ORLANDO - Magic centre Nikola Vucevic was a wide-eyed 18-year-old when he first met college teammate DeMar DeRozan. Daniel Norris Jersey . Born in Switzerland and raised in Belgium, Vucevic had been in the U.S. for just over a year and spoke very little English as he and DeRozan began their freshman season - DeRozans lone season - at the University of Southern California. When he was at SC, he was young, DeRozan said of seven-footer. He was coming over, just learning the game. Everything was so new to him. But was he any good? He barely played, DeRozan joked. Vucevic missed the first eight games that year, waiting to have his amateur status confirmed by the NCAA. Logging just 11 minutes per game the rest of the season, he averaged just 2.6 points and 2.7 rebounds. So, no. He wasnt all that good. Not yet. Meanwhile, DeRozan went on to star for the Trojans, alongside Bulls forward Taj Gibson. The Raptors would draft DeRozan ninth overall that coming summer. Vucevic entered the league two years later, a 16th overall pick by Philadelphia, later flipped to the Magic in a four-team deal that included Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bynum. Again, he was an afterthought. On Saturday they squared off in Orlando. Faces of their respective teams. Two teams going in opposite directions. DeRozan, an All-Star. Vucevic, still a couple years behind, a budding star and the recipient of a brand new four-year, $53 million contract extension. Vucevic threw the first punch, scoring six of his teams first 11. One of the premier rebounders in the NBA, the 24-year-old has diversified his game. His first bucket was a smooth 15-foot jumper. He followed it up with a put-back layup and a dunk. By the time intermission rolled around, Vucevic had his Magic were ahead by three, shooting a sparkling 52 per cent. He had the Raptors on the ropes. What did Dwane Casey have to say at halftime? I can’t repeat it, he said after the game. But it was one of those things where we had to remind them: If we’re serious about being a playoff team you come out and have a serious, business-like approach each and every night. I don’t care if you’re playing a junior high team, you come out and perform. Message received. On the back of DeRozan, the Raptors scored 38 points in the third quarter. Their All-Star guard poured in half of his game-high 26 points. I knew I was bigger than [Evan Fournier] and I knew I could get in the post, he said following his teams decisive 109-95 win Saturday. As long as I could get my shot off I feel like every shot I take will be a good shot, and I was just trying to take advantage of that. Bouncing back from a 4-of-16 performance in Wednesdays opener, DeRozan took control. He was responsible for 10 of Torontos impressive 48 free-throw attempts, logging just 29 minutes in the contest. His crafty up and under move put the Raptors up by 10, their largest lead at the time, with just under three minutes left and they never looked back. DeMar did a heckuva job in the post against Fournier, Casey said. And that was the difference in the ball game. As per usual, Vucevic was quietly dominant. He finished with a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late in the fourth. He was frustrated, but such is life for the emerging star. His Magic have now dropped eight straight to the suddenly red-hot Raptors, yet to break 100 points in any of those meetings. Theyve started the season 0-3 for the first time in nine years. On the other end of the spectrum you have DeRozans Raptors. 2-0 for the first time since 2008, the year DeRozan and Vucevic shared the court at USC. Meeting with NBA royalty Even for those with the immense talent and good fortune required to play basketball at the highest level, its not everyday you come face-to-face with a legend in the sport. Shortly after the Raptors arrived in Orlando Friday afternoon, players were surprised to learn that Oscar Robertson, Hall-of-Famer and one of the all-time greats, would be a guest speaker at their team meeting. Setup by senior consultant Wayne Embry, also an NBA icon and longtime friend of the Big O, the historical significance of this meet and greet was not lost on Caseys young team, despite the fact that none of his players were alive to watch Robertson play live. Thats the great thing about the computer, said the Raptors coach. We have some students of the game. We have some sharp young man from that standpoint. They werent around to see him play and most of their parents probably barely saw him play, but hes the history of the league and before you can go forward you gotta know what came behind you. Im always preaching that and that was a good example. Its always great talking to one of them legends, one of them pioneers that shaped the way the league is today, said DeRozan, who admitted he was a bit starstruck after meeting Robertson for the first time. It was just great to hear from him, ask him a couple questions and get his input on playing back then and how much the game has changed. So you definitely gain more of an appreciation for the love of basketball. Robertson, 75, is a 12-time All-Star, an MVP and NBA champion. His 14-year career came to an end in 1974. He averaged a triple-double in his second season, hovering around one throughout most of his time in the league. Heres a man that was 6-foot-5, Casey said of Robertson, who attended Saturdays game, in town to promote prostate cancer awareness. He was LeBron-size back in the day, before weight training was big and did a lot of the same things. We just didnt see a lot of it. [The players] were in awe of how big he was, how he spoke about competing, how he spoke about being a good teammate and doing things as a team. When he throws out the names of players that he played with it definitely gives you goosebumps, DeRozan