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TORONTO - Sitting in the home of assistant coach Bill Bayno one February evening, Jon
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TORONTO - Sitting in the home of assistant coach Bill Bayno one February evening, Jonas Valanciunas fretted over the slump that had befallen him. "Im not scoring," the young centre griped, as he and his most devoted mentor watched film, hoping to get to the bottom of the recent on-court funk that was beginning to wear on his confidence. JV, youre 21-years-old," Bayno responded. "Theres no centres in the league your age that are even playing much less averaging 10 points a game. Youve had great games [but] when you have a two-point game, going up against a really good, tough [centre], you cant get upset about it." His message, the teams message, has never wavered. "Youve got to do the other things to help us win." With that in mind Bayno put pen to paper, drawing up a list of attainable goals for Valanciunas, a cheat sheet consisting of basic fundamentals that can now be found taped to the right side of his locker. Outwork, outrun, sprint[Set] great, legal screensStep to [your] manBlock out And it goes on like that. "He got really down on himself when he went through that tough stretch," Bayno explained. "So we just really sat down and talked and [I] said, look, its no secret, JV, these are the things youve got to do." "Youre going to have some ups and downs," he told the second-year pro, "but Im going to write it in your locker, so every day before the game you see, this is what you have to do on a nightly basis." "Everything thats on that sheet is what we work on." Its a simplistic tool but one that the Raptors first-year assistant feels strongly about, one that has yielded proven results throughout his coaching career. Admired for his innovative player development techniques and his passion for molding young talent, Bayno first adopted this method of teaching on one of his regular trips to Africa, about a decade ago. There he met Michael Scholl. The two would become good friends and Bayno eventually hired Scholl as his assistant at Loyola Marymount University in 2008. Scholl - who spent eight years in Africa running an AIDS prevention campaign and implementing youth basketball leagues - introduced Bayno to an old Harvard study, something he used himself to motivate the children he taught there. The study correlated the success of students with writing down their goals and displaying them in their dorms. Bayno, like Scholl before him, applied that principle to basketball. "Having those goals, having them written out where they see them every day I think is huge and its been proven," said Bayno, who is also planning on employing that strategy with the Raptors other sophomore, Terrence Ross. "The vets dont need it. The vets will laugh at you if you try to do it. They really dont need it anyway. I could say to Chuck (Hayes), remember five games ago, you had that kick out situation, you missed a kick out. Hell say, yep, and hell know exactly the play. But the young kids need it." Bayno has spent more one-on-one time with Valanciunas than anyone on the staff this season. Whether hes sparring with JV in the post - wearing his trademark forearm pads to simulate in-game physicality - throwing out-of-reach passes to him in practice or hosting him at his house for an extra film session, Baynos fingerprints are all over the sophomores continued development. "He works with me a lot actually," Valanciunas said of Bayno. "Hes helped me a lot, especially on the post-up moves. Now I feel much more comfortable going against those guys, like big centres. What were working on every day is helping." Bayno, like head coach Dwane Casey and the rest of the Raptors staff, has worked to manage Valanciunas own expectations and lesson the external pressure that he faces as an emerging star in the league. Theyre not overly concerned with his scoring totals or the number of touches he gets in the post. He shouldnt be either. They know his value, at least this season, cant be measured using a box score. Instead they hope to lay down a foundation for the future. His role is to do the things he can control, to master the basic fundamentals of the game that will ensure his longevity in the league. The "little things" as Bayno calls them. "Were a good team because hes accepted his role and hes done all the little things," said Bayno, formally an assistant in Portland and with the Timberwolves. "I really believe hes going to be a good scorer in this league." "Im not expecting a lot of point production every night out of him," echoed Casey. "If he gives it to us, its great but I dont want to put that kind of pressure on him. Hes growing, hes a second-year guy. Im not going to expect him to get 23 points, 24 points every night. If he does, its gravy. If he runs the floor, rebounds, plays defence, for this team, this year, thats great. I promise you, his offence is going to come. We all want it to hurry up and get here yesterday but Im more concerned about him picking up the speed of the game, the rebounding, defending the low post, defending his position and reacting in the half-court game. His career is going to be long enough. Hes going to be a scorer in this league two or three years from now." A month ago at this time Valanciunas was pressing. The touches were not there every night, his scoring numbers dipped, as did his playing time. More often than not Casey would opt for a smaller, more experienced lineup late in games. Valanciunas was frustrated. Then the card went up in his locker. He sees it nearly each day, before and after every home game. Currently, hes playing some of the best basketball of his young career. Whether his improved play is related or a happy coincidence, he has been carrying out the very tasks Casey and company have been emphasizing. In Sundays win over Atlanta, Valanciunas recorded his team-leading 19th double-double of the season after totaling eight as a rookie a year ago. He played 33 minutes, attempting just four shots while matching a career-high with nine made free throws. His impact on the game was understated, yet significant. His point production has gone up but, as Casey points out, hes not necessarily seeing more touches. Instead hes working for them. Hes running the floor, hes rebounding, hes getting to the line and as a result hes playing more and closing out games. He understands how his bread is buttered, at least for the time being. "Im not a scoring machine," Valanciunas acknowledged. "Im a worker. My job is to get a rebound, to set a screen to make DeMar (DeRozan) open, or Kyle (Lowry) open, or [Ross] open, whoever is playing on the perimeter. My job is to