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Quick Reaction: Bulls 118, Raptors 95 – Raptors Republic

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A. Baynes17 MIN, 6 PTS, 5 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-7 FG, 2-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 0 TO, -1 +/-

I was under the impression that Australia’s national sport was Cricket, but after Aaron Baynes’ performance on Sunday, I had to confirm with Google that it wasn’t missing layups. Baynes was the beneficiary of several passes presented to him on a silver platter this evening, but wasn’t able to convert on most of them. He’s shown flashes of promise in a reserve role, but performances like tonight’s make it abundantly clear that Aaron Baynes is not a starting center in the NBA.

K. Lowry36 MIN, 20 PTS, 5 REB, 8 AST, 1 STL, 6-17 FG, 2-8 3FG, 6-6 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -15 +/-

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Kyle Lowry was the Raptors most important player in this game – and it wasn’t close. Aside from Norm, he was really the only Raptor who was able to consistently generate scoring opportunities for himself and others. Kyle ignited a team that was in desperate need of a spark, but he needed more help.

T. Davis22 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 0 STL, 2-9 FG, 2-6 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -22 +/-

Fun fact: Terrence Davis has averaged more points on the second half of back to back’s this season vs all other games he’s played in. He didn’t necessarily keep that peculiar trend alive on Sunday, going 2-9 on the night.

S. Johnson14 MIN, 2 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

Stanimal was one of several Raptors bench bench players who failed to step up to the plate on Sunday evening. His perimeter defense was solid, but given the lack offense on the court, it was hard to keep him out there.

N. Powell37 MIN, 32 PTS, 4 REB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 13-22 FG, 3-11 3FG, 3-5 FT, 1 BLK, 4 TO, -23 +/-

Powell started slow, but he was relied upon for scoring so much in this game, that things eventually started to click. He ended up being the Raptors saving grace, keeping them in this game during several stretches when the wheels nearly came off. When Lowry went to the bench, Powell was the heart of the Raps offense, and did an excellent job of igniting a spark on that side of the ball.

P. Watson27 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 1-4 FG, 0-3 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 1 +/-

For a guy who played 27 minutes, you’d hope to have more to show for it than 3-2-2. The eye test also did Watson Jr. no favours in this game, as he seldom seemed eager to get involved on offense. He could often be found hanging out in the corners with his arms down.

C. Boucher26 MIN, 17 PTS, 4 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 7-12 FG, 1-5 3FG, 2-4 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, -14 +/-

Struggled to deal with the size of Wendell Carter Jr. and Lauri Markkanen on the defensive side of the ball tonight. He hit a couple catapult threes and did some good lanky stuff around the rim, but his shorthanded team needed more from him on a night on which they were in desperate need of buckets.

H. Ellenson20 MIN, 6 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 1-5 FG, 1-4 3FG, 3-4 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -10 +/-

Ellenson took advantage of the opportunity presented to him tonight. He played a modest 20 minutes, but he made several plays on both sides of the ball that really made you notice him out there. His patience on offense paid off, allowing him to create opportunities for himself off shot fakes and dribble drives toward the rim.

D. Bembry15 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 0-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -7 +/-

Bembry struggled to convert a host of looks around the rim and struggled to generate offense as the stand in point guard when Lowry went to the bench. Energy feeds his game and he looked noticeably gassed from last nights game in Charlotte.

M. Thomas9 MIN, 3 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-3 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -8 +/-

Typical Matt Thomas game, a couple good looking 3’s that almost went in, and sub par defense.

Y. Watanabe7 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 0-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

As soon as he checked into the game Yuta started positively contributing to winning basketball. He contested a Markkanen dunk at the rim and made an excellent backdoor cut. But then he went to the bench and we didn’t see him for the rest of the night, so what do I know?

Nick Nurse

There were definitely some things Nurse and Co. could have improved upon, but it’s hard to blame this one on the coaching staff. Fatigue and personnel were the root cause of most of the Raptors’ woes this evening.

Things We Saw

  1. Slow starts have plagued this team all season, and tonight proved to be no exception. Toronto opened the game a step slow on defence and shot 24% from the field in the first frame, which made battling back to even a tall task for the rest of the game.
  2. The Toronto Raptors are on a 5 game losing streak. Thats the longest streak of losses the team has endured in 5 seasons.

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Motor racing-Canadian Grand Prix cancelled for second year

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(Reuters) -The Canadian Grand Prix scheduled for June 13 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has been cancelled for the second year in a row, CBC Radio reported on Thursday although Formula One said discussions remained ongoing.

