BOSTON — The Toronto Raptors didn’t need any speeches. That loss on Christmas was sticking in their minds the last few days.
Kyle Lowry scored 30 points, Serge Ibaka had 20 and the Raptors beat Boston 113-97 on Saturday night, snapping the Celtics’ five-game winning streak.
Patrick McCaw and Fred VanVleet each added 18 points for Toronto, which avenged the loss on Christmas and sent Boston to just its second loss in 15 games at home this season.
“I think it was internal. It didn’t sit well with me on Christmas Day,” McCaw said. “We definitely didn’t give it our best effort and I think tonight guys took it personally. It wasn’t talked about. Guys just went out and gave it their all.”
Kemba Walker led the Celtics with 30 points, and Jaylen Brown had 17 after getting consecutive 30-point games for the first time in his career. Brown had a career-high 34 in a win over Cleveland on Friday.
“We beat those guys two times already (this season), and obviously a few days ago on Christmas,” Walker said. “They definitely remembered that, of course. But those are the defending champs. They’ve got a target on their back, you know? They’re the team to beat. They came in like they were the defending champs tonight.”
Playing their first game since losing by 16 to the Celtics on Wednesday — the first NBA game in Canada on Christmas — the Raptors never trailed in breaking a two-game losing streak.
“I think we just wanted to go out there and kind of compete a little better than we did on Christmas,” Lowry said.
Toronto was without two of its top four scorers due to injuries — Pascal Siakam (groin) and Norman Powell (left shoulder subluxation). Siakam leads the team with 25.1 points per game, and Powell is averaging 14.4.
They also were missing centre Marc Gasol (left hamstring). All three were injured in the same game, a Dec. 18 win at Detroit.
The Celtics had used a 10-0 spree to slice a 13-point deficit down to 70-67 midway into the third quarter, but the Raptors — like they did all night when Boston made a charge — answered with a quick 8-0 spurt that was highlighted by consecutive 3s from McCaw and VanVleet.
“Toronto just raised their level of intensity and we weren’t ready to handle it,” Brown said.
The Raptors also had a 12-point lead cut to five late in the third.
Toronto led by 10 after the third and Boston never threatened in the fourth.
McCaw’s 3-pointer made it 109-92.
Raptors: It was the fifth straight game that the trio of Siakam, Powell and Gasol was sidelined. … They shot 71.4 % (15 of 21) in the opening quarter and led by 11 at the break. … Toronto’s loss on Christmas was the first either team had won on the road in 13 tries.
Celtics: Guard Marcus Smart returned after missing eight games with an eye infection that spread to both eyes. He hadn’t played since Dec. 6 and got a loud ovation when he entered midway into the opening quarter. He scored seven points in 23 minutes.
Smart hit a 3 from the top of the key at the horn at the end of the first quarter and Walker hit one from the top closing the second.
Raptors coach Nick Nurse talked about his team’s struggles without some key players the last few games.
“We’ve had some up-and-down moments,” he said. “I think that’s been the hardest part of it — consistency. We’ve seen it even in the same games. We’ve looked awesome in eight or 10 minutes and then we look like we can’t do anything right in three or four minutes.”
THAT’S NEWS TO ME
When Boston coach Brad Stevens was asked about his team being the NBA’s top rebounding club for the month, he paused and said: “Us? Shocker.”
He didn’t have an explanation for the statistic.
“I don’t know, the ball’s bounced our way, I guess,’’ he said. We haven’t changed anything on either side of the floor.”
Raptors: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night.
Celtics: At the Charlotte Hornets on New Year’s Eve afternoon.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
The last Battle of Alberta was in 1991. Here's how Calgary is different — and how it remains the same – CBC.ca
It was a shot that bounced off a pad, sailing past Calgary Flames goaltender Mike Vernon, that brought the 1991 dream to an end.
It was, of course, impossible to know it would end that way. A little more than a month prior, on March 4, 1991, Vernon was in the middle of outdueling Montreal Canadiens goaltender Patrick Roy.
That same night, a still relatively unknown grunge trio known as Nirvana (possibly undersold on the poster only as being “from Seattle”) would play its first show in Calgary at the Westward Club, months before they would release Smells Like Teen Spirit and reach superstardom.