said. Guys who came way before we did. Weve got to appreciate them. They played in a different era and they played in a lot worse conditions than us. Sometimes we forget about what they went through, with all the luxuries we have now and everything. So its definitely, definitely humbling when you talk to somebody like that. Robertson and Embry were teammates in Cincinnati before Embry became a general manager and signed Robertson to the largest contract of his playing career with the Bucks. That was a lot of history sitting in the room last night, Casey said. I hope the players took a lot out of. Miguel Cabrera Jersey . Chris Heisey followed with a two-run triple and Billy Hamilton added an RBI double, all but sealing Cincinnatis fourth straight victory and seventh in eight games. Brandon Phillips, celebrating his 33rd birthday, hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth for the Reds before pinch-hitter Buster Posey tied it with an RBI double off hard-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman in the bottom half. Jordan Zimmermann Jersey . Anor had not scored since getting his first two goals of the season vs. Philadelphia on March 22 but struck with laser precision from distance in the 56th and 75th minutes. Montreal (3-10-5) lost its third straight and Impact coach Frank Klopas said it literally was a case of his players not stepping up. http://www.tigersgearshop.com/Tigers-Nick-Castellanos-Kids-Jersey/ . The Spanish champions decision not to sign a defender during the January transfer window may have backfired after Valencia took advantage of a lethargic, uninspired effort by its hosts at the Camp Nou, where former Spain coach Luis Aragones -- who previously coached the Catalan side -- was honoured after his death on Saturday.LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Blake Griffin wont be playing in Portland, regardless of whether his 16th technical of the season is rescinded. Griffin will stay home to rest, along with J.J. Redick, while the rest of the Los Angeles Clippers close out the regular season against the Trail Blazers. They recorded their franchise-record 57th victory with a 117-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, when Griffin scored 24 points. "Im very happy that were doing this stuff, but its not what we want," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists, and Redick added 18 points in the Clippers finale at home, where they went 34-7 for another franchise mark. DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 16 rebounds. "Its all good and well," Paul said about the franchise records, "but its all about the post-season." The win kept the Clippers in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They would need to win at Portland and Oklahoma City would need to lose to Detroit on Wednesday night for the Clippers to claim the second spot. Otherwise, they will remain the third seed. Griffins 16th tech triggered a league-mandated one-game suspension. But he said he thinks the league might rescind it. "I honestly do," he said. "It was one of those ones that was kind of a continuation. If I make a play on the ball and I hit the ball first, and he gives me a tech for that, Im not sure if thats going to stand up." Griffin was assessed the tech with 3:23 left in the second quarter. He swung his right arm around to try to get the ball from Timofey Mozgov and hit him in the head. Griffin pleaded his case with the referees to no avail. Teammate Jared Dudley saw the play and was confident the call would be rescinded. "He did hit ball, but he did follow through and hit his face," Dudley said. &qquot;If it wasnt an offensive foul, the ref said that he wouldnt have called the technical; it would have been more of a flagrant. Michael Fulmer Jersey. " Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with 21 points and Aaron Brooks added 19. Mozgov had 18 points and 11 rebounds as Denvers three-game winning streak ended. "Every time, its tough to play against the big guys like them," Mozgov said about Griffin and Jordan. "They work under the basket so hard." The Clippers scored the games first 13 points and never looked back. Paul hit two 3-pointers and Matt Barnes added another before the Nuggets called timeout to regroup. Redick scored 10 unanswered points by himself, including two 3-pointers that extended the Clippers lead to 18 points. Griffin had three one-handed highlight dunks in the first. "We were rattled at the beginning of the game," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "We couldnt settle down and they jumped out to that big lead, and it was just too much for us." Mozgov helped the Nuggets close within single-digits after trailing by 23 with a three-point play that left them down 88-80 to end the third. Denver twice got within five in the fourth, when all of the Clippers starters except Barnes and Jordan rested. But Los Angeles pulled away down the stretch for the easy win. "I wanted them to figure it out," Rivers said of the reserves. "Thats a confidence booster for them to close it out." NOTES: Redick wont play the regular-season finale Wednesday at Portland to avoid a back-to-back situation. ... Clippers F Danny Granger could practice Thursday or Friday. He missed his eighth straight game because of a strained left hamstring. ... Denver finished 14-27 on the road and 7-19 against the West away from home. ... The Nuggets host playoff-bound Golden State on Wednesday in their final game of the season. Cheap Red Sox Jerseys Cheap Orioles Jerseys Cheap Mets Jerseys Cheap Phillies Jerseys Cheap Nationals Jerseys Cheap Cubs Jerseys Cheap Reds Jerseys Cheap Brewers Jerseys Cheap Pirates Jerseys Cheap Cardinals Jerseys Cheap Diamondbacks Jerseys Cheap Rockies Jerseys Cheap Dodgers Jerseys Cheap Padres Jerseys Cheap Giants Jerseys ' ' '