TORONTO - With just over two minutes remaining in the first half of Mondays win over the lowly Bucks, Kyle Lowry dumped the ball into Jonas Valanciunas on the left block. Jessie Bates III Bengals Jersey . Isolated against Ersan Ilyasova, Valanciunas turned to face up, took one dribble and barreled into the smaller defender, who took the charge. As Milwaukee called a timeout, Lowry followed the Raptors promising sophomore centre straight to the bench. “Know your opponent,” he implored, instructing Valanciunas to post-up when he has a size and strength advantage over the defender. The Raptors were up by 14 at the time, they would go on to win by 22 and Valanciunas would register his 12th double-double of the campaign, four more than he totalled as a rookie last season. Still, Lowry was all over the gaffe. The two have developed a mutually beneficial mentor-protégé relationship. "Hes kind of like a coach," Valanciunas said of Lowry after practice the day prior. He knows a lot, he tries to help everybody, especially me because Im the young guy." Lowry has been as tough on the young centre as anyone in the Raptors organization and as such his fingerprints can be found all over the 21-year-olds continued development. "Hes been great," coach Dwane Casey told TSN.ca, speaking of Lowry and the leadership role hes taken with Valanciunas. "He has a way of getting on him but yet still he has a relationship with him that he can talk to him that way. "Other people may not understand it but Kyles done a great job of working with Jonas, letting him know what he needs to do. [Hes] just been a great mentor to him. Thats been huge for Jonas." Both players are approaching the middle of their second season together in Toronto. Lowry was acquired in a trade from Houston in July of 2012, just around the same time Valanciunas - Torontos fifth overall pick in 2011 - had arrived from Lithuania. After missing the bulk of training camp with injuries last season, both of their Raptor careers got off to shaky starts. While Lowry struggled through injuries, fluctuating playing time and philosophical differences with the coaching staff, Valanciunas experienced the growing pains you would expect from a 20-year-old getting accustomed to his surroundings in a new country, in a new league. Valanciunas has seen his playing time increase by five minutes per night in his second season; hes regularly on the court during crucial moments at the end of games and he is becoming more of a focal point in Torontos offence. However, as both his coach and his point guard would tell you, hes far from a finished product. He continues to make nightly mistakes - with his positioning, in the pick-and-roll game, and on defence, particularly as the help man - and Lowry is usually the first person to let him hear about it. "Every time he messes up we talk about it," Lowry said. "I tell him what he did and then he fixes it and I congratulate him when he does it [right]. "I think he has the skills and he has the heart and he has the right mentality to be one of the best bigs in the league," the Raptors point guard continued. "My constructive criticism is just tough, big brother love. I think the world of him, I think he can be so good [and] thats why I push him. Im always going to be tough on him because I know how good hes going to be." Lowry, an eight-year NBA vet, is also coming into his own, playing the best basketball of his career and spearheading the Raptors recent resurgence. "Thats just coming from buying in if you ask me," former Raptors teammate Alan Anderson said of Lowry. Most importantly - for a player that will be in the market for a new contract this summer - he is well on his way to shedding the reputation that has followed him like a dark cloud over the years. "Kyles showed hes been a positive leader," Casey said over the weekend. "I think that was the biggest question among coaches around the league, could he be a positive leader and be productive on the court." Not only has he been productive, averaging career-highs across the board, but hes been the consummate professional his team has desperately needed him to be while remaining a positive influence on his younger teammates, namely Valanciunas. Occasionally combative, Lowrys fiery nature has often been misunderstood. The reality - which his teammates and coaches have come to accept and appreciate - is, he holds himself and everyone around him to an incredibly high standard. He is a fierce competitor with an unrelenting will to win. Lowry is a strong personality, certainly not the first Casey has coached. The Raptors coach worked with future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and current Nets bench boss Jason Kidd in Dallas, but Lowrys leadership style reminds him of another hard-nosed point guard from his past. "The guards that Ive had, Gary Payton was one of the [toughest]," Casey said, having coached ‘The Glove as an assistant in Seattle. "He would use some colourful words to talk with his teammates but they understood it, he had a relationship with [them], just like Kyle. Kyle reminds me so much of Gary in the fact that he can talk to players in a certain way that they understand because he has their respect and he has a relationship with them. "As long as you have that relationship and you back it up with love and real sugar than you can get on guys but I havent seen Kyle be overly tough on JV, just when he needs it and just the right amount." As Casey points out, Lowry walks a fine line between tough love and going too far, but he does it with precision. Hes hard on Valanciunas because he recognizes the young mans upside but also, and most importantly, he knows the seven-footer can take it. "Hes really receptive," Lowry said, "because I tell him, I tell him why Im so tough on him and he understands that. "He knows how to do it," said Valanciunas, who has thick skin, having played professionally in Europe since he was 15. "I understand hes my teammates, he wants me to do good and [Ive] just got to live with that." Whether or not Valanciunas realizes or fully appreciates it now, Lowry should have a long-lasting impact on his auspicious NBA