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Five thoughts recap: Toronto Raptors 110, Dallas Mavericks 107 – RaptorsHQ

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A lot of my “thoughts” over the course of a season feature things I’ve never seen before. The crooked basket from a couple of weeks ago, for example.

Well, it’s safe to say I’ve never seen anything like what we saw yesterday afternoon. Erasing a 30-point deficit? In the span of about nine minutes? I don’t even know where to start with this… well, except with eight simple words.

Don’t

If ever there was a compelling case why you don’t leave or turn off a game before it’s over, this was it. Some numbers:

  • It was 85-55 with 2:30 to go in the third.
  • It was 95-95 with 5:30 to go in the fourth.
  • A 40-10 run in nine minutes!?

Some more: The Raptors jumped out to an early 18-6 lead. They finished on a 55-22 run. In between the Mavericks outscore them 79-37. A 42-point swing!

During that 55-22 run, Kyle Lowry had 23 points. Yep, he outscored the Mavericks 23-22 in 14.5 minutes of game time!

And the Raptors had no timeouts for the final 2:30!

That’s a lot of exclamation points! But this game sure deserved them.

Ever

Would you ever have guessed that that 40-10 run was completed with Chris Boucher, Terence Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Malcolm Miller on the floor? The entire run! Undrafted rookie Terence Davis? Skinny Chris Boucher!? Constantly ineffective Malcolm Miller!?

I would not ever have believed it.

The group was led, of course, by Kyle Lowry. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a Lowry + bench unit would succeed, as he’s been leading sub-heavy units to success for years, but this? No way.

Lowry + bench units, over everything, forever and ever and ever.

Underestimate

I gave Malcolm Miller a hard time the other day, because I felt like he was squandering his opportunity to contribute with all of the injuries. He was fantastic yesterday.

Now, he didn’t score, which, considering how much scoring the Raptors did in the time he was on the floor in the second half, is kind of amazing. But he did everything else! He had a perfect swing pass to Davis for a three that cut the lead to 20, and another assist, following a steal, that led to another Davis triple.

He had another steal that, while he didn’t get the assist, eventually turned into a Rondae Hollis-Jefferson bucket, and he had three rebounds.

Most of all, he used to length and quickness to play pretty much the entire middle section of the court during the Raptors’ full-court pressure. He bothered the hell out of the Mavericks in there, and he, and that trap, were a huge part of the turnaround.

And, even though he didn’t score, he shot the ball without hesitation, which was great to see. It’s the best he’s looked all year, and I hope it’s a confidence booster going forward.

The Heart

And how about that full-court pressure. Sure, the Raptors gave up a couple of easy ones, as sometimes happens with that kind of defense. But they stuck with it, which is key, and somehow found the energy to make it work over an extended period.

And when the Mavericks did get into their half-court offense, the Raptors’ D was stifling. Boucher blocked two three-point shots! Rondae guarded Kristaps Porzingis and held him to only three attempts — and kept him off the boards on the other end.

To play that group of guys for that long, without a sub, to deliver that kind of defensive energy and to score enough to make up a 30-point deficit? And their D on the final Dallas possession? After expending all that energy coming all the way back? Amazing.

Of a Champion

What else can I say about Kyle Lowry? How about just a list of some of the incredible things he did in that 55-22 run:

  • Scored the deep three-pointer that (ahem) cut the 30-point lead to 27
  • Hit back-to-back threes to cut it to seven
  • Tossed in a floater, with the and-1 to cut it to four
  • Barrelled to to the hoop to cut it to two
  • Hit a signature PU3IT to give the Raptors a four-point lead
  • Nailed another deep bomb to push it to five
  • Delivered the game-winning assists to Chris Boucher

Kyle Lowry is an NBA champion and also the champion of my heart.

********

I don’t know how this shorthanded team is going to recover its energy in time to play the Pacers tonight, but we just have to hope some of that same heart shows up once again!

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Jeff Van Gundy, Ty Lue Emerge As Early Candidates For Clippers – RealGM.com

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Jeff Van Gundy and Ty Lue have emerged as the early favorites to become the next head coach of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Clippers parted ways with Doc Rivers on Monday.