At that time, Catherine Ford was a columnist based at the Calgary Herald, trying to kick her smoking habit and consequently running into serious nicotine withdrawals.
“Let me put it this way,” Ford said. “Not that I remember a lot of the 1990s, but 1991 was a particularly, shall we say, efficacious year.”
Efficacious — productive and constructive — not just because Ford would eventually go on to dump her cigarettes, but also because she began to see the signs of a city in transition.
She watched as the city became one that was more culturally diverse, one that saw booms (and busts) and transformations in its downtown, a city that saw its homogenous political landscape begin to gradually evolve into something more complicated.
Still, headlines from the Calgary Herald from that year demonstrate that while some things change, others seem more familiar to the Calgary of today.
Take Ald. Barb Scott’s efforts in the Jan. 21, 1991, edition to convert empty buildings in downtown Calgary to housing in order to serve the city’s needy.
Or, a story from the Feb. 1 edition, which reported on high prices at the pump brought on by an ongoing conflict in the Persian Gulf.
In June 1991, Al Duerr was the mayor of the city, pushing back against a “fat cat” image of Calgary and worried about the spectre of federal cuts.
WATCH | Legendary Calgary goaltender Mike Vernon on the Battle of Alberta
The city had seen more than 4,300 Calgarians laid off in the previous six months, with NovAtel, Canada Packers and other energy companies among those axing positions.
However, Calgary’s unemployment rate was well below the national average. It had gained hundreds of new residents after TransCanada PipeLines Ltd. relocated to the city.
The concern, in Duerr’s eyes, was the federal government eyeing Calgary for cuts based on its “resilient spirit,” bouncing back even though the peak of the oil boom in the late 1970s appeared to be only in the rear-view mirror.
Today, Duerr sees many similarities between that period of time and the Calgary of today — and where the Battle of Alberta fits into it.
“Back in 1991, we were struggling. We’re struggling now, we’re coming out of a very difficult period,” Duerr said. “The Battle of Alberta gave us that opportunity to refocus.”
It was in that context that Alberta’s two hockey teams were set to clash in the first round, both organizations fresh off recent championship wins: the Calgary Flames in 1989, the Edmonton Oilers the very next year.
Doug Dirks, the former host of CBC’s The Homestretch, was in Calgary in 1991 doing a daily nationally-syndicated radio feature called the Faceoff Circle.
“There was so much excitement in the city. They were coming off of the 1989 Stanley Cup win and everybody thought that it was going to be a dynasty for the ages,” said Dirks, who became a full-time sports anchor and reporter for CBC in 1993.
The day before the puck dropped for Game 7 in Calgary at what was then called the Olympic Saddledome, 2,100 tickets went on sale in the morning, selling out in 50 minutes.
That Battle of Alberta went a full seven games and ended in heartbreak for the Flames faithful courtesy of the stick of Esa Tikkanen. He found the back of the net three times, with his overtime goal sealing the series for Oil Country, four games to three.
“There is no way to soft-pedal the Flames’ 5-4 loss. They choked, plain and simple,” wrote Calgary Herald sportswriter Eric Duhatschek in a post-mortem.
Four days later, at precisely 3 p.m., Ford put out her last cigarette. The Flames would go on to see a playoff drought, not winning another series until 2004.
At the Westward
Though fans went home dejected that night, Calgary’s future at that time seemed bright in other ways, especially if you weren’t a member of the Flames faithful.
To non-sports fans like Arif Ansari, who likely was at the Westward Club or the Republik Nightclub the night the team got the boot, 1991 was a time when the alternative music scene started to blossom, when there was excitement in the air.
Some early 1990s nights reached legendary status for Ansari, like when American heavy metal band GWAR played at the Westward Club and fans experienced first-hand the band’s schtick of spraying fake blood all over the audience.
“So there’s great stories of people coming home after that show, covered in all this fake blood and walking like a horde of zombies down 17th Avenue,” said Ansari, who runs the Calgary Cassette Preservation Society and is a local music archivist.
Some believed at that time that culturally Calgary could have become the next Seattle, said Mike Bell, the publisher of the Calgary-based monthly arts and culture publication The Scene.
“There was an excitement about music, about arts,” Bell said.
