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



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.


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.


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.


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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The Best Canadian Players Ever To Play In The NFL



When people talk about the best players in the history of the NFL, they usually talk about American players. Well, when we consider that most of the legends were from this country, this should not come as a surprise. The case is the same today. Just take a look at and you will see who the most popular individual players are and the top betting picks for football enthusiasts.

However, looking further north, we can see that there are many splendid Canadian players who graced the NFL with their talent.

Let’s take a look at the best ones who played in the league.

Nate Burleson

This ridiculously talented American-Canadian football player had a successful career in the league. He played as a wide receiver for various teams throughout his career, including the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Cleveland Browns. Burleson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the 2003 NFL Draft.


He quickly made a difference on the field, showcasing his speed, agility, and reliable hands. During his time with the Vikings, he became known for his ability to make acrobatic catches and his versatility as a receiver. In 2006, Burleson signed with the Seattle Seahawks, where he continued to excel. He played a key role in the team’s success, helping them reach the Super Bowl in the 2005 season. However, injuries limited his playing time during his tenure with the Seahawks.

In 2010, this wonderful man joined the Detroit Lions, where he had some of the best years of his career. He formed a dynamic receiving duo with Calvin Johnson, and together they became one of the most formidable wide receiver tandems in the league. Burleson’s leadership and veteran presence were also highly valued by his teammates. After his time with the Lions, Burleson signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2014.

Bronko Nagurski

This football diety wrote a delightful piece of the NFL history and he made the whole of Canada proud. He played as a fullback and defensive tackle for the Chicago Bears in the 1930s and early 1940s. Nagurski was known for his incredible strength and power on the field, earning him a reputation as one of the toughest players of his time.

During his splendid career, Nagurski helped lead the Bears to multiple championships, including the NFL Championship in 1932, 1933, and 1940. He was a dominant force on both offense and defense, known for his ability to break tackles and his hard-hitting style of play. Nagurski’s physicality and versatility made him a standout player in an era when two-way players were common.

He was later shown the heavenly doors of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. This of course, only made his legacy a legit one in this neck of the woods. What do his colleagues have to say about him? Well, most of them remember him being one of the toughest dudes to roam the green fields.

Mike Vanderjagt

This absolute legend became famous for playing as a placekicker for the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2005 and later for the Dallas Cowboys in 2006. Vanderjagt was known for his accuracy as a kicker and he has the NFL record for the most consecutive field goals made with 42. He was also the first kicker in NFL history to have a perfect season, making all of his field goal and extra point attempts in 2003.

Vanderjagt was selected to the Pro Bowl twice in his career and was a key contributor to the Colts’ success during his time with the team. Imagine having those tales to tell the kiddies on your lap when you get old.

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Jimmy Butler steals the show on NBA media day with ‘emo’ phase look following Damian Lillard’s trade to the Milwaukee Bucks



CNN — 

Whether or not Miami Heat’s golden child Jimmy Butler’s new “emo” look is just a phase, the NBA star carried it off with some aplomb, drawing plenty of laughs from his teammates.

One year on from his memorable fake dreadlocks look, the 34-year-old outdid himself by turning up at the Heat’s media day on Monday sporting a straightened fringe, piercings in his eyebrow and lips and painted black nails.

Butler said he’s now “emo” and after the summer he and the Heat have had, who can blame him?

After former Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and his agent publicly stated on numerous occasions that he would only want to play for Miami, it seemed like a matter of when, not if, the 33-year-old would end up in South Beach.


Butler led the Heat to an improbable NBA Finals appearance as the eight seed last season, so it’s easy to imagine his excitement at the prospect of Lillard’s addition to the roster pushing the team over the top and to its first title in the post-Lebron James era.

Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) gets his new hairdo brushed at the start of a TV interview, during the NBA basketball team's media day, in Miami, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

However, the Milwaukee Bucks swooped in last week with a package that blew Miami’s out of the water, meaning Lillard will now be plying his trade in Wisconsin and not Florida.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, laugh it up,” Butler said as he entered his press conference, pushing his fringe out of his eyes. “I’m emo. This is my emotional state, I’m at one with my emotions so this is what you get.”

Despite failing to acquire Lillard and losing key contributors Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, Butler remains confident ahead of the upcoming season, telling reporters the Heat are going to win it all.

If it’s good news that he’s now at one with his emotions, Butler might just also be a gifted method actor and isn’t actually going through a belated “emo” phase. The six-time All Star could be heard saying “don’t make me break character” as he entered the press conference.

Oct 2, 2023; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler poses for a photo during media day. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

His new character was certainly a hit with his teammates and had Bam Adebayo crying tears of laughter as the pair were having their photos taken for the new season – which means, yes, Butler will have this hair in official photos for the entire year.

Certainly not someone to do things by halves, Butler was fully immersed in his new state and even posted songs from emo bands on his Instagram story throughout the day.


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Finding Your Perfect Match: The Best Ways to Choose an Online Sportsbook



In the ever-expanding world of online sports betting, selecting the right sportsbook is crucial. This is to ensure an enjoyable and secure gambling experience. With numerous options available, it can be challenging to find the perfect fit. For instance, you can be looking into sites like BestOdds to find a sportsbook to go with but do not know what exactly to check.

This article will explain the basics of finding an excellent online sportsbook.

Licensing and Regulation

The first and most critical factor when choosing an online sportsbook is ensuring it operates in a legal and transparent manner. A reputable sportsbook should possess a valid license from a recognized regulatory authority. These licenses indicate that the sportsbook adheres to strict standards, including fair play, responsible gambling and financial security.

Before registering, check for the sportsbook’s licensing information. In most cases, you will find this in the footer of their website. Some of the most reputable regulatory bodies for online sports betting include the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), the Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) and the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission.


Additionally, research the sportsbook’s track record for regulatory compliance and any previous non-payment or unethical practices incidents. User reviews and industry news sources can provide valuable insights into the sportsbook’s reputation.

Odds and Betting Markets

The quality of odds and the variety of betting markets offered are key factors in determining the suitability of an online sportsbook. Competitive odds provide better potential returns for your bets, while a wide range of markets allows you to explore different betting options.

Compare odds from multiple sportsbooks to ensure you get the best bet value. Some websites and apps even offer odds comparison tools to make this process more convenient.

Moreover, consider the breadth of sports and events covered by the sportsbook. Whether you’re into mainstream sports like football, basketball, or soccer or niche sports and events, the sportsbook should offer diverse markets to cater to your preferences.

Security and Payment Options

Security is paramount when sharing personal and financial information with an online sportsbook. Look for sportsbooks that employ the latest encryption technologies, such as SSL (Secure Socket Layer), to safeguard your data. Consider factors like two-factor authentication (2FA) to enhance account security further.

Payment options are another critical aspect. Ensure the sportsbook offers convenient and secure methods for depositing and withdrawing funds. Common payment methods include credit/debit cards, bank transfers, e-wallets (like PayPal or Skrill) and cryptocurrencies (like Bitcoin). Choosing a sportsbook that supports your preferred payment method is essential to streamline your betting experience.


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