Connect with us

Sports

NBA Playoffs 2020: Eight observations as Lakers dominate and cruise to comfortable Game 1 win over Nuggets

Published

 on

No more Game 1 losses for the Lakers.

Their 126-114 win over the Nuggets to begin the Western Conference Finals is their first Game 1 win of the 2020 playoffs and snaps a four-game skid in Game 1s leading back to the first round of the 2012 playoffs.

Their All-Stars led from the front as LeBron James finished with 15 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds while Anthony Davis also stuffed the stat sheet with 37 points, and 10 rebounds. The Lakers reserves showed up, scoring 48 points led by Dwight Howard who had 13 points.

Meanwhile, for the Nuggets, their superstars Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray only combined for 42 points on 15-of-26 shooting from the field but were battling foul trouble and couldn’t impact the game as they would have liked.

For more, here are the biggest observations from this game:

1. Superstars shine in high-scoring 1st Q duel

Lakers have had great 1st quarters in these 2020 playoffs, averaging a league-best 31.2 points. Nothing changed in this one as they raced to 36 points on 13-of-22 (59.1%) shooting from the field.

Rajon Rondo and Los Angeles’ two All-NBA players in LeBron and AD had their hands all over this period, scoring or assisting on 31 of the team’s 36 points in the first quarter. AD led the way with 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists.

 

But the young Nuggets were right up there with the Lakers. Courtesy of Jamal Murray’s buzzer-beating three, the Nuggets took a 38-36 lead at the end of the first 12 minutes.

 

Denver’s two superstars in Murray and Jokic (11 points, three rebounds, two assists) were responsible for 32 of the team’s 38 points in the period as the team shot 14-of-22 (63.6%) from the field in a quarter that saw four lead changes and six ties.

The rest of the game saw just one lead change and tie.

2. Lakers’ huge 2nd quarter

Los Angeles jumped to a 70-59 halftime lead on the back of a huge second quarter. The experienced squad outscored the Nuggets 34-21 including a 20-3 over the first 5:52 minutes of the second quarter.

James was responsible for scoring 10 of those points including a couple of thunderous slams.

 

 

During the run, Lakers shot 7-8 from the field while restricting the Nuggets to just the one field goal and forcing them into six turnovers.

3. Dwight Howard BIG early impact

After playing just 15 minutes in five games in the Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets including three DNPs, 16-year veteran Dwight Howard didn’t take long in this one to remind how impactful and valuable he is as part of the Lakers’ second unit.

 

In just seven minutes, all in the second quarter, he had five points (all FTs), two rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.

4. Nuggets early foul trouble

Part of Denver’s troubles in the second quarter was their key players battling foul trouble.

Jokic picked up his third foul with 7:22 left in the half and sat out the rest of the period. Jamal Murray, fresh of scoring six straight points after he was called for his third foul, had to be pulled with 3:53 left in the second quarter because he picked up his fourth foul.

Veteran Paul Millsap, having played just 5:29 minutes in the period, picked up his third with 3:19 left and he sat out the rest of the way.

Despite the double-digit halftime deficit, Denver should actually be credited to hang around despite all the foul trouble. They were down by 13 when Jokic went to the bench to not return and at the end of the period, they trailed by 11.

5. Howard gets the 2nd half start

His energetic second quarter earned Howard the second half start over JaVale McGee and he made an immediate impact, dunking home this alley-oop early:

 

In the third quarter, Howard made his presence felt once again finishing with eight points on a perfect 4-of-4 shooting and a +7 in 9:28 minutes.

6. Lakers late 3rd quarter charge

Both teams were trading buckets for much of the early portion of the third quarter. However, over the final 6:07 of the period, the Lakers went on a 25-12 that opened up this game and gave the Lakers a 24-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

During the run, with consecutive dimes to AD, Rondo tied and then passed Michael Jordan for 10th on the all-time playoff career assists leaderboard. He finished with seven points, nine assists, and zero turnovers in his 22 minutes on the floor.

 

In the closing seconds of the quarter, Jokic picked up his fifth foul and given the scoreline at that point, he never checked back into the game.

