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LOS ANGELES - The Raptors will be at the edge of the NBA spotlight Sunday evening, whether they like it or not. Basketball fans around the globe will be watching as Kobe Bryant makes his season debut - 240 days after tearing his left Achilles - against Toronto, a team he has used as his own personal punching bag. Bryant announced his return in a video posted on his Facebook page Friday afternoon and the game, which airs at 9:30pm et on TSN2, will also be picked up by NBA TV in the US. All eyes will be locked on the Lakers future Hall-of-Famer, all except the Raptors coach, who would rather avoid becoming a sideshow in the Bryant circus that is sure to consume Staples Center on Sunday. "Everybodys going to be watching Kobe come back but Im totally concerned about the Toronto Raptors," said Dwane Casey, hoping to put an end to his teams five-game skid. "No disrespect to Kobe, hes one of our greats in the game, we need him in the game, but for us Im worried about the Toronto Raptors, our physical disposition, our approach, our toughness." Whether he cares to admit it, the Lakers did Casey and Torontos coaching staff a favour by making their announcement public Friday rather than keeping Bryants status under wraps until game day. As the home team - with an assist from the NBA - shamelessly builds the hype for Bryants return, the visitors are trying desperately to dodge it. "Weve got to go out there and play hard regardless, [even] if we werent on TV, if we were just playing in front of five people," said California-native DeMar DeRozan after practicing at the Clippers training center in LA Saturday afternoon. A match-up with the struggling Raptors is a fitting return for Bryant, who has torched Toronto throughout his 17-year career. Bryant is averaging 28.3 points in 29 games against the Raptors, his second highest average against any opponent, inflated by his infamous 81-point performance. Bryant has only lost to Toronto at Staples once, back in 2001, and the Raptors havent defeated the Lakers in LA since. Now the question is: How will the 35-year-old fare coming off major surgery, after an eight-month layoff? "Me, knowing him, he wouldnt come back if he didnt think he could play at a dominant level," DeRozan insisted. "I think its mixed emotion for everybody. Everybodys just eager to see how hell be. Everybody always tries to doubt him in some way and he always seems to prove people wrong. So its just another test for him, well see how he bounces back." Bryant should see limited playing time in his first game back, roughly 20-30 minutes of action per Lakers coach Mike DAntoni. Although working one of the all-time greats back into your lineup isnt a bad problem to have, DAntoni hopes it wont disrupt the chemistry thats been built over the teams first 19 games. "Theyve been moving the basketball well, [doing] a lot of things [DAntoni was] doing in New York with the same sets, same things he was doing in Phoenix," Casey said of the 10-9 Lakers. "A lot of pick-and-rolls, the ball was humming, moving and I assume theyre going to do the same thing with [Bryant] coming back. We just have to be prepared." With Bryant hurt, Steve Nash out of the lineup - hes already been ruled out for Sundays game - and Dwight Howard in Houston, these Lakers have looked more like a vintage DAntoni team than last seasons incarnation ever did. This team has played at the NBAs third quickest pace, making more three-point shots per game than any other in the league. Now how do they integrate Bryant? The Raptors - in full out "we need to worry about ourselves"-mode Saturday - are navigating through an identity crisis of their own. Opponents have shot over 45 per cent in each game during their losing streak and have exceeded 100 points in four of the five contests. Their latest defeat, a 106-97 loss in Phoenix Friday, exposed a lack of toughness on both ends of the floor. "Weve gotten away from that for whatever reason," Casey said after his team was out-rebounded 53-36 by the Suns, including an 18-11 disparity on the offensive glass. "Were not the hit first team that we were." To make matters worse, Toronto may be without its most physical player on Sunday after Tyler Hansbrough sprained his left shoulder against the Suns. The Raptors forward underwent an MRI in LA Saturday morning and the team is awaiting the results before determining his status. Playing on the big stage, with the focus surrounding the other team and its best player, the Raptors have an opportunity to spoil the party and prove themselves in front of a large audience. "Weve got to get out of this slump," DeRozan said. "We understand it doesnt feel good, its a bad feeling and weve got to turn it around." Youth Seahawks Jerseys . Yoenis Cespedes proved he can play through a hurting right heel, giving Scott Kazmir and the As a spark with a pair of RBIs that helped spoil the Minnesota Twins home opener with an 8-3 victory on Monday. Throwback Seahawks Jerseys .Y. - Alex Rodriguez paid $305,000 for evidence that could be used in the case involving the Biogenesis of America drug clinic, the Daily News reported