Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid has missed the last seven games after suffering an orbital bone fracture following an on-court collision with teammate Markelle Fultz on March 28. When he returns to the court -- likely [url=http://www.broncosfootballprosshop.com/Ronald_Leary_Jersey_Cheap]http://www.broncosfootballprosshop.com/Ronald_Leary_Jersey_Cheap[/url] in the first round of the Sixers' playoff [url=http://www.chicagobears.us.com/WOMENS-QUINTIN-DEMPS-JERSEY.html]Authentic Quintin Demps Jersey[/url] series against the Miami Heat -- Embiid will don a face mask, joining a handful of recent NBA stars who suffered facial injuries and were forced to wear protective gear.
Embiid showed off a dramatic black mask on the sideline at the Sixers' home finale Wednesday night and leveraged the situation in his [url=http://www.officialbasketballkings.com/authentic-55-jason-williams-jersey.html]Jason Williams Jersey[/url] favor on social media -- as he has done in almost every scenario this season -- by posting a self-deprecating Instagram photo. TORONTO -- April 18, 2015, was a glorious early-spring day in downtown Toronto, sunny and reasonably warm. Thousands of Toronto Raptors fans had packed into Maple Leaf Square to watch a massive screen on the side of Air Canada Centre, the fulfillment of an urban planner's dream.
Just after noon, Masai Ujiri stepped onto a temporary stage wearing one of his trademark form-fitting dark suits and was handed a live microphone. The Raptors' general manager [url=http://www.officialauthenticseahawksstores.com/cliff+avril+super+bowl+jersey.html]http://www.officialauthenticseahawksstores.com/cliff+avril+super+bowl+jersey.html[/url] and team executives were anxious to show off the admirable scene with a special guest who'd flown in for the kickoff of the playoffs, NBA commissioner Adam Silver. In the elevator on the way, Silver joked about when Ujiri had gotten up on the same stage a year before and screamed "F--- Brooklyn" to fans' joy just before the Raptors opened the playoffs against the Brooklyn Nets. But the Nets won the game, with Paul Pierce making a jumper to ice it, and Silver fined Ujiri $25,000 for [url=http://www.officialflyersteamonline.com/Jakub_Voracek_Jersey]http://www.officialflyersteamonline.com/Jakub_Voracek_Jersey[/url] his language.
They all laughed at the memory. This time, of course, everyone would behave and the improved Raptors were going to handle the Washington Wizards in Game 1. Who cared that Pierce, now with the Wizards, had waved off the Raptors by saying they didn't have the "it" factor? Look at the scene; this was "it." "The atmosphere in Toronto for playoff games is incredible; what you see on TV doesn't do it justice," Pierce said, looking back. "You have to be there to feel it.
"But you know, nobody respected the Raptors, even on their home court. If you got the Raptors in the playoffs, it was nothing to fear. It was a matchup I always wanted." There it is. Harsh and plain. And the losses keep happening. Game 1 has been a demon the Raptors cannot shake. It has gone from nuisance to unexplainable to unacceptable. The Raptors' Game 1 losing streak is at 10. More confounding is they're 0-6 at home. Six Game 1 defeats in front of that relentless crowd when they have had the higher seed and the alleged advantage.
In their history, the Raptors are a depressing 1-12 in Game 1s. But the current core that has been in Toronto since it made its first appearance in six years in 2014 -- Lowry, DeRozan, Jonas Valanciunas and coach Dwane Casey -- are 0-7 in Game 1s. Five of them have taken place in their beloved building. And it haunts them. It must be said that three times in the past two seasons, the Raptors have recovered from Game 1 losses to win the series. But the added stress seemed to affect them in the next round.
The Raptors have just finished the greatest regular season in their history, winning the No. 1 seed and 59 games. They have built a deep and flexible roster that can withstand injuries, bend to an opponent's strengths and reduce the burden to keep their stars fresher for the postseason. They will have Game 1 at home as long as they're alive in the East playoffs.And they will carry the weight of the CN Tower on their backs when they host the Wizards on Saturday to try to end this splitting headache.
"We have to take advantage. We have to," Lowry said. "Game 1 will be the most important game for us. We haven't talked about it much in the past, but this year it's going to be an emphasis, at least, my personal emphasis." In 2006, the No. 3-seed Raptors were favored against the New Jersey Nets. It was a "red out," and all fans were given red T-shirts for the effect. But no one told the Nets, who wore their red alternate road jerseys so they looked and felt like the home team. Played like it, too. They won Game 1 and the series.
In 2016, Lowry made a miraculous shot at the buzzer from just inside half court to force overtime against the Miami Heat in Game 1 at home. Were there no bars in front of all the rows in the upper deck, fans might've toppled onto the court. The scene in Maple Leaf Square -- aka Jurassic Park in the playoffs -- resembled a mosh pit."It's just crushing when you lose at home in Game 1," said Raptors season-ticket holder Jamie Schacter, who has owned seats in the first row since 1995. "When we get the early game, we cringe. Basketball players, and the Raptors especially, it seems, play better at night."On Saturday, the Raptors will have to deal with yet another 5:30 p.m. start.
But it may be simpler than that. Lowry and DeRozan have had some miserable Game [url=http://www.officialwildteamonline.com/Daniel_Winnik_Jersey]Daniel Winnik Jersey[/url] 1s. In the 2014 loss to Brooklyn, they combined to shoot 11-of-31. They were worse the next season against Washington. When Lowry hit the miracle shot against Miami in 2016, it was a part of a 3-of-13 shooting night. In a 2016 Game 1 loss to the Indiana Pacers, Lowry and DeRozan were 8-of-32 from the field. In the 2016 conference finals against Cleveland in Game 1, Lowry was 4-of-14. Last season in their Game 1 loss to the Bucks, Lowry was 2-for-11. In Game 1 against the Cavs in Cleveland in 2017, DeRozan's plus/minus was minus-32. [url=http://www.authenticcheapjerseys.us.com]wholesale nfl jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.CheapChineseJersey.com]cheap nfl jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.cheapcustomnfljerseys.us.com]cheap jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.cheapjerseysonlinechina.us.com]wholesale nfl jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.wholesalecustomnfljerseyschina.com]wholesale jerseys[/url] [url=http://www.SportsFansJerseys.com]wholesale jerseys[/url]
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