7. Can MPJ carry 4th Q form to Game 2?

The game was already out of hand before the final quarter began as much of the period was played with the team’s second units.

For the Lakers, JR Smith passed Kobe Bryant for ninth all-time on the leaderboard for most career 3s made in the playoffs.

 

More importantly, the period saw Michael Porter Jr. getting some key minutes. After finishing with just four points (1-6 FGs) in 16 minutes through the first three quarters, the rookie seemed to get into some rhythm in the final period.

He scored 10 (2-3 FGs; 5-6 FTs) of his 14 points in the final period and eventually, also finished with 10 rebounds and four assists for the game. Can he carry this late-game rhythm into Game 2 to provide the Nuggets with an additional option?

8. Up Next

Just like 2009, the previous conference finals matchup between the Lakers and Nuggets, Los Angeles has taken the 1-0 series lead. How will Game 2 go?

It’s scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 20th at 7:30 PM ET.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

Source: – NBA CA

Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

FOLLOW LIVE: Dodgers blowing out Rays in Game 1 – TSN

Published

 on


It all comes down to this. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays are just four wins away from a championship as they meet in Game 1 of the World Series. Clayton Kershaw makes his fifth World Series start, while Tyler Glasnow makes his Fall Classic debut. Keep up with the action all game long with TSN.ca’s Game 1 live blog.

Rays – 3

Dodgers – 8

Final


11:14pm – Pedro Baez enters the game for the Dodgers in the eighth inning and gets a 1-2-3 inning of his own. Dodgers lead 8-3 going into the bottom of the eighth.  

11:04pm – Josh Fleming gives the Rays exactly what they need with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh to hold the Dodgers at eight runs and Tampa Bay remains fives runs back with two innings to play.

10:58pm – Mike Zunino fires a 105.6 mph line drive right up the middle of the field, but Gonzalez snags it and turns to double off Brosseau at second base and escape the jam.

10:54pm – Kevin Kiermaier follows up the Brosseau single with a single of his own to score Wendle from third, the Rays now trail by five.

10:52pm – Brosseau singles on a 3-2 slider to cut the Dodgers lead to six.

10:49pm – More gamesmanship from the Rays, as Mike Brosseau will now hit for Choi.

10:46pm – Joey Wendle doubles to give the Rays a runner of second and third with one out. Ji-Man Choi enters the game to pinch hit with the Rays down seven, and the Dodgers counter with brining in lefty Victor Gonzalez.

10:40pm – Dylan Floro takes the mound for the Dodgers to start the seventh inning, meaning Clayton Kershaw‘s night is over. Kershaw finishes the night with eight strikeouts and gives up just one run on two hits.

10:32pm – Justin Turner and Max Muncy hit back-to-back doubles to extend the Dodgers lead to 8-1.

10:30pm – MOOKIE NUKE – In the fifth Mookie Betts did it with his legs, in the sixth he leads off the inning with a home run to right field.

10:26pm – The long wait between innings means nothing for Kershaw as he comes out for the sixth inning and needs just nine pitches to retire the Rays in order.

10:18pm – Los Angeles adds two more runs before Austin Barnes flies out to end the inning. The Dodgers score four in the fifth to extend their lead to five runs.

10:07pm – DODGERS CHASE GLASNOW – Will Smith singles in another run and Tyler Glasnow‘s night has come to an end. He leaves with one out in the fifth, two runners on base and trailing 4-1.

10:00pm  – MOOKIE MAGIC – Mookie Betts walks to lead off the fifth inning, steals second and third and scores from third on a ground ball hit to the first baseman. The Dodgers regain their two-run and now are up 3-1.

9:43pm – KIERMAIER GOES DEEP – Kevin Kiermaier cuts the Dodgers lead in half with a home run to right field.

9:38pm – Glasnow walked the next batter following the Bellinger home run, but limits the damage by striking out the final two batters of the inning. The Dodgers lead 2-0 heading to the fifth inning.

9:25pm – BELLI BOMB – Cody Bellinger opens the scoring with a two-run home run to right field. It’s his second in two games.

9:18pm – Another three up-three down inning for Kershaw. He now has six strikeouts after four innings and has not given up a hit since the leadoff single to start the game.