With the spread of new COVID-19 variants and Canada battling to contain a third wave of the virus, Montreal public health authorities concluded that even if run behind closed doors without spectators the risks were too high, reported the CBC.

F1 officials, according to the CBC, wanted to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine for the hundreds of staff, crew members and drivers and rely on private medical staff and have the entire operation run in a bubble.

The race is scheduled to follow on immediately from Azerbaijan, whose grand prix is scheduled for June 6 in Baku and is due to go ahead after also being cancelled last year.

“We are continuing our discussions with the promoter in Canada and have no further comment,” an F1 spokesperson told Reuters.

The Autosport website quoted a spokesperson for the Canadian promoter as saying the radio report referred to “a document of recommendations from public health.

“We as an organisation have not had confirmation from our public health officials and won’t comment until we get an official confirmation.”

Canada, with some of the world’s toughest travel rules, obliges its citizens and residents arriving from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days.

International arrivals are required to quarantine for up to three days in a hotel.

One of Canada‘s biggest sporting events, it would mark the second consecutive year the grand prix has been removed from the F1 schedule due to the spread of COVID-19.

Media reports have suggested Turkey is on standby to be slotted in as Canada‘s replacement.

The Istanbul circuit is logistically convenient for freight coming from Baku and was brought in last year also at short notice to bolster a calendar ravaged by the pandemic.

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto/Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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Boston Bruins Add Offense With Solid Taylor Hall Trade – Boston Hockey Now

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The Boston Bruins clearly understood they had serious deficiencies on their NHL roster this season and credit them for going and doing something about it.

The B’s finished off their Sunday night fireworks ahead of the NHL trade deadline by sending a second round pick and Anders Bjork to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for top-6 winger Taylor Hall and bottom-6 forward Curtis Lazar. TSN’s Darren Dreger, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and ESPN’s John Buccigross were the first to report about the completed deal between the Bruins and Buffalo Sabres in the hours following the B’s getting stomped by the Washington Capitals, 8-1, at TD Garden.

The Buffalo Sabres retained half of the $8 million salary that Hall signed for prior to the start of the 2021 hockey season.

The 29-year-old Hall is having a terrible season in Buffalo with just two goals and 19 points in 37 games along with a minus-21 rating after he chose to sign a one-year deal with the Sabres during the offseason. But he brings legitimate offensive talent as a former No. 1 overall pick and Hart Trophy winner to a Boston Bruins team that’s ranked in the bottom third of the NHL offensively all season.

The Bruins were one of the suitors for Hall prior to him choosing the Sabres months ago, and now they get him for a deep discount while keeping their own first round picks after making their deadline deals.

Holding onto their own first round pick was a priority for Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney after spending first rounders at the deadline in two of the last three deadlines in trades for damaged goods Rick Nash and Ondrej Kase.

The 26-year-old Lazar has five goals and 11 points in 33 games as a bottom-6 forward for the Sabres this season and is signed for $800,000 for next season. It seemed clear that something was going on with the 24-year-old Anders Bjork over the last couple of weeks as he was a healthy scratch for five straight games, including Sunday night against Washington, and heads to Buffalo hoping to further develop a game built on speed and skill level that hasn’t translated into offense as of yet.

Hall should fit right into the top-6 with the Bruins as a skilled winger for playmaking center David Krejci, but it remains to be seen how he’s going to fit as another left winger on a team with Nick Ritchie and Jake DeBrusk.

Either Ritchie or DeBrusk is going to have to play the off wing with a Krejci/Hall combo, but that’s a problem that Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy will gladly figure out after being forced to piece together lineups all season due to injuries and offensive inconsistency. With the acquisition of Hall, Lazar and left-handed defenseman Mike Reilly on Sunday night, it would appear the Boston Bruins are largely done with deals ahead of Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

Interestingly enough, the Boston Bruins are set to play the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

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Drouin must return to mentality that’s led to success this season – Sportsnet.ca

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It was something Dominique Ducharme said after his Montreal Canadiens played an abysmal game against the Ottawa Senators last week, something that only truly resonated after they lost 3-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday — a game that emboldened the struggle Jonathan Drouin’s currently enduring.

“Ninety per cent of the mistakes we made were mental, and the rest of it was above our shoulders.” the coach said after the 6-3 loss to Ottawa last Saturday, somewhat channelling New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra with this bit of wit and wisdom.

