson the first three days. "Im happy with todays round for the first round of the year." Defending champion Brian Gay also had a 69 at La Quinta. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys ' ' '