Celtics laugh all the way to spoil Raptors' Christmas cheer – CBC.ca
Kyle Lowry dressed for the special occasion in shoes with the names of his sons Karter and Kameron.
Fred VanVleet scored 27 points while Chris Boucher added a career-high 24, but there was no late-game heroics from the Raptors in a 118-102 loss to the Boston Celtics.
“It was a special Christmas Day treat to have an opportunity to have my kids see me play on Christmas, enjoy the moment,” said Lowry, his sons roughhousing in the lockers behind him.
“It’s cool man, it’s something that took 14 years to get to. I got to it. Unsuccessful. But it was a fun, great time.”
WATCH | Raptors find coal in 1st home Christmas game ever:
Jaylen Brown scored 30 points to top the Celtics (21-7) in their fourth consecutive victory, and first win in Toronto in nine tries.
“It was good to get a win here on Christmas,” said Brown, who had five three-pointers. “I’ve never won here period, so it was great to just get one.”
Kemba Walker added 22 points, while Enes Kanter had 12 points and a game-high 11 rebounds in his first game outside the United States in more than a year.
The Raptors (21-10), who sorely missed the service of injured teammates Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring), and Norman Powell (shoulder), saw their 34-game winning streak against Atlantic Division opponents come to an end.
Ugly showing against festive backdrop
Played against a festive backdrop of fans dressed in Santa hats and ugly Christmas sweaters, the game itself was an eyesore. The Raptors botched easy layups and turned the ball over 17 times for 20 points, and were outscored 24-4 on second-chance points.
But playing three games in four nights — including a thrilling 30-point comeback victory Monday versus Dallas — the Raptors look spent.
“We’re pretty short on our roster,” said coach Nick Nurse. “We’ve played a lot minutes, these guys, a lot of games in a lot of days, the schedule hasn’t been very good to us. This is our third game in four days, one was an overtime game, one was a come-from-30-points-behind-game, where we used a lot of energy too. . . so I don’t know. Maybe we just need a little rest.”
After sprinting out to a 10-0 lead Wednesday, the Raptors played the gracious holiday host virtually the rest of the way.
The Celtics compiled an 11-point lead in the second quarter, and had stretched it to 19 points by the end of the third in a sloppy affair that saw 29 combined turnovers through the first three quarters.
And three nights after their franchise-record comeback, there were no late-game heroics. Trailing 88-69 to start the fourth, the Raptors pulled to within 14 points in the first 35 seconds, injecting some life into Scotiabank Arena’s 19,800 fans.
But Patrick McCaw missed on a cutting layup on Toronto’s next possession, prompting groans from the crowd, and barely a minute later the Celtics were up by 20.
‘Obviously it’s not good’
A VanVleet layup pulled the Raptors to within 17 with 4:46 to play, but Toronto couldn’t sustain any energy. Nor could the fans, who began heading to the exits shortly after.
How tough is it to dig out of big deficits?
“Obviously it’s not good,” Boucher said. “You get down and have to find a way to get back. We have to find a way to get started and be able to get a lead or something like that. It’s hard to come back from 15 or 20 down. I know we did it once, but that’s not something we want to have to do every game.”
The afternoon marked the first NBA game played outside the U.S. on Christmas, and tipped off a schedule of five marquee matchups on the day. Teams consider it an honour to play on Christmas; the Raptors had done it only once previously, in New York in 2001, while the Celtics were playing for their fourth consecutive Christmas game.
“I know that I’ve got contacts from all over the world that have said they can’t wait to open their presents and then watch the game, so I think it’s really cool to be a part of it,” Nurse said before the game.
The Raptors are 2-2 since losing Gasol, Powell and Siakam, and while there was no update of the threesome’s status on Wednesday, their absence is clearly posing a problem for Toronto.
“Scoring is not very easy for us right now,” Nurse said. “It’s tough.”
Kanter hadn’t played a game in Toronto in over a year after Turkey, his home country, issued an international warrant for his arrest. He received the green light for Christmas with help from the Canadian government, and arrived at the game wearing a black T-shirt with the words “Freedom for All.”
Lowry’s three-pointer just 1:53 into the game gave the Raptors a 10-0 lead and forced the Celtics to call a timeout. Boston replied with a 9-0 run and then kept the pressure on, forcing seven Toronto turnovers. The Celtics led 28-19 to start the second.