Lue is also a candidate for the Philadelphia 76ers, Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans.

Van Gundy is a candidate for Rockets. 

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Two Canadian players are in the NBA Finals this year | Offside – Daily Hive

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And then there were two.

The NBA Finals matchup is now set, with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers taking on LeBron’s old team, the Miami Heat. The Finals tips off on Wednesday, and will include a pair of Canadians.

Heat teammates Kelly Olynyk and Kyle Alexander are both looking to lift the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time. It’s the first time ever that the NBA Finals has featured two Canadians on the same team.

A 29-year-old Kamloops product, Olynyk went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2017 with Boston, but this is his first trip to the NBA Finals. He has been a role player with the Heat during the playoffs, averaging 6.0 points and 4.1 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per game.

Milton, Ontario’s Kyle Alexander has not played in the playoffs yet and is unlikely to make an appearance as a depth player on the Heat’s roster. He’s in his first NBA season following four years at the University of Tennessee.

This is the 10th year in a row that a Canadian has been a part of a team in the Finals, with Olynyk and Alexander following in the footsteps of Chris Boucher (2019), Tristan Thompson (2015-2018), Cory Joseph (2013-2014), and Joel Anthony (2011-2014).

A total of six Canadian players have seen playing time during the NBA playoffs this year, most notably from Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray. The Kitchener product leads the NBA playoffs in total points (504), averaging 26.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game en route to the Western Conference Finals.

Canadians featured prominently on the Oklahoma City Thunder, as rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Toronto) averaged 16.3 points per game during the first round, while teammate Luguentz Dort (Montreal) averaged 12.5 points.

Khem Birch (Montreal) also played regular minutes for the Orlando Magic, while Boucher (Montreal) was used sparingly by the Toronto Raptors.

NBA Finals schedule

  • Game 1: Wed, Sep 30, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
  • Game 2: Fri, Oct 2, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
  • Game 3: Sun, Oct 4, 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT
  • Game 4: Tue, Oct 6, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
  • Game 5*: Fri, Oct 9, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT
  • Game 6*: Sun, Oct 11, 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT
  • Game 7*: Tue, Oct 13, 9 pm ET/6 pm PT

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Clippers head coach Doc Rivers out after seven seasons – Sportsnet.ca

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The Los Angeles Clippers have mutually parted ways with head coach Doc Rivers, it was announced Monday.

Rivers’ departure comes after the Clippers blew a 3–1 lead against the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the NBA playoffs, a result that stupefied many since Los Angeles had been considered one of the true contenders to win the 2020 championship.

Going all in last off-season by signing Kawhi Leonard in free agency and then trading nearly all of their future assets to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Paul George, the Clippers not only set themselves up as a title favourite on paper, but also as a win-now team with a short window to grab gold.

Both Leonard and George will once again be free agents in 2021, meaning that both this season and the next are vital opportunities for the Clippers. While the duo could certainly re-sign with the club when the time comes, there are also no guarantees in sports, and anything could happen between now and then.

In a rather flippant comment following his team’s ousting from the playoffs, George remarked that “I think internally we’ve always felt this is not a championship-or-bust year for us.”

Evidently and understandably, the Clippers’ front office did not agree.

Rivers (who was hired by the Clippers in 2013) now joins a coaching market that has a few signature names, including Mike D’Antoni (formerly with the Houston Rockets), Brett Brown (formerly with the Philadelphia 76ers), and Nate McMillan (formerly with the Indiana Pacers), and could be considered the best of the bunch. It wouldn’t seem all that likely that he’ll be a free agent for long, and has already been contacted by the New Orleans Pelicans and 76ers, according to The Undefeated‘s Marc Spears.

Known as a prolific motivator and leader, Rivers has had many notable accomplishments both on the floor and off of it throughout his coaching career, including leading the Boston Celtics to a championship in 2008 and acting as a guiding voice during the organization’s eventual removal of former owner Donald Sterling.

Among the options for potential replacements, current Clippers assistant Ty Lue and former Rockets and New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy are reportedly being considered.

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