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TORONTO - Kyle Lowry is playing the best basketball of his eight-year career and it couldnt have come at a better time for the Raptors point guard, his team or its general manager. [url=http://www.pacersteamofficial.com/monta-ellis-pacers-jersey/]Monta Ellis Jersey[/url] .   Coming into camp in the best shape of his life, ahead of a contract season for the 27-year-old, Lowry seemed determined to change the league-wide perception of him following a disappointing 2012-13 campaign.   In the process he has raised his expected market value while fuelling the Raptors resurgence, dating back to the trade of his best friend, Rudy Gay.   "Hes playing at the highest level I have seen," Dwane Casey said after Lowrys season-high 32 points led Toronto past the Knicks, 115-110 Saturday, sweeping a weekend home-and-home set with New York. "He is playing with such force and such confidence.   "Thats him, man," said DeMar DeRozan, who added 20 points in the victory. "He could do that every night if he really wanted to, scoring-wise. We feed off him, thats our point guard, we look to him in late-game situations and he always comes through."   DeRozan was effusive in his praise of his teammate.   "I think this is the best Ive seen him play, ever since he was in Houston and had that tremendous year,” DeRozan continued. “We need that from him and hes been bringing it every night and thats why weve been winning."   Lowry flirted with a triple-double against the undermanned Knicks, matching his season-high of 11 assists to go along with eight boards. In his second year with the Raptors, Lowry has recorded at least six dimes in 20 consecutive games, including the last 10 without his good friend Gay.   Since Gay was traded earlier in the month, the Raptors have won seven of 10 games, exceeding 20 assists in eight of them. Despite the distractions that accompanied that trade and the subsequent rumours surrounding his future with the team, Lowry has been a pro.   "With all the trade rumours and all the bull thats going around, hes been positive and upbeat and a leader from that standpoint," credited Casey. "He could have gone in a shell and kind of isolated himself from everybody else but hes dived in and been positive about it, so Im happy for him and proud of him for handling himself that way."   For Lowry, it seems like a no-brainer. Hes auditioning for potential suitors - should general manager Masai Ujiri find an offer that catches his eye - hes playing for a new contract in the offseason and, most importantly, hes too competitive, too prideful to sulk.   "What do you want me to do?" he asked rhetorically. "Its my job, its a business. Be mad? It is what it is to me. Im really not worried about it."   After a fourth-quarter comeback sealed a victory in New York on Friday, the Raptors carried their momentum over in front of a sold-out Air Canada Centre crowd 24 hours later. They took an early lead and never relinquished it, despite a late push from the visitors, playing without Carmelo Anthony - the leagues second-leading scorer - for the second straight night.   As the Knicks made their final run, to no avail, frustrated big man Tyson Chandler got tangled up with Raptors centre Jonas Valanciunas. It was Lowry who stepped in to defend his young teammate and prevent any altercation.    "Im not a vocal leader, Im more of an action leader," said Lowry, who has scored 20 or more in four of the last five games. "Weve got a bunch of guys in this locker room who are soldiers and troupers and theyre going to follow whoevers leading them on the court."   With a pair of wins over the Knicks, the Raptors extended their lead in the Atlantic Division to a full game over Boston, four over Brooklyn and five ahead of New York and Philadelphia.    Taking advantage of a weak conference and an injury-plagued division, the Raptors are moving the ball, playing hard on defence and carrying themselves with more confidence than they have in the three-year Casey era.   One of the biggest beneficiaries has been sophomore guard Terrence Ross.   Ross made a career-best seven three point shots on 11 attempts, scoring 23 points in just under 32 minutes on Saturday.   "T-Ross is firing that ball and nobody is even second guessing him when he fires it," Lowry said of his teammate. "Tonight, he was 7-of-11 and, if he went 1-for-11, we would still tell him to shoot the ball. I think he knows that we all have confidence in him and thats playing a big part in the way hes playing."   "Hes just playing confident," DeRozan added. "I tell him, ‘Dont go out there second guessing yourself. You have the ability to do anything on that court, you jump higher than everybody on that court, youre a great shooter, you could do so much just use it and dont worry about messing up so much. Thats what hes doing."   