box out [and] go for offensive rebounds. Thats my job." In less than four weeks, Valanciunas will make his first playoff appearance. Although hes peaking at the right time of season, the internal expectations havent changed. Outwork your man, set hard screens, box out, run the floor, do the little things. Hes heard them every day since arriving in training camp five months ago. Hes practiced them. Only now, handwritten in bright, unmistakable lettering, they stare him in the face. Dwayne Haskins Redskins Jersey . Ryan Getzlaf certainly got them started in the second. Getzlaf scored the first two goals in the second, and Teemu Selanne scored the go-ahead goal late in the period as the Anaheim Ducks beat the Nashville Predators 4-3 Thursday night. Russ Grimm Womens Jersey . Raonic, the mens No. 8 seed from Thornhill, Ont., needed more than three hours to overcome Frenchman Gilles Simon 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 and become the first Canadian man into the fourth round at Roland Garros. http://www.redskinsrookiestore.com/Redsk...-Jersey/.Y. -- Syracuses streak lives on -- barely. Sonny Jurgensen Youth Jersey . According to a report from ESPN, Lynch wants a new contract from the Seahawks, and will likely skip all off-season workouts until he can renegotiate his deal with the Seahawks. Bryce Love Redskins Jersey .Mihajlovic was sent off minutes from the end of Thursdays 2-0 win over Brescia and has been punished for using a disrespectful expression toward the fourth official and throwing the contents of a bottle of water at him, thus assuming an intimidating attitude.LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The Clippers have been playing with big leads in their last two games and not blowing them.They cruised past the Dallas Mavericks 120-100 Saturday for their sixth win in eight games and second in a row, getting a boost of confidence from their ability to impose their will, just as they did in beating the Lakers by 25 points.Were playing a lot more instinctively, running and getting rebounds, said Chris Paul, who had 17 points and 13 assists. Even if other teams score, were pushing the pace. Thats a really good team we beat and proved what were capable of.Blake Griffin scored 22 points, Jamal Crawford added 19 points, Matt Barnes 18, J.J. Redick 16, and DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 15 rebounds in the Clippers eighth win in their last 11 games against the Mavericks.I dont know what it says, but I like it, Los Angeles coach Doc Rivers said. Offensively, we never turned it off. We played downhill the entire game.Dirk Nowitzki scored 25 points and Monta Ellis had 15 of his 23 in the first half for Dallas, which had its three-game road winning streak snapped. Rajon Rondo was held to two points and eight assists in 27 minutes after going scoreless in the first half.I got into the paint when I wanted to and made some plays, but I wasnt able to finish as good as Im used to, Rondo said. Ive been working on my shot and my touch around the rim. I missed a couple that I can make in my sleep.Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was ejected midway through the third after picking up his second technical for arguing a foul on Tyson Chandler.I obviously disagreed with some calls and it led to that, Carlisle said. Whether or not it was really merited is something thats got to be discussed in another discussion.The game was officiated by two referees after 63-year-old Joe Crawford left in the second quarter with a right knee injury. Rivers helped Crawford to the Clippers bench before the veteran ref walked off under his own power.I instructed our guys you can get away with more now. Only four eyes on you, Rivers joked.Rondo saw Crawfords departure as a turning point after the Clippers closed out the first half strongly.We just lost our composure a little bit and got into it with the refs, Rondo said. But I wouldnt blame it on the refs at all.Nowitzki agreed, saying, Theres tons of plays and a lot of stuff happening out there. I actually thought those two guys did a good job. We sure cant hang this one on the refs. We talk about it all the time that we have to keep our poise, especiallly in a tough environment on the road.ddddddddddddJamal Crawford hammered the Mavs from long distance in the fourth, making three 3-pointers sandwiched around one by Jordan Farmar before Dallas pulled the last of its starters. The Clippers made 13 3-pointers, three over their average coming in, which is a team record for most treys at this point of the season.The Mavs had won six of their previous seven but they narrowly avoided their worst loss of the season when reserves Dwight Powell and Charlie Villanueva made some late 3-pointers.The last six games between the teams had been decided by seven points or less, but the Clippers put the game away in the third when they built a 20-point lead. They opened on a 15-2 spurt, including the first nine points of the quarter, to go up 70-50. Griffin had six and fed Jordan for an alley-oop dunk.Dallas answered by outscoring the Clippers 16-8 to pull to 78-66 on nine points by Nowitzki. Carlisle got ejected during that spurt.TIP-INSMavericks: They lost back-to-back games for the third time this season. ... It was Carlisles first ejection of the season. ... Ellis was the only Mavs player in double figures in the first half.Clippers: C Spencer Hawes basket to open the fourth gave him 5,000 points in his 528th career game. His uncle Steve Hawes reached that mark in 520 games. ... Griffin had 27 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals in under 31 minutes against the Lakers on Wednesday, making him one of three players since 1963-64 to reach those totals in that time or less, joining Paul Pierce and Russell Westbrook.TARPLEY REMEMBEREDRivers said what he would remember most about the late Roy Tarpley was how great he could have been. The former Mavericks centre whose NBA career was cut short by drug abuse died Friday at 50.Sad in a lot of ways, said Rivers, whose own playing career intersected with Tarpleys. I remember when he was healthy and straight, the Mavs were the best team in the NBA with Mark Aguirre and Derek Harper for that little stretch. When he went off, they struggled.Carlisle was another contemporary of Tarpleys.Tarpley was a great young player in the league and hes one of the better players in Mavericks history, Carlisle said. He was good on the inside and he was powerful. Back then, guys like him werent shooting threes, but he was shooting 18-foot shots very well and he was probably an early prototype of what was to come.UP NEXTMavericks: At Sacramento on Tuesday night.Clippers: Host Miami on Sunday. 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