Saturday. http://www.officialseahawksnflauthenticshop.com/. Sharper briefly appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court, where his arraignment was postponed until Feb. 20 at the request of his lawyers. They issued a statement saying he would be exonerated. Prosecutors then filed a motion to increase Sharpers bail to $10 million and outlined details of investigations involving him in Las Vegas, Tempe, Ariz. Cheap Seahawks Jerseys . Its Wu-Tang and Outkast in the final. Now, we all know youve played the role of Andre 3000 in the past, does that mean Outkast is getting your vote?AJ: You know it, you know it. Rasheem Green Stitched Jersey .Derrick Rose scored 23 points, and the Bulls pulled away from the Nets for a 105-80 victory on Wednesday night. Chicago held Brooklyn to 29 points on 26.TORONTO - Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert rejoins the Canada fold after a years absence for a soccer friendly against Panama on Nov. 18 in Panama City. But rising FC Dallas star Tesho Akindele declined his invitation.Teibert is one of 12 MLS players in coach Benito Floros 23-man squad. The players will assemble Sunday at a camp in Orlando, Fla., before heading to Panama on Nov. 16 in advance of the game at Estadio Rommel Fernandez.Panama is ranked 56th in the world, compared to No. 122 for Canada.Its another important game for us because we need to continue improving our tactical play and we are going to play against a very good team that has an experienced coach (Hernan Dario Gomez), Floro said in a statement. Its a very good, organized team on the pitch with a good tactical sense both in attack and defence.The Canadian Soccer Association said Akindele initially agreed to join the Canadian camp but then withdrew. The organization did not say why. Dallas plays at Seattle on Monday in the return leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal.Floro spoke to the Dallas coach Oscar Pareja in September, with the two agreeing to let the player stay with his MLS club to continue getting playing time with the knowledge that the Canadian staff was following his progress, a CSA spokesman said.Akindele was born in Calgary to a Canadian mother and Nigerian father and lived in Canada — with stops in Toronto and Winnipeg — until he was eight. His father, a financial analyst who also has Canadian citizenship, moved the family to Colorado for work.The 22-year-old Akindele, who scored seven goals during the MLS regular season, is reportedly in the process of obtaining his U.S. citizenship although spokesmen for FC Dallas and U.S. Soccer were not sure whether he had got it already.Teibert, 21, was last summoned a year by Floro for games against the Czech Republic and Slovenia. He came on in the 60th minute on Nov. 15 againstt the Czechs, winning his seventh cap.ddddddddddddThe Canadian men lost 1-0 to third-ranked Colombia last time out. Canada ended a 16-game winless streak in September with a 3-1 win over Jamaica in Toronto.Floros team tied Bulgaria and Moldova earlier in 2014.The Canadian coach said the game in Panama will challenge his players.We are going to play away in their stadium against another good team but its good for us because we need to test our level in these situations, said Floro. We need to focus on continuing improving our pressing and to increase our attack because in the last game (against Colombia), our attack was not as good as we can do.Floros squad includes veterans Atiba Hutchinson, Julian de Guzman, Dwayne De Rosario, Lars Hirschfeld and Patrice Bernier.But there is also plenty of youth in Bryce Alderson, Kyle Bekker, Ashtone Morgan, Karl W. Ouimette, Jonathan Osorio and Maxim Tissot.Its the first senior call-up for Tissot, a defender with the Montreal Impact.---CANADAGatekeepers: Milan Borjan, Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria); Lars Hirschfeld, Valerenga (Norway); Kenny Stamatopoulos, AIK (Sweden).Defenders: Nana Attakora, D.C. United (MLS); David Edgar, Birmingham City (England); Doneil Henry, Toronto FC (MLS); Nik Ledgerwood, Energie Cottbus (Germany); Ashtone Morgan, Toronto FC (MLS); Karl W. Ouimette, Montreal Impact (MLS); Maxim Tissot, Montreal Impact.Midfielders: Bryce Alderson, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS); Kyle Bekker, Toronto FC (MLS); Patrice Bernier, Montreal Impact (MLS); Julian de Guzman, unattached; Atiba Hutchinson, Besiktas (Turkey); Issey Nakajima-Farran, Montreal Impact (MLS); Jonathan Osorio, Toronto FC (MLS); Adam Straith, unattached; Daniel Stanese, FC Augsburg II (Germany); Russell Teibert, Vancouver Whitecaps (MLS).Forwards: Dwayne De Rosario, Toronto FC (MLS); Marcus Haber, Crewe Alexandra (England); Tosaint Ricketts, Hapoel Haifa (Israel). Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter Cheap Cowboys Jerseys Cheap Giants Jerseys Cheap Eagles Jerseys Cheap Redskins Jerseys Cheap Falcons Jerseys Cheap Panthers Jerseys Cheap Saints Jerseys Cheap Buccaneers Jerseys Cheap Cardinals Jerseys Cheap 49ers Jerseys Cheap Seahawks Jerseys Cheap Rams Jerseys Cheap Bears Jerseys Cheap Lions Jerseys Cheap Packers Jerseys Cheap Vikings Jerseys ' ' '

 

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