A Kanter layup 44 seconds into the second quarter put Boston up by 11. The Raptors responded with an 11-3 run to pull to within three points but couldn’t sustain any momentum, and the Celtics went into the halftime break up 55-47.
Brown led the way with 16 Celtics points in the third and a Jayson Tatum finger roll had the visitors up by 19 with a minute to play in the frame.
These two teams meet again in Boston on Saturday. The Raptors are back home to host Oklahoma City on Sunday and the Cleveland Cavaliers on New Years Eve.
Canadiens Prospect Owen Beck Clutch At Memorial Cup – Montreal Hockey Now
Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck has enjoyed a rather wild ride since the OHL playoffs started.
Not only did the Peterborough Petes, who finished the regular season with just 74 points, eliminate the league-leading Ottawa 67’s and the powerhouse London Knights to capture the OHL Championship, but thanks to their never-say-die attitude, they managed to once again avoid elimination at the Memorial Cup.
Before we get into the game details, which include a fantastic drive to the net by Beck to set up the game-winning goal, I’d like to once again take to my soapbox to discuss the entertainment value provided by Junior hockey.
I’ll keep it short, this time, I promise.
However, in exchange for not rambling at length about the unmatched excitement you’ll witness during most games, I need you to make an honest effort to catch a Junior hockey game at your local rink.
It’s easily the best bang for your hard-earned buck available when it comes to hockey.
You won’t be disappointed.
Beck Plays The Hero
The tie-break game between the Petes and the Kamloops Blazers featured everything you look for in a hockey game.
There were dramatic goals, great saves, momentum swings, big hits, and for those who partake in the sweet science, a rather nasty knock-out punch by New Jersey Devils prospect Chase Stillman.
We’ve got a fight at the #MemorialCup!
Chase Stillman obliterates Matt Seminoff with a big hit (charged), then obliterates Caedan Bankier in a fight.
Big knockout punch for the Petes forward. pic.twitter.com/2J4JnSTL6T
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 2, 2023
Despite allowing the Petes to score first, the Blazers quickly took control of the game by scoring four answered goals. As exciting as Peterborough’s Cinderella run had been, it seemed inevitable that their fun had come to an end.
They needed a little magic.
And they got it from New York Rangers prospect Brendan Othmann, who cut the lead to 4-2 thanks to a fantastic individual effort midway through the second period. Peterborough then quickly tied the game following goals from Samuel Mayer and Brian Zanetti.
New York Rangers prospect Brendan Othmann scores for the Petes after a great individual effort.
Cuts the Kamloops lead to 4-2. #MemorialCup pic.twitter.com/kvZxsnPY9X
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 2, 2023
Both teams played a very safe style of play in the third period, giving the Petes, who have now played a total of 96 games this season, an opportunity to play the underdog role to perfection once again.
And that’s where Beck, who had been quiet up to that point, took matters into his own hands.
The cerebral Canadiens prospect cut through the neutral zone, using his speed and positioning to open up a lane toward the net.
Everyone in the building expected Beck to shoot, which would have been a reasonable decision considering he was in a high-danger shooting area.
But Beck, who had drawn the attention of both Blazers defencemen, knew his teammate, JR Avon, had plenty of time and space to take a shot that had a better chance of fooling Dylan Ernst.
It was a play that combined offensive awareness, great skating, vision, and anticipation, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from an intelligent prospect such as Beck.
WHAT A GAME!#GoHabsGo prospect Owen Beck drives the net, draws the defenders, and sets up JR Avon for the game-winning goal.
Peterborough simply refused to die.
The Petes will face Jared Davidson and the Seattle Thunderbirds in the #MemorialCup semifinal. pic.twitter.com/BYpBTDuj6X
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 2, 2023
On The Docket
Beck’s heroics have set up a Canadiens prospect vs. Canadiens prospect semifinal at the Memorial Cup.
The Petes, who seem to have been blessed by hockey gods, will face Jared Davidson and the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday.
The puck drop for this must-see event is scheduled for 10 PM ET.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Treliving Hiring Shows Shanahan's Incompetence – Editor in Leaf
The problem isn’t that Brad Treliving is the newest GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but instead, it’s Brendan Shanahan’s explanation of it.
As previously mentioned, Brad Treliving is a good executive with a long hockey career, but he never should have been hired as the Toronto Maple Leafs GM.
