TORONTO - The Raptors locker room was unnervingly quiet Friday evening, about how you would expect it after the implausible ending that sealed the teams fate in a double-overtime disaster. In the back corner sat an inconsolable John Salmons, the elephant in the room. Facing his locker, Salmons slouched forward in his chair, his head down in his hands and a long black towel draped over him. One by one his teammates came over to comfort him, patting him on the back and offering words of encouragement. He didnt move. He remained in that position, perfectly still for over 30 minutes. They win as a team and they lose as a team, but Salmons felt the brunt of it on this night. What seemed like a sure victory late in the second overtime period began to unravel when an exceptional player made an exceptional shot. With the Raptors up by eight, 49 seconds away from an improbable victory and season-sweep of the 50-win Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant banked in a 27-foot three-point jumper. Following another Thunder three - this one courtesy veteran assassin Derek Fisher - Salmons threw away an inbounds pass on the baseline, only to break up Durants runner and get sent to the line. With less than 10 seconds remaining, now up two, Salmons clanked both free throws, paving the way for the leagues leading scorer to do what he does best. Break hearts. "Great players make great plays," Dwane Casey said of Durant, moments after his 31-foot pull-up dagger gave the Thunder a 119-118 victory. Since coming over from Sacramento in December, Salmons has been praised for his poise and veteran savvy late in games, many of which hes helped them win. This was not his finest hour. "Hes a veteran (and) in those situations youve got to believe in him, that hes going to make those free throws," Casey said of Salmons, playing in place of Terrence Ross, who left the game with a hip contusion. "We had to go with John in that situation. Hes been one of our best defenders in that situation, but its not just one guy." The Raptors, now 1-6 in OT this season, need to close out these types of games. Salmons needs to be better down the stretch, they know it and so does he. It was three months ago, almost to this day that the Raptors pulled off their most impressive win of the season, a 104-98 victory in Oklahoma City. Coming off an OT win in Dallas a couple days prior and trailing by as many as 10 in the fourth, Toronto shocked the Thunder, who were undefeated at home at the time. "It helped kick start us going forward," Casey said of that night. "It helped our chemistry, it helped our togetherness it helped blend in the old and the new guys together." It would not have happened if not for Salmons. The 12-year vet spearheaded his new teams comeback, scoring nine points in the final quarter. After the game his teammates raved about his leadership and calming effect on the floor. Kyle Lowry gave him the game ball. Like Patrick Paterson - still out with an injured elbow - Greivis Vasquez, who was spectacular before fouling out Friday, and Chuck Hayes, Salmons fingerprints are all over the teams resurgence and that should not be forgotten, internally or externally. The Raptors proved something to themselves in OKC that night. They proved that they belonged. Three months later, clinging onto the Easts third seed and top spot in the Atlantic Division, they fell just short of proving something to everybody else. For whatever reason the franchise and its fan base has been battered by losses of the devastating variety to the point in which theyre almost immune to them. Toronto has lost 10 straight overtime games at home, an NBA record. "It does (hurt)," Casey admitted, "but we cant let it." "We cant let this game (give us a) hangover. (Its) a big learning experience for our guys. Youre playing with one of the top teams in the league, one of the top players... and you give yourself a chance to win in (double) overtime." KD the magnificent It seems impossible to fathom that Friday once started off as a slow night for Durant. The Thunder forward made just three of his 12 first-half shots but once Russell Westbrook went down in the third quarter - colliding with Lowry and spraining his surgically repaired right knee - Durant, with the help of some generous officiating, completely took over. Durant scored 51 and finished with 12 rebounds and seven assists, getting to the line 19 times and extending his streak of 25 or more points to 34 games, longest since Michael Jordans 40-game run in 1986-87. Amirs memorable game Playing in his 500th career contest, Amir Johnson nearly willed his team to victory. The Raptors forward recorded a double-double of 25 points and 12 rebounds, connecting on 12 of his 19 shots in 50 minutes of action. He also spent the bulk of the second half guarding Durant, per his own request made after Ross exited with the hip injury. "It was tough, man," he said, asked about defending the leagues