career. As for Lowry, his future with the team remains uncertain but wherever he ends up, after cashing in on this seasons revival, his Raptors legacy will live on in the growth of the franchises emerging centre. Billy Price Jersey . TSN 1290s Jordan Cieciwa, Big Marv and Toby are here to give their predictions on who will leave with the belt and who will take some of the other key bouts on the card. Johny Hendricks vs. Malik Jefferson Jersey . The top-ranked Djokovic also beat Gael Monfils and then routed Roger Federer en route to his first Abu Dhabi title. "Its always great to win a title. This is the best way to start the 2012 season," Djokovic said. http://www.bengalsgear.com/authentic-preston-brown-jersey.html .com) - Real Madrid claimed its 16th consecutive victory across all competitions on Saturday after earning a 2-1 win over Malaga at the Estadio La Rosaleda.UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- One day after Kyle Okposo was left off the U.S. Olympic team, the New York Islanders forward added another clip to his highlight reel. Okposo scored 58 seconds into overtime to lift the Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night after they blew a two-goal lead to the Stanley Cup champions. Barring injuries to others, Okposo will likely be home during the Sochi Olympics. Yet he didnt hang his head after being passed over. "Youre giving me chills right now," Okposo said during an on-ice interview as the Nassau Coliseum crowd chanted "U-S-A! U-S-A!" "Sometimes you get tough bounces in life," Okposo added. "You dont always achieve your goals. Tonight I thought I left everything out there." Casey Cizikas scored in his 100th NHL game, and Thomas Vanek added a goal for the Islanders. Defenceman Andrew MacDonald had two assists, and Evgeni Nabokov made 37 saves. Okposo ended it with his 16th goal. "He was probably a little disappointed," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said of the Olympic snub. "He is just excited that we won the game." The Islanders have won three straight, building off a pair of comeback road victories against Minnesota and Boston -- Chicagos opponent in last years Cup finals. "Right now, were competing and were winning some battles we werent winning earlier this season," Capuano said. "With Boston and Chicago, you can see the skill level. We had to be on our toes, we had to be sharp, we had to execute." Brent Seabrook scored in the second period, and Ben Smith early in the third scored to help the Blackhawks rally for a standings point. Patrick Kane was held without a point for the second consecutive game after recording at least one in a career-best 14 straight. Crawford returned from a 10-game injury absence and improved as the game went on, shining after his club got even. He finished with 31 saves and was superb in the third. "The energy was definitely there. I was seeing the puck pretty well," Crawford said. "There were maybe some rebounds I gave up that usually I take care of but I felt pretty good." The Islanders have a four-game winning streak on the road, but havent had recent success at home. Since their last regulation win at Nassau Coliseum on Nov. 12 against Nashville, the Islanders are just 2-5-4 there. "I definitely hope something is brewing," Nabokov said. "We have to stick with the moment and our game plan. The defence did a great job clearing rebounds. That was the key. "We have put three together," Nabokov said.. Cordy Glenn Bengals Jersey. "Now we have to for the fourth one." Chicago is 8-1-3 in its last 12 games. "They attacked," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They have some quickness and speed and they make plays. It was nice to get it to overtime, but it didnt last very long." Several inches of snow piled up in the parking lot and on cars during the game. The Islanders offered all ticket-holders, whether they came to the game or not, the opportunity to exchange tickets for any weekday home game this season. Also, hot dogs and sodas were discounted to $2. Though the crowd thinned after the second period, many seats were filled despite the ominous forecast that called for upward of 10 inches of snow by Friday. Many of the 13,618 in attendance were decked out in Blackhawks red, but when cheers of "Lets Go Hawks!" went up, they were met with boos and counter calls of "Lets Go Islanders!" Smiths tying goal 1:50 into the third elicited a loud celebratory cheer that wasnt answered by home team supporters. After a turnover in the Islanders end, Patrick Sharp brought the puck from behind the net and tried to jam it in. A scramble in the crease ensued, and Smith poked in his fifth of the season. Cizikas made a quick impact in the first period when he knocked the puck free from Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell and then beat Bickell to the loose puck at the Chicago blue line. Cizikas corralled the puck, skated in alone on Crawford and scored his fifth of the season with 4:36 left in the period after shifting from backhand to forehand. Outside of that, the Blackhawks had the better of the play in the opening frame, holding a 12-5 edge in shots. The Islanders doubled their lead 8:09 into the second when Vanek netted his 14th goal with a backhander in front off a rebound of MacDonalds shot. New York took the first penalty of the game when Matt Carkner was sent off for tripping with 2:34 remaining in the second, and Chicagos potent power play took advantage. Kris Versteeg sent a crisp, cross-zone pass to the left circle to Seabrook, who ripped a one-timer as he crouched to a knee past Nabokov for his fifth of the season with 1:24 left in the period. Sharp took the Blackhawks first penalty, cross-checking with 24.5 seconds to go in the second. The Islanders started the third with 1:36 left on the advantage but couldnt convert. NOTES: The Blackhawks entered with the NHLs third-best power play and the top road unit. New York has the worst penalty-killing unit at home. ... Chicago D Michael Kostka played his sixth game. Fellow defenceman Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Rozsival were out. 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