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Quick Reaction: Raptors 99, Rockets 117 – Raptors Republic



Red or blue pill?

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TOR Raptors 99 Final
Box Score
117 HOU Rockets

P. Siakam35 MIN, 21 PTS, 10 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 9-18 FG, 1-3 3FG, 2-3 FT, 1 BLK, 2 TO, -14 +/-

Was in a battle with Tate that took a physical toll on him. Tate was taking it on as a personal challenge and Siakam responded individually with a decent stat-line and his usually reliable defense. Then he also had to deal with Woods at times who was having a game. But the overall impact on the game in time of need felt low, and this entire game was a time of need. He doesn’t look bothered enough by the losing sometimes – if he’s the one we’re passing the mantle to, there’s lots of learning to be done and we’re low on vets once Lowry leaves.

N. Powell35 MIN, 19 PTS, 2 REB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 8-18 FG, 1-8 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -23 +/-

He’s taking the shots others are passing up which is just fine by him as he enters his contract year. He’s by far the most aggressive on offense and gets rewarded for it. He’s probably overplaying his role because a great Raptors team doesn’t have Norm as the primary threat. There’s an imbalance that is reflected when he’s scoring that high.

K. Lowry36 MIN, 17 PTS, 4 REB, 8 AST, 0 STL, 6-13 FG, 2-7 3FG, 3-3 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -25 +/-

He’s doing the same things he did last year but without the amplifying effects of teammates like Ibaka/Gasol. That’s to be said of everyone but Lowry sticks out because he’s really in that batch of a player – they’re title-chasing, he’s clearly not. He tried to go into KLOW mode but it feels like there’s nobody there he can bounce his energy off and lift the group.

S. Johnson16 MIN, 0 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -4 +/-

You have to think hard when coming up with a list of things he does. These days that list mostly consists of confusing people by resembling OG from afar. Unless he’s hitting his three-point shot he’s void on offense. Yeah, defensively he’s above average but there are so many holes on that end on the team that even if he fixes his part, there’s no movement overall.

F. VanVleet40 MIN, 27 PTS, 8 REB, 2 AST, 4 STL, 9-17 FG, 4-11 3FG, 5-5 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -4 +/-

Bombing deep from three is now his preferred option over punching through which means the ball doesn’t move as much. Maybe it’s because the lane is congested or maybe because it’s the lack of pace in his game, which was evident on both ends tonight. He’s not even finding the guys in transition – Flynn and Siakam look more adept at that lately.

P. Watson22 MIN, 6 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 2-4 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -8 +/-

He’s improved defensively so there’s progress there. He runs a lot and parks in the corner, but other than that doesn’t present himself much. Needs to read a page of the Norman Powell How-to-Cut textbook.

C. Boucher22 MIN, 4 PTS, 10 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-7 FG, 0-4 3FG, 2-3 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -7 +/-

The guy plays hard, give him that. Woods was not a good matchup for him – he matches him in length and is equally active and possibly just as tenacious at times. The three-point shot wasn’t dropping but you like that it doesn’t affect him on the other end.

M. Flynn14 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 4 +/-

Are we showcasing him for a trade? If so, the 14 minutes isn’t helping. I thought he could’ve played more against Houston’s pace and I’m not sure what the criteria is for when he gets to play or not. Tonight just seemed like a game his pace could help with on a back-to-back, instead we saw Lowry/Fred lumber.

D. Bembry6 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-4 FG, 0-0 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 4 +/-

Two techs and got ejected. Tried a sky hook. Non-factor.

A. Baynes5 MIN, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -8 +/-

Haha. That missed dunk.

P. McCaw4 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-0 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-

I remember one possession with him and he played good D on it. Maybe he got subbed in by mistake.

Nick Nurse

Is our offense just shooting threes? Was there nothing in the war chest that didn’t rely on those who have departed? Not playing Flynn more didn’t make sense, and then bringing in Bembry after already trying with the variants of McCaw and Johnson didn’t look like much of a strategy. But what can you really do if you look down the bench and you see Aron Baynes? He’s to be blamed for the predictable offense, but man, there just aren’t any big men to run anything significant with. He gets a D for not managing either end of this back-to-back properly.