leading scorer. "Hes my height, out there shooting from half court. Theres not too much you can do but double team that." "He did a great job," Casey added. "I felt for him. Hes hurt. He was all over him, draped over him. (Durant) made a tough shot. Theres nothing Amir did wrong." The stat For the first time since Jan. 13, 2013, the Raptors had four players score 20 or more points. Along with Johnson, DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 33 points, hitting all but one of his 16 free throws, while Lowry added 25 and Vasquez scored 21 off the bench. The quote "We couldnt go another overtime," Durant said. "I had to live with whatever happened. You had to get out of there. I wasnt trying to go to another overtime. I pulled up for it, it looked good when it left my hands and God guided that thing to the basket, man. That was the craziest game Ive ever been a part of." Air Force 1 Dame Norge . The fourth-year guard from Carleton University kicked off his varsity career with rookie of the year honours in 2011, before racking up three straight Mike Moser Memorial Trophies for outstanding player. Nike Juvenate Norge . He had spent 16 days on the disabled list before being activated Thursday. He was batting just .203 when he came to bat in the 11th inning on Sunday. http://www.airforce1norge.com/. The Detroit Tigers star had microfracture surgery Friday to repair the medial and lateral meniscus in his left knee. "I dont want to say it was a surprise," team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. Nike Roshe One Norge .com) - The red-hot Los Angeles Kings take aim at an eighth straight victory on Monday night as they wrap up a road trip versus the Calgary Flames. Nike Air Force 1 Salg . Cammalleri scored two goals, Corban Knight netted the winner in a shootout, and the Flames erased a two-goal deficit in the third period to beat the Stars 4-3 on Friday night.(SportsNetwork.com) - The point guard and quarterback share interesting similarities in an otherwise opposite world of sports. A point guard in basketball is often referred to as the quarterback or floor general of the hardwood. They take instructions and facilitate them among teammates with the end result a productive combination. Point guards and quarterbacks are responsible for orchestrating a winning formula in their respective sports, and the most common job requirement for each position is getting the ball into a playmakers hands. The NFL is going through another golden age of quarterbacks with Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck and a solid tier No. 2 of signal callers right behind. Its up for debate if this generation of QBs exceeds the days of Dan Marino, Joe Montana, John Elway and Warren Moon. Point guards are prosperous in the NBA and the Rajon Rondo trade piques the interest of those who deliberate over the best in basketball. Below is an unofficial, and opinionated, list of the top 10 point guards: 10. Darren Collison (Sacramento Kings) - Collison is in his first season with the Kings and is hoping to find a permanent home after stints with the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks the previous two seasons. He leads the Kings with 6.1 assists per game and is dealing with a team under new supervision with the recent firing of Mike Malone. DeMarcus Cousins is back from an illness, so Collisons job will be easier. Rudy Gay is at his disposal under Tyrone Corbins philosophy. 9. Rajon Rondo (Dallas Mavericks) - Rumored to be on the trading block for a few years, Rondo was finally shipped out of Beantown to the successful surroundings of Dallas. Not known anymore as a high-powered scorer, Rondo does possess the knack for distributing the ball. An ACL tear with Rondo may have hampered Bostons bargaining power, but the deal was done and now he has four scorers to work with in Nowitzki, Ellis, Chandler and Parsons. Rondos a solid defender and rebounder with an NBA-high 10.8 assists per game, and is joining the highest-scoring team in the league. 8. Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies) - Conley is loving the opportunity he has playing with the Grizzlies. Hes got Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol down low and is also a scorer himself with a career-high 17.6 points per game, which is second on the team. Conley doesnt slouch on defense either for Memphis, one of the top defensive units in the association. 7. Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) - Irving no longer has to carry the Cleveland torch through futility because LeBron James and Kevin Love are here to make it all better. Irving does like to get his share of shots, however, and is arguably the top scoring PG in the game. Irving has scored 20 or more points on 14 occasions this season and has dished out five or more assists in each of the past seven games. He has the dream job for now with LBJ and Love. 6. Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors) - He may resemble Bad Boy label rapper Mase, but Lowry can mix it up with anyone on the floor. Lowry was looked upon to carry the Raptors and keep them even-keeled when star guard DeMar DeRozan went down with a severe groin injury. Lowry knows how to get everyone involved and learned that at a young age. The former Villanova standout has handed out 10 or more assists five times in December and leads the team with 36 steals. Toronto is already the best in the East and Lowry deserves the credit. 5. Ty Lawson (Denver Nuggets) - A scrappy, compact ball of fire, Lawson lets the Nuggets breathe where the air doesnt come easy. Lawson, who has posted a double-double in 10 of his last 13 games, is averaging 15.4 points, a career- high 10.6 assists and 1.50 steals in almost 38 minutes a night. Lawson and Washington Wizards guard John Wall are tied for second in assists with 10.6. Lawsonn is Denvers MVP so far and if Kenneth Faried can pick up his game, maybe the Nuggets can make a run for the playoffs.dddddddddddd Lawson leads the NBA in drives to the basket, posting 15.0 ppg in that scenario, and has handed out nine or more assists over the past 18 games. He has 16 games with 10-plus assists this season. 4. Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) - One of the smoothest point guards in the better of the two conferences, Lillard is young and still has room to grow. For how difficult that may be to realize, Lillard is second on the team with 20.8 points and first in assists (6.2) and steals (1.5). Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge are making sweet music in Rip City and the dangerous tandem is about to begin a difficult stretch of games. Portlands mettle will be tested during the stretch and Lillard will be up for the challenge. Lillard is known for his 3-point prowess, another weapon the Blazers have utilized. Only four players in NBA history have more points and assists in their first two seasons (Robertson, Archibald, Iverson, James). 3a Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) - Curry was the impetus for Golden States franchise-record 16-game winning streak and some credit should deservedly be directed toward Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Marreese Speights. Curry leads all starting point guards with 23.9 points and has handed out 7.6 assists. The sharpshooting Curry has the Warriors off to a 21-3 start, the best in franchise history. Golden State has no issues playing on the road as evidenced by a 13-2 record. Thompson said about a week ago the Warriors are good without Curry, but great with him. 3b Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) - Westbrook is a dynamic scorer and facilitator, and suffered a scare early this season with a hand injury. Hes back and doing what he does best: run the floor, speed past defenders and stuff the stat sheet. Westbrook and the Thunder are beginning to click, but the quick guard may have to deal without Kevin Durant again after the reigning NBA MVP sustained an ankle injury in the most recent game. OKC is 8-4 with Westbrook in the lineup and he has scored at least 20 points 11 times. KD, Westbrook, Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka should capture a fifth or sixth seed in the playoffs unless health becomes an issue again. 2. John Wall (Washington Wizards) - This is supposed to be the year the Wizards overthrow the Miami Heat in both the Southeast Division and Eastern Conference. Toronto, Atlanta and Cleveland may have something to say about that in the East. Wall leads the Wizards in points (17.8), assists (10.6) and steals (2.2), and just matched a career-high with 17 assists in a win over Minnesota. Wall has handed out 10-plus assists eight times in the past nine games and has stepped it up in home defense, posting 18.7 points, 11.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds at the Verizon Center. Wall, Bradley Beal and Marcin Gortat are primed to make a big run if all goes well. 1. Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) - Whats not to like about CP3? Nothing. The guy can do it all: pass the rock, score the rock and land clients an affordable State Farm Insurance rate. Of course the latter was a reference to the companys popular insurance ads, but Paul is ensuring the success rate of the Los Angeles Clippers for years to come. Its quite elementary for Paul, who has it easy with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan to loft the ball to. Jamal Crawford providing a lift off the bench helps, too. Paul is a strong defender with 1.9 steals per game to go along with 9.7 assists, and is the cream of the NBA crop of point guards. Honorable mention - Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague, Deron Williams, Kemba Walker, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings, Trey Burke, Mario Chalmers, Eric Bledsoe. Note: Injuries to Rose and Rubio have altered this list significantly. ' ' '