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Oilers' dynamic duo too much for Canadiens to handle in 4-3 loss – Montreal Gazette

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Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both score goals as Oilers hand Habs their first loss on Western Canada road trip.

EDMONTON — Before Saturday’s game at Rogers Place, Canadiens coach Claude Julien was asked how his team could stop the Edmonton Oilers’ dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who ranked 1-2 in the NHL scoring race.

“Same way we have with those kind of players that are on different teams,” Julien said. “We’re a team that all five guys have to be aware when they’re on the ice and know that they’re there. So it’s not a big secret. We know that if they have time and space they’re going to make something happen. So we got to play these guys tight.”

Another key part of Julien’s game plan: “Stay out of the box. I think it’s pretty obvious that they’ve got a really good power play. We’re a team that, obviously, plays fairly well five-on-five, so discipline is definitely going to be a key word here for this game tonight.”


Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers battles against Canadiens’ Nick Cousins at Rogers Place on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in Edmonton.

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Oilers coach Dave Tippett made things more difficult for the Canadiens when he decided to reunite McDavid and Draisaitl on the same line and they each scored a goal — McDavid’s was on the power play — as the Oilers beat the Canadiens 4-3. Josh Archibald and Riley Sheahan also scored for the Oilers.

Jeff Petry (short-handed), Phillip Danault (power play) and Max Domi scored for the Canadiens as they suffered their first loss in three games on this Western Canada road trip and saw their record fall to 17-13-6. The Canadiens also fell out of a playoff spot because the Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers both won Saturday to move past them in the standings. The Canadiens are now fourth in the Atlantic Division, two points behind the Leafs and one point behind the Panthers.

The Canadiens and Oilers both had 26 shots and Carey Price saw his career record against Edmonton drop to 3-8-1.

The Oilers opened the scoring only 1:30 into the game when McDavid cut to the inside at centre ice and blew past defenceman Ben Chiarot to set up a two-on-one with Draisaitl. McDavid and Draisaitl combined for a perfect play, giving Price no chance to make a save. It was a two-on-one that could be used in a teaching video for kids.

As for Chiarot, he’s not the first — or the last — defenceman McDavid will make look bad with his blazing speed.

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The Oilers went up 2-0 when Archibald scored at 11:51 of the first period on a play that started when Domi failed to clear the puck out of the Canadiens’ zone. Things went to hell in the defensive zone after that and Mike Reilly showed why he’s been a healthy scratch so often this season as Archibald tipped in a pass from in front of the net. The video from that goal could be used to show kids how not to play team defence.

Petry got the Canadiens on the board at 14:19 of the first period, scoring short-handed on an innocent shot that never should have gone in, beating Mikko Koskinen to the glove side as the Oilers goalie only got a piece of the puck.

Shoot the puck, kids.

Danault tied it up 2-2 at 8:29 of the second period when he deflected a point shot by Petry for the first power-play goal of his career.

McDavid put the Oilers up 3-2 at 15:40 of the second period when he used his speed once again to burst through the middle and made a nice move to his forehand to beat Price for his 21st goal of the season. McDavid’s goal came with Jordan Weal in the box for his second tripping penalty of the game.

Domi tied it up 3-3 at 1:09 of the third period with a nice individual effort, scoring on another shot Koskinen probably should have stopped. Petry picked up an assist, giving him a three-point night. It was the second goal in two games for Domi, after his game-winner in overtime Thursday night in Calgary.

But it was Sheahan who scored the game-winner on this night for the Oilers, completing another two-on-one with a beautiful pass from Archibald at 7:48 of the third period.

At the end of the game McDavid (21-40-61) and Draisaitl (22-38-60) remained 1-2 in the NHL scoring race.

The Canadiens knew what they were getting into against the Oilers, they just failed to follow the game plan.

The Canadiens will wrap up their Western Canada road trip Monday in Winnipeg against the Jets (8 p.m., TSN2, TSN3, RDS, TSN 690 Radio).

scowan@postmedia.com

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

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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.

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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Game 1: Score, updates, news, stats and highlights – NBA CA

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9h ago


Playoffs 2020

The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets squared off in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

After the Nuggets completed their second consecutive 3-1 comeback, taking down the Utah Jazz and LA Clippers, they were riding a ton of momentum heading into this first contest. The Lakers, who have gentlemen’s swept each of their first two opponents, were yet to win a Game 1.

The Lakers made certain this one was in the books early, registering a dominant win.

Anthony Davis finished with 37 points and 10 rebounds, while Lebron James added 15 points and 12 assists.

If you missed the live action we have you covered with live updates, highlights, stats and more from this contest.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets – Score, updates, news, stats and highlights

Final – Nuggets 114, Lakers 126

-That’s it, the clock runs out and the Lakers complete a dominant win over the Nuggets in game 1 to take a 1-0 series lead for the first time in the 2020 playoffs!

-With the Lakers leading by 20+ points the benches have cleared with three minutes to play. This one is in the books for the Lakers.

-Anthony Davis is up to 37 points as the Lakers look to close out game 1. Los Angeles lead Denver 115-93 with 6:41 to play.

