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  • June 27, 2018 3:09 AM EDT

    The Toronto Raptors are having one of the best seasons in franchise history - in a year when nobody expected it. Alex Bregman Jersey . Many believed sneaking into the final playoff spot would be a success for the Raptors this season, but even that wasnt guaranteed. But with only 11 games remaining in the regular season, Toronto (40-31) sits in third place in the Eastern Conference, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Brooklyn Nets for tops in the Atlantic Division and a postseason spot all but official. This will be the first time since 2008 that the Raptors will play in the NBAs second season. With all of the good fortunes the Dinos have seen this year, who has been most integral to the teams success? DeMar DeRozan is the face of the franchise and is one of the longest tenured members of the Raptors. The 24-year-old made his first All-Star Game this season and is leading the team in points scoring 22.7 per game.  This is DeRozans fifth year in the Association and he signed a four-year deal last season to stay north of the border for the foreseeable future. Will the team only go as far as DeMar will take them? Kyle Lowry has quickly become a fan favourite in only his second season in Raptors colours. The rugged point guard has shown bulldog-like toughness on a nightly basis, playing considerable minutes and being the man the team has looked to when they are in need of a spark. Analysts and fans alike thought the 28-year-old should have been in New Orleans for the All-Star Game. Averaging 17.6 PPG (scoring over 20 points in eight consecutive games) along with 7.7 assists per game makes a good case for that argument. His future is uncertain in Toronto with Lowry hitting the free agent market this summer, but the Raptors are glad to have him for the time being. Is he the one to thank? Then theres Amir Johnson. At only 26, he can be considered a veteran, already playing in his ninth NBA season and is an important part of the Raps front court. He averages 11.1 PPG, 6.9 rebounds per game and is a strong force on the defensive side of the ball. Maybe the key success is coming from the sidelines. Head coach Dwane Casey is in his second year in charge of the Raptors and seems to have finally gotten through to his players. Toronto has gotten much better defensively only allowing 97.6 PPG, good enough for fifth in the NBA. Is the coachs defence-first mindset the reason the Raptors are headed to the post-season? The success could be attributed to General Manager Masai Ujiri. The Nigerian hasnt brought in a lot of highly touted talent since he took the job last off-season. Instead hes used the method of addition by subtraction to improve on the court. First, he shipped the much-maligned Andrea Bargnani off to the New York Knicks followed by sending Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings during the season. Toronto is 34-19 since Gay was traded out west. With the offence no longer going through Gay, the Raptors have been able to score more efficiently. Not to mention the players coming back to Toronto - namely Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez – have helped the Raptors to get where they are today. Do we have to look to the front office for the reason behind the sudden improvement? So, who do you think is the most integral to the Raptors success this season? As always, its Your! Call. Jose Cruz Astros Jersey . Simona Halep of Romania claimed the fifth title of her career by beating Samantha Stosur of Australia 7-6 (1), 6-2 in the womens final. After trading sets, Gasquet trailed 4-3 in the decider but broke back to 4-4 in a game that went to seven deuces with Kukushkin constantly failing on his forehand shots. Hector Rondon Astros Jersey . Jones took a beating, the worst one of his record reign, in a bout against Alexander Gustafsson that knocked the light heavyweight champion on the canvas for the first time in his career and put his belt in jeopardy.CHICAGO - Former Super Bowl MVP wide receiver Santonio Holmes signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears on Saturday. The team also announced receiver and kick returner Eric Weems was released. The Bears are looking for a third receiver behind stars Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Marquess Wilson was battling for that job when he broke his collarbone last week. A first-round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 2006, Holmes was the Super Bowl MVP in his third year. He had his best season statistically the following year in 2009 with 79 catches for 1,248 yards and five touchdowns. But he was traded to the New York Jets the following off-season after the Steelers tired of his legal troubles. The Jets releaased the 30-year-old Holmes in March after he had 23 catches — the second-lowest total of his career — for 456 yards in 11 games. Andy Pettitte Jersey. . He missed five games midway through the season with a hamstring injury. Holmes was limited to just four games in 2012 and was sidelined for several months after suffering a career-threatening foot injury. Holmes was a controversial figure at times in New York, clashing with quarterback Mark Sanchez and the offensive linemen during the 2011 season. Weems played the past two seasons in Chicago after spending his first five with Atlanta. He has 3,184 kickoff return yards and a touchdown and 815 punt return yards with a score to go with 26 receptions for 240 yards. Cheap Authentic Jerseys Wholesale NFL Autographed Jerseys NFL Jerseys Wholesale Cheap NFL T-shirts Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Camo Discount NFL Jerseys ' ' '