User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Horses
Boxing/MMA
Soccer
Auto
More
Betting Tools

 
Dwane Casey has surprising Raptors on a roll

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

When Masai Ujiri left the Denver Nuggets to take over basketball operations for the Toronto Raptors, many saw coach Dwane Casey's departure at the end of the season as a done deal.

Advertisement
Then Casey took a team that appeared to be rebuilding and steered it up the Eastern Conference ladder. He's helped the Raptors navigate a major midseason trade while presiding over DeMar DeRozan's development from a one-dimensional offensive threat into a multifaceted centerpiece. Casey is also establishing the defensive mindset he's been looking for since he took the reins in 2011.

With the Raptors (35-26) in third place in the East and improving as the playoffs approach, Casey isn't just making a strong case for a contract extension. He's getting mentioned as a candidate for coach of the year. Casey just shakes his head at the possibilities.

''I promise you, I'm not worried about (my) job. I'm not worried about coach of the year. None of those individual honors,'' Casey said. ''It's about the team. I preach that and I really mean that. I've been in this too long to get caught up in that. Next contract, I've never worried about a next job. That's the least of my worries.''

Casey has harped on his players to become more defensive minded, but he's also empowered them. The result is a team that is nine games over .500 for the first time since 2006-07.

''He's a great coach,'' veteran Chuck Hayes said. ''He wants our feedback. He commands the locker room, he commands the bench, he commands the huddle. But sometimes he asks for our feedback on what's comfortable for us and how we can get the job done.''

---

Here are five other things to watch in the league this week:

NOAH'S MVP PUSH: LeBron James and Kevin Durant might have some company in the MVP race. With each gutty, savvy, tremendously well-rounded performance, Chicago's Joakim Noah is shouldering his way into the conversation. Noah's latest gem came against James' Heat on Sunday, when he had 20 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks in the Bulls' victory.

GREEN LIGHT: Gerald Green looked like a lost puppy while playing for seven teams in his first seven seasons. In his first year in Phoenix, he's averaging a career-high 15.6 points per game, including 41 in a win over Oklahoma City on Thursday.

SPURS ON TOP: The Spurs beat the Magic on Sunday for their sixth straight victory, which put them at 46-16 for the season. That's right, the best record in the NBA. And they've done it just as they always have, quietly. No one looks more ready for the playoffs right now.

ROCKETS AT HEAT: Houston has been on fire, winning 14 of 16 games to surge to third in the Western Conference. With James Harden peaking offensively and Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley setting the tone on defense, the Rockets will roll into Miami on Sunday for a showdown with the champs.

TRAIL BLAZERS AT GRIZZLIES: Two contrasting styles meet when the run-and-shoot Blazers enter the Grindhouse on Tuesday. Memphis has overcome a poor start to push back into the crowded playoff picture in the West, so every home game is important.

---

STAT LINE OF THE WEEK: LeBron James, Miami Heat: 61 points, 22-33 FG, 8-10 3-pointers, seven rebounds, five assists vs. Charlotte. King James put up a career high for points against one of the best defensive teams in the league, putting everyone on notice that the MVP race isn't over yet.

---

Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2015
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
News: Second Round Predictions
News: 2nd Round Series Odds
News: Playoffs - Betting Results
Wizards rally past Hawks, 104-98
Cavs ready to take on raging Bulls
Grizzlies' Conley out for Game 1
Antetokounmpo suspended 1 game
Thunder introduce coach Billy Donovan
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NBA Pro Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NBA Hot Streaks
18-8 L26, 61% +5,414 This Year
13-3 L16, 68% +2,618 This Season
6-0 L5 Days, +2,271 This Year
5-2 Run, 10-5 L15 G-Plays, +2,210
10-3, +797 Last 8 Days
14-5 L19 G-Plays, 26-10 L36 Picks
12-3 L15 G-Plays, +2,030 This Year
17-9 Last 26 Guarantees
8-3, +622 Last 11 G-Plays
6-3 Last 9 NBA Selections
9-2 L11 Playoff Guarantees
6-1 L7, 12-5 L17 Guarantees
8-4 L12 Guaranteed Plays
5-0 L4 Days, +1,530 This Year
10-3 Record L13 G-Plays
4-2 L6 Picks, 9-1 Guarantee Run
VegasInsider.com Gold Membership
2014 NBA SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 5414
Dave Cokin + 2618
Mark Franco + 2271
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 600
Antony Dinero + 576
Brian Edwards + 490
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Dave Cokin 68 %
Stephen Nover 61 %
Kyle Hunter 58 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kevin Rogers + 2212
Dave Cokin + 2156
Stephen Nover + 2155
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 1668
Tony Stoffo + 1289
Jimmy Boyd + 1061
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 1975
Michael Black + 948
Marc Lawrence + 893
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Daily Fantasy Sager Bomb