-Rajon Rondo has moved into the top-10 for all-time playoff assists!

-Michael Porter Jr. finishes in transition and the Nuggets are on an 8-0 run to cut the score to 109-92. Lakers immediately call time to slow down the momentum. Porter Jr. has 11 points and five rebounds.

End of the third – Nuggets 79, Lakers 103

-It’s all Lakers to finish the thrid with Davis dominating the final minutes. He leads the Lakers with 33 points and 10 rebounds.

-Back-to-back dunks for Dwight Howard and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the Lakers lead is extended to a game-high 19 points!

-Murray is starting to cook for the Nuggets. He has 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting but Denver still can’t stop the Lakers inside and they lead 78-67 with 6:41 left in the third.

-Jokic now picks up his fourth foul off the ball fewer than 60 seconds into the quarter. Disasterous start for the Nuggets.

-We are underway in the third quarter!

-The Lakers have attempted 32 free-throws in the first half. They are physcially overwhelming the Nuggets inside and Denver will have to find a way to defend without fouling if they are to edge back into this game in the second half.

Halftime – Nuggets 59, Lakers 70

-Murray, Jokic and Millsap all have three fouls and sat out critical minutes during the second period.

-Lakers outscore the Nuggets 34-21 in the second quarter to take a double-digit lead into the half. It’s the fifth straight game Denver have trailed at halftime.

-Monte Morris with the finish at the rim but it’s the Lakers with a 65-53 lead with 1:57 until the half. LeBron and AD have combined to pour in 28 points for the Lakers.

-LeBron is now up to ten points in the second quarter and the Lakers lead is up to 15 with six minutes to go in the half!

-Huge moment in the game with Jokic picking up his third foul with 7:22 left in the half. The Lakers are on a 16-1 run to start the period and it’s danger time for the Nuggets.

-Dwight Howard checks in to the game for the Lakers as they continue to go big to try and slow down Jokic. Lakers hold a 45-39 edge with 9:24 left in the half.

-LeBron James steps on the foot of Jerami Grant driving to the basket and takes some time to get up. He is carrying a slight limp but heads to the free-throw line to take two.

End of the first – Nuggets 38, Lakers 36

-Jamal Murray gives the Nuggets the lead at the BUZZER! Huge shot from Murray ends a scoring frenzy in the first quarter…the repective defences haven’t had much of an answer thus far.

-In four games against the Lakers during the regular season Nikola Jokic averaged just 11 shot attempts per game. He’s got up nine in his first ten minute stretch of game one and has 11 points.

-Anthony Davis leads the Lakers with eight points while Jokic has six for Denver.

-Four quick points for the Lakers and Michael Malone calls time with his team trailing 21-17 with 4:23 left in the first quarter.

-It’s been all inside early for both teams, with all eight of the Nuggets points coming in the paint while the Lakers have scored 10 of their 13 in that zone.

-The Lakers take an early 13-8 edge as Jamal Murray will have two free-throws out of the timeout.

Pregame

-The Lakers move JaVale McGee back into the starting lineup for game 1.

-The Nuggets starting five is in!

-Nikola Jokic and Anthony Davis are set to duel in a pivotal matchup throughout they series. The All-Star duo are out on the floor getting loose before tip!

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Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray remembers his Kitchener roots before semi-final game – CBC.ca

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Denver Nuggets star point guard Jamal Murray reminisced about his hometown of Kitchener during a media scrum Thursday night.

He goes up against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA’s western conference final Friday at 9 p.m., but Murray says he still remembers time spent playing in and around the Stanley Park Community Centre. 

“I was out playing at the court every day, not knowing that I would be in the western conference finals at 23 years old,” he said. 

Murray noted that being from Canada has often lead people to doubt his ability and it feels good to do well on the court and prove those people wrong. 

He also had a message for any kids in Kitchener who had dreams of making it the the NBA like he did.

“I was a kid just like you guys,” he said. “Orangeville helped a lot.”

Murray initially went to high school at Grand River Collegiate Institute before transferring to Orangeville Prep, a basketball program that now attracts top tier talent from Canada and around the world.

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray gestures after hitting a 3-point basket against the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Denver. The Cavaliers won 111-103. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)

Larry Blunt served as the head coach of Orangeville Prep when Murray attended. He is now assistant coach at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. 

“Guys like Jamal are the reason why I’m where I am,” he said. “Jamal was going to be special wherever he went.”

He said Murray had a drive and love for the game that made him stand out.

“If you wanted him to stop working on his game you would have to cut the lights off at the gym, and then he would still shoot in the dark … and then if you took the balls away he would be in a pitch black gym, with the rims raised, and he would be in running sprints and working on his conditioning,” Blunt said.

“He is just relentless.”

When asked about life inside the NBA bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., Murray explained life was fairly simple.

“I’ll have practice and I’ll get some food. Then I’ll go back to my room, I’ll sleep, and then I’ll have a game, then I’ll sleep, then I’ll eat,” he said. 

Watch some of Murray’s press conference:

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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