“People were spending money, people were going to theatre. People were wanting to get out, and artists here didn’t feel like they had to leave. Things were actually happening in Calgary.”
Tonight, the Flames and the Oilers will meet again in a renewed Battle of Alberta. Instead of Theoren Fleury and Tikkanen, this year’s matchup will be headlined by young superstars Johnny Gaudreau and Connor McDavid.
Since the 1991 matchup, Calgary has gone from Duerr, to Dave Bronconnier, to Naheed Nenshi, to Jyoti Gondek.
It’s gone from oil boom, to oil bust, to oil boom again, though this time with heightened urgency as to what comes next — both for the economy and for the climate.
It’s now home to more than 1.3 million residents, up from 750,000 in 1991 (and that’s not to mention bedroom communities like Chestermere, Alta., which has grown to more than 20,000, compared with 900 in 1991).
Ford, who has written thousands of columns about Calgary and Alberta, said she’ll continue to defend the place she calls home, no matter what comes next, even if talking about what makes it home can seem cliché — the big, blue wide sky, the mountains, the unpredictable weather that keeps residents on their toes.
“It’s all those intangibles that make you love something. That’s like asking me why I love my husband. Do I love him because he’s tall and handsome and good looking?” she said.
“No, none of those things. I love him because of who he is. I love this city because of what it is, and what it represents to all of us.”
Game 1 of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs between the Flames and the Oilers kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary.
Video Poker and Its Difference from The Regular Poker Played at Casino
Poker is one of the most popular games to play at casinos and is enjoyed by millions of players all over the world. One of the reasons why poker is so popular is because of all the different varieties that can be played. The most common version of poker is Texas Hold ‘Em, but you can also play five-card draw, stud poker, casino hold ‘em and video poker. Video poker is a unique version of the game that can be described as a combination of poker and slots. It’s different from regular poker in that it isn’t played against other players and because the payouts depend on the hand.
While it’s usually played in person with real cards, it can also be played online. Poker sites that offer online games have become more popular than ever, and a growing number of people are now choosing to play online. Casumo is an online casino in Canada that offers lots of exciting poker games, including regular poker and video poker. Below are some of the key differences between regular poker and video poker.
For most people, video poker is a lot easier to play than regular poker. While they share a lot of similarities, the main difference is probably that video poker is easier to understand. In regular poker, you’re playing against other players, and you need to understand the strategy to get ahead. Choosing whether to fold, raise or call can be challenging, and there’s a lot more pressure when you’re sitting at a table playing against real players.
When you play video poker, you simply press the button on the screen or the terminal to deal. You then choose which cards to keep and which to swap and try to create the best poker hand. The game plays in the same way as five-card draw, only it’s all electronic. That means there’s no waiting for other players or deciding on the correct strategy.
In poker, payouts can vary quite a lot, as they’ll depend on how much each player adds to the pot. Different tables will have different big and small blind amounts, and these will also change later on in the game. For tournaments, buy-ins can vary quite a bit. Sometimes, they’re free to enter, while others will cost thousands of dollars for a single entry. On the other hand, video poker displays its payouts on the pay-table, showing just how much, you can win.
Unlike regular poker, where you win the pot by beating the other players, the payout in video poker is determined by your hand. If you have Jacks or better, you’ll win the lowest amount, while a royal flush will win the highest. For most video poker games, the royal flush awards a huge payout of 800x your stake. One thing to note is that for some games, the higher payout is only available for maximum stake bets. So, if you’re betting less than the maximum, it could be lower than 800x.
In regular poker, you need to wait for each player to choose an action before you can make yours. If you’re playing online, there’s normally a time to speed things up, but it’s still time that you’ll be sitting and waiting around. This isn’t the case with video poker, where the cards are instantly dealt to you when you press the button. There’s no waiting for a dealer to shuffle or any other players to make their decision because there aren’t any. As soon as you press the button, you’ll see your cards appear and can plan out whether you want to keep them or draw new ones.
Families of Flight PS752 victims call for cancellation of soccer match with Iran – CBC News
Families who lost loved ones in the destruction of Flight PS752 are demanding that Canada Soccer abandon its plan to host Iran for a men’s soccer friendly next month in Vancouver.