9:09pm – GLASNOW ANSWERS – Tyler Glasnow gives up a walk to Corey Seager but strikes out the side. The 26-year-old now has five strikeouts after three innings.

8:57pm – KERSHAW CRUISING- Clayton Kershaw has retired eight-straight Rays players and picks up his third and fourth strikeouts. The 32-year-old has given up just two base runners through three innings.

8:51pm – Glasnow gives up his first hit of the night, but nothing more and we’re headed to the third inning tied 0-0.

8:40pm – ABC, easy as an 1-2-3 inning for Kershaw. The southpaw needed just 11 pitches to get through his second inning of work.

8:34pm – Glasnow gives up a walk to Corey Seager and nothing more. Off to the second inning we go.

8:26pm – Just like his Kershaw, Glasnow opens his night with a first-pitch fastball for a strike.

8:23pm – Díaz leads off the game with a single and Randy Arozarena reaches on a walk, but the Rays fail to capitalize and we’re headed to the bottom of the first tied 0-0.

8:11pm – We are underway, Clayton Kershaw fires a first pitch strike to Yandy Díaz to begin the World Series.

*All times EST*


Over his six World Series appearances, Kershaw is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 26.2 innings. The southpaw has made three starts in the 2020 playoffs, picking up wins over the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres. But he struggled in his only start of the NLCS, giving up four runs in five innings to the Atlanta Braves, getting tagged with the loss.

Glasnow, 26, starts the first World Series game for the Rays since 2008. Like his counterpart, Glasnow picked up a win in the opening two rounds of the playoffs, shutting down the Toronto Blue Jays, and holding the New York Yankees to four runs through 7.1 innings. The righty was tagged with the loss in his only ALCS start when he tossed six innings, giving up eight hits and four earned runs.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Behind Ilya Mikheyev’s last-minute RFA contract with Maple Leafs – Sportsnet.ca

Published

 on


TORONTO – Fewer than 24 hours before Wednesday’s scheduled arbitration case, restricted free agent Ilya Mikheyev and the Toronto Maple Leafs found common ground Tuesday night — although it did mean a last-minute financial concession on the player’s part.

The Russian winger and the club agreed to a two-year contract worth an average annual value of $1.645 million that will see Mikheyev in blue and white through the 2021-22 season and walk him to unrestricted free agency at age 27.

“Ilya decided to step off a little bit from an already agreed number to help the team fit under the cap,” Mikheyev’s agent, Dan Milstein, told Sportsnet after tweeting news of the signing.

“For Ilya, it was less about the money, but more about the role in the organization. He wishes to win the Stanley Cup. It’s been a lifelong dream.”

Mikheyev’s two-year pact carries a $1.1 million salary in 2020-21 and $2.19 million in 2021-22.

According to Milstein, the sides had initially agreed to a cap hit slightly higher than $1.645 million.

The agent was on the phone explaining the bridge deal’s terms to Mikheyev when the Maple Leafs quickly called back requesting the forward take slightly less so they could be cap compliant for 2021’s opening night.

The Leafs and Mikheyev discussed the sophomore’s position in a winger-loaded roster “extensively” during the negotiations, which had been ongoing for weeks.

“We know what they have going. We know what the goals are. Toronto and both camps communicated very clearly,” Milstein said. “We feel very comfortable about the next season, and Ilya is very excited about the next season as well.”

The 26-year-old Mikheyev — fast a fan favourite — appeared in only 39 games as a rookie with the Maple Leafs in 2019-20, scoring eight goals and adding 15 assists.

Returning for post-season action after suffering a gruesome wrist injury in late December, Mikheyev failed to register a point during the club’s five-game playoff qualification series versus Columbus.

“He would’ve liked to help the team get past Columbus, but overall this was a good first-year experience for him,” Milstein said. “He’s adjusted. He’s adapted. And I expect him to have a better season next year.”

He elected to file for salary arbitration to buy time, and a deadline, for amicable negotiations.

Mikheyev filed for one year at $2.7 million; the Leafs requested two years at $1 million.

But, Milstein maintains, the strongest efforts on both sides have long been directed at striking a two-year pact that worked to provide Mikheyev and his family a little more certainty in uncertain times.