It was hard not to think of those words watching Drouin play the way he did on Wednesday. For much of this season, the talented left winger has played a primary role in Montreal’s success. He’s led them with 19 assists, been tenacious on the forecheck, physically engaged all over the ice, cerebral as always in his execution and, as he’s said on several occasions, relatively unconcerned by whether or not his name has been featured on the scoresheet.

But it seemed clear, after watching Drouin dump a breakaway into Jack Campbell’s chest with one of 32 shots the Maple Leafs goaltender turned aside to set a franchise record with his 10th consecutive win, he had diverted from that. And that affected the way he played the rest of the game.

It was Drouin’s fifth in a row without a point, his 18th without a goal, and he’d have to be a robot not to be suffering the mental wear of not seeing the puck go in more than twice since the season started, the torment of seeing only three per cent of his shots hit the back of the net through 36 games after 10 per cent of them resulted in goals through the first 348 games of his career.

“It is weighing on me where, when I have a chance and miss the goal, I might be trying to score too much,” Drouin said. “It’s something I obviously think about — every player would — and I’ve just gotta put it past me and just keep shooting pucks.”

Ideally, the 26-year-old wouldn’t be thinking about any of this. These are thoughts that weigh a player down and right now the Canadiens are in tough without Brendan Gallagher for the rest of the season and Drouin needs to be light and free to help account for that loss. And in order for him to do that, he needs to focus on what he does best.

Because the reality is that even though Drouin can score more, scoring isn’t what he needs to do in order to be at his best and really help this team.

“When his feet are moving and he’s making plays, Drou’s a pass-first guy,” explained Jake Allen, who made 29 saves in Carey Price’s absence. “When his feet are moving, his head’s always in it. When his feet are moving, he’s controlling the play, controlling the puck. He’s a guy who really can control the play for a whole line. You want the puck on that guy’s stick and let the other guys do the dirty work and he’ll find them.”

But when Drouin’s feet aren’t moving, there just isn’t enough of that other stuff happening.

When Drouin’s feet weren’t moving, he lost a battle for the puck in the offensive zone and allowed the NHL’s leading goal scorer to start the rush that resulted in the winning play of Wednesday’s game.

Auston Matthews to Mitch Marner, back to Matthews, off Allen and slammed into Montreal’s net by Zach Hyman with 9:39 remaining in the third period, with Drouin watching from just inside his own blue line.

“You give a 3-on-2 to the Matthews line and it’s the kind of play they’re going to make you pay on,” said Ducharme.

Was Drouin still thinking about that shot he didn’t bury in the second period?

It’s understandable if he was, but those are the kind of thoughts he needs to shake right now.

“He wants to do well, and I’m sure it’s getting a little bit in his head,” said Ducharme. “I think the best remedy for him is to be scoring that goal or making that big play, and I think he’s going to be energized by that and less thinking, more acting.

“It is a fine line. Those kind of thoughts is not something that you want to happen. But when you receive that puck and you see the opening and stuff, (the slump) comes back to (your mind). That’s why the mental part of the game is something that’s very tricky. It’s not his will to be thinking that way. Every player who’s going through a time like that will have that thought and scoring that goal will take him to a different level. At those kind of times you need to make it even simpler and being even more inside going at the net and finding a garbage (goal) right there and you put it in and sometimes you go on a little run. It might be that kind of goal that he needs to get that monkey off his back.”

It’s the kind of goal Corey Perry scored twice to give the Canadiens a chance in this game.

But Drouin isn’t Perry, who rightly pointed out after the game he’s made a career of scoring goals that way. And even if Drouin can borrow from what Perry does next time he has a chance like the one Brett Kulak set him up with for that breakaway, there are other ways he can positively impact the game.

You can appreciate that Drouin said he’s putting pressure on himself to score more and help make up for the goals the team will be missing with Gallagher sidelined, but that might not get him to where he needs to be mentally to contribute as much as he already has this season.

What would, though, is a sharp turn towards the mentality he described just days ago. The one that’s enabled him to be a much more consistent player this season than he has in seasons past.

“When I was younger, I’d stay on one game or stay on one play for too long and wouldn’t be able to let it go for a bit or a couple of days,” Drouin said. “But I think for me now it’s can I look at myself in the mirror after a game and did I give my good effort? Was I a part of this game? Was I doing something right in a lot of areas?

“That’s what I do now. I think points are there, goals are there, assists are there, but it’s just about playing that real game and playing to help your team win.”

Drouin’s done a lot of that this season and has a chance to get right back to it when the Winnipeg Jets visit the Bell Centre Thursday.

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