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Olympics-U.S. women to face Australia in women’s football at Tokyo Games



(Reuters) – The U.S. women’s national team will face Australia, Sweden and New Zealand at this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, while in the men’s competition 2016 winners Brazil will take on Germany following the group stage draw on Wednesday.

The American women’s team are the reigning world champions and four-time winners of the Olympic tournament and will start as favourites in Tokyo, with Rio 2016 winners Germany failing to qualify.

Team GB women have drawn 2016 bronze medallists Canada, Chile and hosts Japan. Making only their second Olympic tournament appearance, Team GB will be led by England’s interim coach Hege Riise.

On the men’s side, Brazil will take on Germany, Ivory Coast and Saudi Arabia.

Mexico, the 2012 gold medallists, were pitted against hosts Japan, South Africa and France.

The men’s team are usually restricted to selecting players under the age of 23, with just three overage players allowed.

However, the age bracket has been raised for the Tokyo Games in line with the one-year postponement of the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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Rafael Nadal rallies from set down to advance in Barcelona



Top seed Rafael Nadal rallied from a set back to beat Ilya Ivashka of Belarus 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday in the second round at the Barcelona Open in Spain.

Nadal lost serve in the opening game of the match and wasn’t able to break Ivashka’s serve throughout the first set. He won just 70.6 percent of points on his first serve, was broken twice and had two double faults in an uncharacteristically poor showing on service in the opening set.

By the second set, he had righted his serve, winning 86.7 percent of points on his first serve in the second set and 83.3 percent in the third. He didn’t face a break point in either set.

In other action, No. 2 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, No. 3 Andrey Rublev of Russia, No. 4 Diego Schwartzman of Argentina, No. 6 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain and No. 10 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada were among those advancing.

No. 9 Fabio Fognini of Italy defaulted for verbal abuse. He was losing 6-0, 4-4 to Zapata Miralles of Spain when the line judge reported him for swearing after a foot fault. He had been warned earlier in the match

Serbia Open

Top seed and home-country favorite Novak Djokovic needed just 68 minutes to top South Korean Soon-woo Kwon 6-1, 6-3 and advance to the quarterfinals in Belgrade, Serbia.

Djokovic capitalized on five of his eight service break opportunities in the win. In the next round, he’ll meet fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic, the eighth seed, who needed three sets to oust Arthur Rinderknech of France 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Also advancing was the No. 2 seed, Matteo Berrettini, who defeated fellow Italian Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 6-3. Fifth seed Filip Krajinovic beat Nikola Milojevic 6-1, 6-1 in an all-Serb match.


(Field Level Media)

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Ice hockey-Women’s world championships cancelled due to COVID-19



(Reuters) -The women’s ice hockey world championships set to be played in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia have been cancelled because of a surge in COVID-19 cases in Canada, Hockey Canada said on Wednesday.

The announcement came one day before the 10 teams were to arrive to begin their quarantine ahead of the May 6-16 tournament.

“This is very disappointing news to receive with just a few weeks until the tournament was to begin,” said International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel in a statement.

“We strongly believe that we had the adequate safety measures in place. In the end, we must accept the decision of the government.”

The IIHF and Hockey Canada were informed by the Nova Scotia provincial government on Wednesday that the 10-country tournament could not go ahead due to safety concerns associated with COVID-19.

Still the news came as a shock after Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer had 24 hours earlier given the event the thumbs- up.

“At five o’clock this morning we were full go and at 7:30 am we were not,” explained Hockey Canada chief executive officer Tom Renney. “That is the way the world is right now and there is only so much we can control.

“At the end of the day there is a bigger game than the one we play here and quite honestly it is about the safety of the general public.”

The cancellation was another blow for the women’s game that has endured a number of recent setbacks, including the folding of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

It was also the second consecutive year the Nova Scotia world championships have been stopped by COVID-19.

“Definitely, a little bit of disbelief, a little shock, a lot of emotion,” said Canadian coach Gina Kingsbury, who pulled some players off the ice to deliver the bad news. “This is a group that has been through a lot this past year and two years so they are definitely familiar with disappointing news.”

Both the IIHF and Hockey Canada indicated they plan to play the world championships this year, possibly this summer, in Canada.

“Our intention, and that of the IIHF, is to reconnect with this event as a world championship in 2021 in Canada,” said Renney. “That’s our number one objective. We have every desire to hold this event in Canada.”

(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond)

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