The player affectionately known as “Mickey” to his teammates and “Souperman” to fans stayed up to the wee hours in Russia, where he’s training, in order to sign the paperwork.

“The first season didn’t go as well as planned, due to the injury, but it was never a question of whether he was coming back or not,” Milstein said. “He stayed up through the night, and we took care of business.”

Milstein has a tight working relationship with general manager Kyle Dubas and the Maple Leafs.

The agent is quick to note that 12 of his players have been welcomed into the Toronto system over the past three years, including winger Egor Korshkov (currently on loan to Yaroslav Lokomotiv of the KHL), 2020 first-round pick Rodion Amirov and new KHL import Alexander Barabanov.

“While we were negotiating (Mikheyev’s contract) and perhaps disagreeing a little bit, I had to stop and talk to (the Leafs) about another player,” Milstein said. “We try to have good relationships with everybody, but a client comes first.”

Barabanov, 26, will join Mikheyev in trying to secure ice time from coach Sheldon Keefe in a competitive forward group that has added Wayne Simmonds, Joe Thornton, Jimmy Vesey, Joey Anderson and Travis Boyd to the mix since free agency opened.

Barabanov flew to Toronto in early September and is preparing for his first North American campaign on this side of the pond.

Make no mistake: Like Mikheyev before him, Barabanov has his sights in the NHL, not the AHL.

“I feel good about his prospects. He’s a world-class player,” Milstein said. “I’m not a coach. I’m not going to make any predictions. But I feel good about it. You can quote me on that. I feel good about it. Barabanov is an Olympic champion.

“He is a phenomenal player, and I expect him to do well here in North America.”

With Mikheyev signed, the Maple Leafs only need to reach agreements with RFAs Travis Dermott and Anderson.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs sign winger Ilya Mikheyev to two-year deal

Published

 on

TORONTO — The Maple Leafs have avoided an arbitration hearing on Wednesday with restricted free agent winger Ilya Mikheyev, settling instead on a two-year, $3.29 million contract extension Tuesday night.

Mikheyev had exercised his right for an arbitration hearing earlier this month after the Leafs extended a qualifying offer to the pending RFA but then failed to find common ground with his camp on a new extension. The 26-year-old had been looking for a one-year, $2.7 million deal from Toronto, while the Leafs initially countered with a two-year contract, averaging $1 million per season.

According to CapFriendly, the Leafs are now exceeding the NHL’s flat salary cap of $81.5 million, with RFA Travis Dermott still left to be signed. General manager Kyle Dubas said in a conference call on Sunday he was waiting for Mikheyev’s deal to be done before turning the team’s attention to Dermott. Toronto can be 10 per cent over the cap until the 2020-21 regular season begins, at a date still to be determined.

Mikheyev’s case was an especially interesting one to consider from both sides, given how the forward’s promising rookie season was cut short by a gruesome injury.

Never originally drafted by an NHL club, Mikheyev’s stock built slowly over four seasons in his native Russia with the KHL’s Omsk Avangard. By the end of his career-best 45-point campaign in 2018-19, several NHL clubs were making offers, but it was the Leafs who landed Mikheyev in May 2019 on a one-year, entry-level contract.

Starting out in a third-line role for the 2019-20 season, Mikheyev scored in his NHL debut, and put up seven points in his first 10 games. He continued to show versatility from there, able to play on either wing and hold his own in the top-six when necessary.

Mikheyev had amassed eight goals and 23 points in his first 39 games when his freshman year took a brutal turn. Facing the New Jersey Devils on Dec. 27, he suffered ligament damage when Jesper Bratt’s skate blade accidentally cut into his right wrist. The injury required surgery to repair and Mikheyev was not able to return before the NHL hit pause in March amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

He was back to full health for Toronto’s qualifying-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets in early August, but Mikheyev was ineffective and failed to register a single point through those five games, as the Leafs fell three games to two.

Despite that poor showing, Mikheyev’s speed, hockey sense and hard shot make him a valuable addition to the Leafs’ offence going forward and he projects to play in the top-six again next season.

Source:- TSN

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending