Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss the Paralympic spirit, a good day for King James, the future of football in Toronto and one truly ugly game at Staples Center. Bruce Arthur, The National Post: My thumb is up to the Paralympics, which began Friday in Sochi, or, more specifically to the Paralympians involved. There were calls for athlete boycotts after Russia sent troops into Ukraine the day after the Olympics ended, but an athlete boycott was a silly and callous idea; it would have no effect on the invasion except to deprive those who push the edge of human possibility from something they deserve, even in a diminished spotlight. Instead, at the opening ceremony Friday, we saw a significant political statement from Ukraine, which sent just one of its 23 athletes to march in the opening ceremony. We didnt see anything that meaningful two weeks ago; Im glad we saw it now. The Paralympics, and Paralympians, deserve whatever spotlight they get. Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to LeBron James, and not for being the best player in the NBA or for the career-high 61 points he tossed up the other night. LeBron travelled last night to Cleveland, between games and against the advice of the Miami Heat, so he could be part of the ceremony that honoured his former Cavaliers teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas. LeBron played more games with Ilgauskas as a teammate than anyone else he has played with in his 11-year career and he wanted to be there for his good friend and to see him honoured. In an NBA world in which selfishness reigns supreme, King James showed another side of himself last night. A surprisingly likable side. Dave Naylor, TSN Radio: My thumb is up to the Buffalo Bills who this week pulled the plug - at least for one year - on the Bills in Toronto series. For something that once stirred rabid debate across this country, the Bills playing in Toronto turned out to be much ado about nothing. The product was lousy, the prices too high and – oh, yes - that infamous news conference. But what also became obvious was the disconnect between Torontos sports fans and somebody elses NFL team. I dont know if there will ever be another NFL game played in Toronto, but the only way it makes sense is if one of the teams playing is Toronto. Dave Hodge, TSN: It was going to be "thumbs down" to the LA Lakers for the worst game in their history - that would be Thursdays loss by 48 points to the Clippers - but really, it should be "thumbs up" to the Lakers for their contribution to the anti-tanking movement, which seeks to change the NBAs draft lottery. Theres no proof that the Lakers tanked against the Clippers, except the scoreboard, and the 18,000 eyewitnesses at Staples Center, and the open encouragement of a "Riggin for Wiggins" campaign. The NBA needs to act, and the NHL needs to follow before next season a strategy unfolds that could be known as "Lose honor, get Connor". Vapormax Plus Womens Sale . "I have had no discussions with Chad Johnson or his representation," Popp said Friday in an email. However, he appeared to confirm a report on Twitter from TSN this week that Johnson was on Montreals negotiation list. Vapormax Flyknit Canada . The Earthquakes (6-9-7) were coming off a 5-0 loss at home last Saturday to FC Dallas. Even with the draw, the Sounders (13-7-3) climbed back into a tie for both the Western Conference and overall top spot in MLS. Seattle, West co-leader Real Salt Lake and East leader Sporting Kansas City all have 42 points. http://www.airvapormaxcanada.com/vapormax-moc-2-cheap.html. Sundays race will be held at the Sepang circuit, adjacent to Kuala Lumpurs main airport where the ill-fated flight took off earlier this month. Authorities now say it is almost certain it crashed in the Indian Ocean, killing all 239 people aboard. Vapormax Plus Sale .com) - Graeme McDowell opened up with a first- round, 5-under 67 on Thursday and he holds a 2-shot lead at the WGC - HSBC Champions. Nike Air Max 95 Just Do It Black . Granada defender Diego Mainz barged into the back of Villa to send the Spain striker to the ground inside the area and Costa stepped up to the spot to score his 12th league goal in the 38th minute. Costa showed no effects of the news that his Brazilian citizenship may be revoked after he elected to play for Spains national team, as the forward was a constant threat for Atletico and forced several saves from goalkeeper Roberto.TORONTO - With just over two minutes remaining in the first half of Mondays win over the lowly Bucks, Kyle Lowry dumped the ball into Jonas Valanciunas on the left block. Isolated against Ersan Ilyasova, Valanciunas turned to face up, took one dribble and barreled into the smaller defender, who took the charge. As Milwaukee called a timeout, Lowry followed the Raptors promising sophomore centre straight to the bench. “Know your opponent,” he implored, instructing Valanciunas to post-up when he has a size and strength advantage over the defender. The Raptors were up by 14 at the time, they would go on to win by 22 and Valanciunas would register his 12th double-double of the campaign, four more than he totalled as a rookie last season. Still, Lowry was all over the gaffe. The two have developed a mutually beneficial mentor-protégé relationship. "Hes kind of like a coach," Valanciunas said of Lowry after practice the day prior. He knows a lot, he tries