The Raptors will rest up on Sunday before traveling to Chicago for a meeting with the Bulls on New Years Eve. [url=http://www.pacersteamofficial.com/c-j-miles-pacers-jersey/]C.J. Miles Pacers Jersey[/url] . The alley-oop looked easy -- just like everything else after halftime for the Miami Heat. James scored 32 points, Wade added 22 points and eight assists, and the Heat trailed by 11 early in the second half before running away to a 107-88 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night. [url=http://www.pacersteamofficial.com/thaddeus-young-pacers-jersey/]Thaddeus Young Jersey[/url] . It was my fifth straight year attending and, as always, there are many interesting matters discussed as it pertains to the use of statistics in sports. [url=http://www.pacersteamofficial.com/aaron-brooks-pacers-jersey/]http://www.pacersteamofficial.com/aaron-brooks-pacers-jersey/[/url] . With their coach gone, they finally played offence the way he would have wanted. Amare Stoudemire made all seven shots in the first half, Anthony passed and shot well, and the Knicks shook off the surprising departure of their coach to rout the Portland Trail Blazers 121-79 on Wednesday night, snapping a six-game losing streak.DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Denny Hamlin won a race of attrition Saturday night, beating just seven other cars to the finish of the exhibition Sprint Unlimited. Only eight cars were running at the end of the 75-lap showcase at Daytona International Speedway on a bizarre night that saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. end girlfriend Danica Patricks race and the Chevrolet pace car catch fire. "When you think youve seen it all, then you see that. Its never-ending," second-place finisher Brad Keselowski said about the pace car fire. "I thought it was race car. Someone said it was the pace car, and I couldnt help but start laughing." It was Hamlin who got the last laugh, winning the opening race of Speedweeks for the second time in his career. The victory proved that Hamlin has finally fully recovered from the fractured vertebra that cost him five races last season and caused him to struggle for months after his return. But he closed out the year with a victory -- his only win of 2013 -- in the season finale, and made that momentum last over the off-season. "The best car won, thats for sure," he said. "Were two in a row now." The third and final segment was a 20-lap sprint to the finish, and it had the second fewest number of drivers taking the checkered flag in event history. Only seven drivers finished the 1981 race. Hamlin charged to the front right before he took the white flag by diving to the inside and sailing past the few cars on the track. He then drove away in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. "That was survival of the fittest for sure," said Hamlin, also the winner as a rookie in 2006. "With three to go, we were at the tail end of a very small pack. Its really hard to get runs, but this car was phenomenal. You saw it those last couple of laps." This years race had a heavy fan involvement as sponsor Sprint allowed fans to vote for various aspects of the race. Among them was the starting order, how the segments were split aand how the cars lined up in the final segment. [url=http://www.pacersteamofficial.com/]Cheap Indiana Pacers Jerseys[/url]. But it was mostly for naught as half the 18-car field was knocked out six laps into the second segment when Matt Kenseth cut across the front of Joey Logano. It triggered a nine-car accident on the frontstretch -- including Stenhouses dramatic late hit into the side of Patricks car. "I got hit by my boyfriend. What a bummer," Patrick said. Stenhouse took blame for ending Patricks race. He had difficulty seeing in front of him because his hood was badly crumpled when he hit the back of Kurt Busch. "I just drilled her," Stenhouse said. "I didnt see anything from the time it started to the time it ended. Talking to Danica, I drilled her when she was pretty much sitting still. I couldnt see, couldnt turn." The accident left debris and mangled sheet metal all over the frontstretch and brought the race to a stop for just over 11 minutes. It ended the night for Tony Stewart, who was racing for the first time since he broke his right leg in an August sprint car crash, and teammates Patrick and Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick, driving the fourth Stewart-Haas Racing entry in the field, seemed to have a Chevrolet capable of contending for the win but suffered serious damage that dropped him well off the pace. Stewart said he felt physically fine after the hard hit, which left his car turned nose-first into the wall. Jeff Gordons car was stuck behind Stewarts with its rear wheels raised by the front of Buschs car. "I was a little nervous ... but it doesnt feel bad at all," Stewart said. "I dont have any pain. Well see when the adrenaline wears off. But so far, everything feels really good. Im pretty happy with it." Kenseth, whose changing of lanes triggered the accident, said he had no idea Logano was on his inside when he moved. "Honestly, I had no idea anybody was inside of me," Kenseth said. 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