Reports already indicate that the core-four will remain the same next year, which is fine, but why hire someone new if they’re going to do the same thing and not at least scare the roster that they could be moved?
A new GM is supposed to ignite change and bring a new approach to the game. It’s not someone who’s just going to re-do the job that Kyle Dubas just did.
When Shanahan fired Dubas, he wanted someone who had experience, which is what Treliving brings, but it’s not like he has a ton of winning experience. He’s never been to a Stanley Cup Finals before and only advanced to the second round twice in nine years in Calgary, so what’s really the difference between him and Dubas?
Nothing, at least not in terms of experience or success.
The only difference is that Shanahan is a bitter old-man who was scared that the young buck in Dubas was getting too much attention and that he might take his job one day.
Toronto Maple Leafs: New GM Brings Nothing Different From Dubas
If you look across the league, it’s crazy how much esteem Dubas has. By the way Shanahan described Dubas during his firing, it’s like he was only in the league for 10 minutes and didn’t have the respect of his peers.
Shanahan’s statement was actually hilarious when you compare his words to what other people have said about Dubas. Here’s what Shanahan said during his press conference:
“Treliving earned tremendous respect during his time in the NHL and built excellent relationships … We are confident that Brad’s leadership and strategic vision will elevate the Maple Leafs in our continued pursuit of a championship.”
As for Dubas, if you read Pierre LeBruns’ article in The Athletic last week, the same words were essentially said about him, here are some quotes from that article:
- Jarmo Kekalainen (Columbus Blue Jackets): “I have the utmost respect for Kyle, both as a professional and as a person. He’s always a straight shooter to deal with. No bulls—. Just an all-around really good person and a professional. All our discussions were straightforward and analytical. I think he has a very thorough approach to everything; you have to be prepared when you talk to him because he’s going to look at things from every angle. I have a lot of respect for him.”
- Bill Zito (Florida Panthers) : “Obviously, a very bright man. And a guy that I have a lot of faith in his character. He’s a guy you could do a deal with. And if it wasn’t papered, you could tell the (player) go ahead get on the plane. As an agent, we used to say if you did a deal with a GM and you didn’t have a contract back yet, would you send your player on the plane? That’s a level of respect I have for Kyle’s integrity. Obviously, I’m very fond of him. I think he did a hell of a job there.”
- The GMs of Nashville, Tampa and Edmonton were all quoted as saying really nice things about him as well.
All of these old-school and experienced GM’s said nothing but great things about Dubas, yet the Leafs didn’t want him. They explained all of the attributes that Shanahan wanted in a GM, yet they decided to move on and hire Treliving instead.
Shanahan took a bitter approach and gassed one of the most thoughtful and intelligent hockey minds of this generation and instead hired a guy who hasn’t doesn’t seem to be an improvement in any way.
No disrespect to Treliving because I think he’s going to do a fine job, but the explanation of Dubas’ firing gets dumber with every second and continues to show the incompetence of Shanahan as the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
How much are Stanley Cup Final tickets? – ESPN – ESPN
The Stanley Cup Final will return to Las Vegas and South Florida for the Florida Panthers vs. the Vegas Golden Knights. For fans of the Knights, who reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2018, tickets to the first two games at T-Mobile Arena are a bit cheaper this time around.
The average price for a ticket to Game 1 is $763, according to Vivid Seats data. In 2018, during the franchise’s first trip to the Final, the average was $1,062. That was the highest in recent years for a team making its Final debut or returning after a long drought. Last year’s Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche had an average price of $1,052. The Avalanche, who hosted Game 1, were playing their first Final game since 2001. When the St. Louis Blues hosted their first Final game in decades in 2019, the average was $869.
For Saturday’s opening game, the lowest-priced available ticket is going for $405 on the Knights’ website, while TickPick lists a no-view, standing room only ticket for $311. The most expensive ticket is $9,750. These prices don’t reflect taxes or fees.
For Game 3, the Panthers’ first Stanley Cup Final home game since 1996, the average price for a ticket at FLA Live Arena is $628, according to Vivid Seats. At Ticketmaster, the Panthers’ ticket-seller, the lowest-priced ticket is $538. The most expensive ticket is reselling for $9,000 before taxes and fees. The average price for Game 4 is a bit higher at $689.
If the series goes to seven games, fans might need some extra casino winnings to get into the arena. Prices via the Knights’ website range from about $900 to $25,000.
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