#1 reason," Casey sai von shushu zhang 21.02.2019 03:01

LOS ANGELES - The Raptors will be at the edge of the NBA spotlight Sunday evening, whether they like it or not. Basketball fans around the globe will be watching as Kobe Bryant makes his season debut - 240 days after tearing his left Achilles - against Toronto, a team he has used as his own personal punching bag. Bryant announced his return in a video posted on his Facebook page Friday afternoon and the game, which airs at 9:30pm et on TSN2, will also be picked up by NBA TV in the US. All eyes will be locked on the Lakers future Hall-of-Famer, all except the Raptors coach, who would rather avoid becoming a sideshow in the Bryant circus that is sure to consume Staples Center on Sunday. "Everybodys going to be watching Kobe come back but Im totally concerned about the Toronto Raptors," said Dwane Casey, hoping to put an end to his teams five-game skid. "No disrespect to Kobe, hes one of our greats in the game, we need him in the game, but for us Im worried about the Toronto Raptors, our physical disposition, our approach, our toughness." Whether he cares to admit it, the Lakers did Casey and Torontos coaching staff a favour by making their announcement public Friday rather than keeping Bryants status under wraps until game day. As the home team - with an assist from the NBA - shamelessly builds the hype for Bryants return, the visitors are trying desperately to dodge it. "Weve got to go out there and play hard regardless, [even] if we werent on TV, if we were just playing in front of five people," said California-native DeMar DeRozan after practicing at the Clippers training center in LA Saturday afternoon. A match-up with the struggling Raptors is a fitting return for Bryant, who has torched Toronto throughout his 17-year career. Bryant is averaging 28.3 points in 29 games against the Raptors, his second highest average against any opponent, inflated by his infamous 81-point performance. Bryant has only lost to Toronto at Staples once, back in 2001, and the Raptors havent defeated the Lakers in LA since. Now the question is: How will the 35-year-old fare coming off major surgery, after an eight-month layoff? "Me, knowing him, he wouldnt come back if he didnt think he could play at a dominant level," DeRozan insisted. "I think its mixed emotion for everybody. Everybodys just eager to see how hell be. Everybody always tries to doubt him in some way and he always seems to prove people wrong. So its just another test for him, well see how he bounces back." Bryant should see limited playing time in his first game back, roughly 20-30 minutes of action per Lakers coach Mike DAntoni. Although working one of the all-time greats back into your lineup isnt a bad problem to have, DAntoni hopes it wont disrupt the chemistry thats been built over the teams first 19 games. "Theyve been moving the basketball well, [doing] a lot of things [DAntoni was] doing in New York with the same sets, same things he was doing in Phoenix," Casey said of the 10-9 Lakers. "A lot of pick-and-rolls, the ball was humming, moving and I assume theyre going to do the same thing with [Bryant] coming back. We just have to be prepared." With Bryant hurt, Steve Nash out of the lineup - hes already been ruled out for Sundays game - and Dwight Howard in Houston, these Lakers have looked more like a vintage DAntoni team than last seasons incarnation ever did. This team has played at the NBAs third quickest pace, making more three-point shots per game than any other in the league. Now how do they integrate Bryant? The Raptors - in full out "we need to worry about ourselves"-mode Saturday - are navigating through an identity crisis of their own. Opponents have shot over 45 per cent in each game during their losing streak and have exceeded 100 points in four of the five contests. Their latest defeat, a 106-97 loss in Phoenix Friday, exposed a lack of toughness on both ends of the floor. "Weve gotten away from that for whatever reason," Casey said after his team was out-rebounded 53-36 by the Suns, including an 18-11 disparity on the offensive glass. "Were not the hit first team that we were." To make matters worse, Toronto may be without its most physical player on Sunday after Tyler Hansbrough sprained his left shoulder against the Suns. The Raptors forward underwent an MRI in LA Saturday morning and the team is awaiting the results before determining his status. Playing on the big stage, with the focus surrounding the other team and its best player, the Raptors have an opportunity to spoil the party and prove themselves in front of a large audience. "Weve got to get out of this slump," DeRozan said. "We understand it doesnt feel good, its a bad feeling and weve got to turn it around." Clearance Nike Free .com) - Ryan Miller made 28 saves to record his fifth shutout of the season and second in as many nights as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Friday. Nike Free Wholesale China . In Englands first game since its worst-ever World Cup showing, Roy Hodgsons side rarely looked like scoring against unambitious opposition and the breakthrough in the friendly only came when Raheem Sterling was tripped in the penalty area. http://www.wholesalenikefree.com/ .C. United have acquired midfielder Alex Caskey from the Seattle Sounders for a third-round pick in the 2016 MLS draft. 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