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Buycks sat in the corner of the visitors locke

MEMPHIS - Rookie Dwight Buycks sat in the corner of the visitors locker room, headphones on one ear. Chris Carpenter Jersey . D.J. Augustin occupied the locker to his right, Julyan Stone directly to his left as the three point guards shared a laugh 60 minutes prior to tip-off in Memphis. Off the court theyre good friends. On it theyve been competing for the same job since the start of training camp. Its been the Raptors most problematic position early in the season but, at least for now, they have filled the vacancy behind starter Kyle Lowry at the point. Buycks, seemingly an unlikely choice, has emerged from that trio of under-performing guards to earn a spot in Dwane Caseys rotation. Now, its his job to lose. "Hes gained some ground," Casey told TSN.ca before his teams surprising victory over the Grizzlies Wednesday. "I thought he played with a lot of confidence against Houston the other night, he played with a lot of confidence against Utah. Hes kind of stepped forward in that situation and [emerged]." For the third straight game, Buycks was the first Raptors point guard off the bench in Memphis. He missed his only field goal attempt but converted all four of his free throws in just under 12 minutes of action. Augustin checked in with a minute left and the victory all but sealed while Stone was a healthy scratch for Caseys club. "Theres definitely [an] opportunity, for sure," Buycks recognized. "[Casey has] been saying that for a while now. Weve been competing and making it tough for him." "Youve just got to stay ready and make the most of it. Most of all just go out there and have fun but at the same time its a job, its a business so youve got to take it serious." He hasnt been spectacular - far from it, averaging just 3.4 points and 0.4 assists on 36 per cent shooting in five games - but hes been solid, precisely what Casey has been looking for from the leader of his second unit. When hes come into the game hes been aggressive and has made good decisions more often than not. Most importantly there hasnt been a noticeable drop off when Lowry goes to the bench, an ongoing concern when the incumbent Augustin would check in. Five games into his NBA career, Buycks has earned Caseys trust. An undrafted rookie, Buycks was once considered the dark horse of this trio. Stone - who was kept on after a strong showing in camp - endeared himself to Casey with his versatility and defensive wherewithal while Augustin was given first crack at the job on account of his experience as a starter in the league. Their skill sets differ and the sample size with Buycks is small, which suggests the rookie may be tied to short leash. As long as Caseys options at the position remain modest, at best, the competition will be ongoing even if Buycks continues to front the platoon. "Its tough but at the end of the day were teammates," said the 24-year-old. "Were all going to give it our all; were pros, so youve definitely got to bring it. Thats what makes it tough but thats what makes us love our job more." Buycks is an unconventional NBA rookie, having spent last season playing professionally in France where he was awarded league MVP. Still, hes a first-year player and his teammates wont let him forget it. "Its a rookie duty, a little gift from [Lowry]," Buycks said of the small bumblebee backpack thats been accompanying him on road trips this season. "Its not too bad. At the end of the day its all fun and games." "It wasnt a problem for me. I was laughing and smiling right with them when I found out I had it. So [Im] just going along with the flow." It could be worse, he pointed out. The teams three sophomores - Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross and Quincy Acy - all had to carry around pink bags along with a doll, Dora the Explorer or Bart Simpson. The bumblebee is slightly less conspicuous. The advice he received from those three; "Just dont forget youre book bag. Bring it everywhere you go, dont forget it and youll be alright." Drew Robinson Cardinals Jersey . Catch the action live on TSN2 at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt. The Wild lead the Northwest Division and look to get back into the win column after having a season-high seven-game winning streak cut short with Tuesdays 2-1 loss at Winnipeg in the finale of a five-game road trip (4-1-0). Custom St. Louis Cardinals Jerseys . There are some early surprises in the race for the Hart Trophy, but two of the contenders are the leagues biggest stars over the past decade. There are many more players in contention for the awards than just the three that Ive named, and a good or bad week can easily alter the landscape, but through the first 20 or so games of the NHL season, this is how the awards races look to me.PHOENIX -- The San Francisco Giants were kicking the ball around so badly Monday night that manager Bruce Bochy wanted to start spring training over again. Then the Giants bats came alive, Arizonas bullpen wilted, and San Francisco rallied from four runs down to beat the Diamondbacks 9-8 on Buster Poseys two-run home run off new closer Addison Reed in the ninth inning. "I think we want to be a team that keeps grinding and keeps pushing," Posey said. "It was nice to be able to do that tonight right out of the chute to give us that confidence that when we get down we know we have the ability to come back." Poseys star turn didnt surprise Giants starter Madison Bumgarner, who left after giving up four unearned runs in four innings. "Hes on a different level, man," Bumgarner said. "Hes so good and hes been that good since day one. Its fun to watch him play every day." Posey had no experience against Reed, who came to the Diamondbacks in an off-season trade from the Chicago White Sox. "Ive never faced him before, spring training or anything," Posey said. "I was really just trying to get a pitch I can handle." He got it on a fastball that he sent over the left field wall. "For us to come back and win a game like that, it just shows you, you go hard for nine innings ," Bochy said. "These guys did and got some big hits later in the game. It seemed like it got contagious, then Buster came through for us in a big way. It was the season opener for San Francisco and the first true home game for the Diamondbacks, who started the season with two losses as the home team against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Australia. Miguel Montero, who had three hits and reached base five times, homered to lead off the Arizona ninth and make it a one-run game. Brandon Belt had three hits, including a solo home run, and singled ahead of Poseys homer. Arizona scored four unearned runs off Bumgarner in the fourth and led 7-3 after six. San Francisco got four runs with two outs in the seventh, with reliever Brad Ziegler walking in the tying run. Jean Machi (1-0) pitched 1 2-3 innings of relief to get the victory. Adam Wainwright Cardinals Jersey. . Reed (0-1), acquired from the Chicago White Sox in the off-season, got the loss. Sergio Romo, who gave up the home run to Montero, earned the save. After Monteros shot to left, Chris Owings reached on a bunt single and was sacrificed to second by Gerardo Parra. Pinch-hitter Eric Chavez struck out and A.J. Pollock, who has started the season 0 for 13, popped out to end it. Pollock was 0 for 6 with four strikeouts. In the Giants big seventh, pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza doubled in a run, ending Arizona starter Brandon McCarthys night. McCarthy was livid about home plate umpire Tom Hallions call of a ball on a 2-2 pitch just before the double. "There was a call in the seventh that changed the entire outlook of the game," McCarthy said. "We all have to execute after that point but ... it kind of leaves a bitter taste." Oliver Perez came in and gave up three hits without an out, including an RBI double by Angel Pagans RBI double and Pablo Sandovals run-scoring single. Ziegler relieved Perez and gave up a single to Posey to load the bases, then walked Hunter Pence for the tying run. Arizonas four-run fourth inning opened with a fielding error by second baseman Joaquin Arias on Mark Trumbos groundball. Montero hit a bouncer to the third baseman Sandoval, who bobbled it just long enough for Trumbo to make it to second. The Diamondbacks greeted reliever Yusmeiro Petit with four consecutive hits in the fifth, including a leadoff double by Martin Prado, followed by Trumbos RBI single. Parra got his third RBI of the night with a ground out and Arizona led 6-2. The Diamondbacks got their seventh run after the Giants botched a rundown play between first and second. NOTES: Arizonas Goldschmidt extended his hitting streak to 22 games, dating to last season. ... McCarthy struck out the side in the first. He did that once last season, April 16 against the Yankees. ... The Giants opened on the road for the fifth straight year. ... On Tuesday night, Wade Miley (0-1) pitches for Arizona, Matt Cain goes for the San Francisco. ' ' ' 



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