The families call the planned match a slap in the face and say they want the federal government to refuse to grant visas to Iranian soccer players and those travelling with the team.
“They have no understanding, they have no sympathy, they have no hearts, in my opinion, Canada Soccer,” said Hamed Esmaeilion, spokesperson for the association representing families. His wife and 9-year-old daughter died on the flight.
“I feel betrayed by the organization and betrayed by the government … This is a way to normalize the relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It’s called sports-washing.”
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down the Ukrainian jetliner with a pair of surface-to-air missiles shortly after takeoff in Tehran in 2020, killing all 176 people onboard, including 85 Canadians and permanent residents.
Iran has blamed a series of human errors for the downing of the commercial plane. Canada’s own forensic analysis found that the IRGC’s “recklessness, incompetence, and wanton disregard for human life” was to blame.
A UN special rapporteur went further, accusing Iranian authorities of multiple violations of human rights and international law in the lead-up to the missile attack and its aftermath.
The families say this soccer match opens up the border to the IRGC and they wonder whether Iranian intelligence agents will travel with the team to Canada.
Kambiz Foroohar, a journalist and strategic consultant focusing on Iran, has written that in recent decades most sports clubs in Iran have been “taken over by political or security-military organizations, with former Revolutionary guards holding the top positions.”
“Because of football’s popularity, there is significant involvement by regime insiders,” he wrote on the Middle East Institute’s website.
‘It wasn’t a very good idea’ — Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told CBC News that arranging the game was not a good idea and that Canada Soccer needs to explain itself. Asked whether the federal government might refuse to grant visas to the visiting Iranian team, Trudeau did not answer.
“This was a choice by [Canada Soccer],” Trudeau told a press conference in St. John’s. “I think it wasn’t a very good idea to invite the Iranian soccer team here to Canada, but that’s something the organizer’s going to have to explain.”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said in a statement that it could not comment on any specific visa requests “without written consent” due to privacy rules. It said that all visitors are “carefully screened” before coming into Canada and can be considered inadmissible for violating human or international rights, or if there are security concerns.
WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reacts to news of soccer match with Iran
On Tuesday, Canada Soccer issued a statement defending the decision to stage the match in Canada.
“At Canada Soccer, we believe in the power of sport and its ability to bring people from different backgrounds and political beliefs together for a common purpose,” said the statement.
“Iran is one of 32 participating member associations at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Canada Soccer continues to follow all international protocols in staging this match. We are focused on preparations for our Men’s National Team to compete on the world stage.”
The destruction of Flight PS752 isn’t the only source of questions about the planned June 5 soccer match at B.C. Place Stadium.
Discrimination against women at soccer matches
FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, ordered Iran in 2019 to allow women to access its stadiums without any restrictions. Iran promised to end its roughly 40-year ban and changed the rules on paper.
But Human Rights Watch reported that Iranian authorities stopped dozens of women on March 29 from entering a soccer stadium to watch a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying match between Iran and Lebanon.
A video on social media appears to show women in front of the stadium alleging pepper spray was used to disperse them after they already had purchased tickets to the game in the city of Mashhad.
The Iranian Football Federation later issued a statement saying that, “due to a lack of preparation,” they couldn’t accommodate women at the game and that fraudulent tickets were given out by fans.
Iranian soccer fan Sahar Khodayari, nicknamed Blue Girl, died after setting herself on fire outside a court in Tehran in 2019. Khodayari had been charged after trying to enter a stadium dressed as a man.
‘My daughter Reera loved soccer’
Esmaeilion questions why a Canadian government that takes pains to present itself as feminist would want to have anything to do with this team.
“This government claims they are a defender of women’s rights,” he said. “They invite Iranian football federation here. They have no respect for women’s rights.”
His wife Parisa Eghbalian and 9-year-old daughter Reera Esmaeilion died on Flight PS752. Reera played for the Richmond Hill Soccer Club.
“My daughter Reera loved soccer and played the sport every week,” he said. “My memory of her love for this game makes this situation even more confusing and difficult to process.”
He said there’s a double-standard at work in the soccer realm that encourages countries to sanction Russia through sports, but not Iran.
Victims’ families have written letters to Canada Soccer and Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly. The families say they have not received a response yet. They’re also calling on Canadian players to push back against the game.
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