to help everybody, especially me because Im the young guy." Lowry has been as tough on the young centre as anyone in the Raptors organization and as such his fingerprints can be found all over the 21-year-olds continued development. "Hes been great," coach Dwane Casey told TSN.ca, speaking of Lowry and the leadership role hes taken with Valanciunas. "He has a way of getting on him but yet still he has a relationship with him that he can talk to him that way. "Other people may not understand it but Kyles done a great job of working with Jonas, letting him know what he needs to do. [Hes] just been a great mentor to him. Thats been huge for Jonas." Both players are approaching the middle of their second season together in Toronto. Lowry was acquired in a trade from Houston in July of 2012, just around the same time Valanciunas - Torontos fifth overall pick in 2011 - had arrived from Lithuania. After missing the bulk of training camp with injuries last season, both of their Raptor careers got off to shaky starts. While Lowry struggled through injuries, fluctuating playing time and philosophical differences with the coaching staff, Valanciunas experienced the growing pains you would expect from a 20-year-old getting accustomed to his surroundings in a new country, in a new league. Valanciunas has seen his playing time increase by five minutes per night in his second season; hes regularly on the court during crucial moments at the end of games and he is becoming more of a focal point in Torontos offence. However, as both his coach and his point guard would tell you, hes far from a finished product. He continues to make nightly mistakes - with his positioning, in the pick-and-roll game, and on defence, particularly as the help man - and Lowry is usually the first person to let him hear about it. "Every time he messes up we talk about it," Lowry said. "I tell him what he did and then he fixes it and I congratulate him when he does it [right]. "I think he has the skills and he has the heart and he has the right mentality to be one of the best bigs in the league," the Raptors point guard continued. "My constructive criticism is just tough, big brother love. I think the world of him, I think he can be so good [and] tthats why I push him.dddddddddddd. Im always going to be tough on him because I know how good hes going to be." Lowry, an eight-year NBA vet, is also coming into his own, playing the best basketball of his career and spearheading the Raptors recent resurgence. "Thats just coming from buying in if you ask me," former Raptors teammate Alan Anderson said of Lowry. Most importantly - for a player that will be in the market for a new contract this summer - he is well on his way to shedding the reputation that has followed him like a dark cloud over the years. "Kyles showed hes been a positive leader," Casey said over the weekend. "I think that was the biggest question among coaches around the league, could he be a positive leader and be productive on the court." Not only has he been productive, averaging career-highs across the board, but hes been the consummate professional his team has desperately needed him to be while remaining a positive influence on his younger teammates, namely Valanciunas. Occasionally combative, Lowrys fiery nature has often been misunderstood. The reality - which his teammates and coaches have come to accept and appreciate - is, he holds himself and everyone around him to an incredibly high standard. He is a fierce competitor with an unrelenting will to win. Lowry is a strong personality, certainly not the first Casey has coached. The Raptors coach worked with future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett in Minnesota and current Nets bench boss Jason Kidd in Dallas, but Lowrys leadership style reminds him of another hard-nosed point guard from his past. "The guards that Ive had, Gary Payton was one of the [toughest]," Casey said, having coached ‘The Glove as an assistant in Seattle. "He would use some colourful words to talk with his teammates but they understood it, he had a relationship with [them], just like Kyle. Kyle reminds me so much of Gary in the fact that he can talk to players in a certain way that they understand because he has their respect and he has a relationship with them. "As long as you have that relationship and you back it up with love and real sugar than you can get on guys but I havent seen Kyle be overly tough on JV, just when he needs it and just the right amount." As Casey points out, Lowry walks a fine line between tough love and going too far, but he does it with precision. Hes hard on Valanciunas because he recognizes the young mans upside but also, and most importantly, he knows the seven-footer can take it. "Hes really receptive," Lowry said, "because I tell him, I tell him why Im so tough on him and he understands that. "He knows how to do it," said Valanciunas, who has thick skin, having played professionally in Europe since he was 15. "I understand hes my teammates, he wants me to do good and [Ive] just got to live with that." Whether or not Valanciunas realizes or fully appreciates it now, Lowry should have a long-lasting impact on his auspicious NBA career. As for Lowry, his future with the team remains uncertain but wherever he ends up, after cashing in on this seasons revival, his Raptors legacy will live on in the growth of the franchises emerging centre. ' ' '