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Raptors drop series opener to Celtics after sluggish start in Lowry's return – CBC.ca

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On the heels of an historic and emotional week that had the Toronto Raptors “very close” to leaving the NBA bubble, being back on the court offered no refuge for the defending NBA champions on Sunday.

Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart scored 21 points apiece to lead the Boston Celtics to a lopsided 112-94 win over the Raptors in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals.

And in the minutes after the demoralizing loss, the Raptors spoke about the emotional toll of recent events, including protests and the subsequent league shutdown after last week’s shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Wisconsin.

“Basketball always matters, but in this situation, at this time, it’s taking a backseat,” Lowry said. “Yes, it’s our job and we’re going to go out there and perform at the highest level we can possibly perform at. There’s no excuses, but we have an obligation right now to use our platform. That’s why we’re still here.”

WATCH | Celtics spread out scoring to cool off Raptors:

Boston had 6 players reach double-digits in scoring as they beat Toronto 112-94 in Game 1 of their East semifinals series. 0:41

Lowry, who’d been a question mark after suffering a sprained left ankle in Game 4 a week ago against Brooklyn, had 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Serge Ibaka had 15 points and nine boards off the bench, Pascal Siakam had 13 points, OG Anunoby had 12, Fred VanVleet added 11 points, and Norm Powell finished with 10.

Sport can be solace in turbulent times, but coach Nick Nurse said that wasn’t the case for his team Sunday.

“There was no joy,” Nurse said. “It was a tough day for us. . . nothing was much fun out there today.”

A sluggish start was almost expected considering the week. But the Raptors, who’ve rolled to 32 wins in their past 37 games, were slow and disorganized on the defensive end, and struggled mightily on offence. They were outscored 51-30 from three-point range.

Boston improved to 4-1 against Toronto this season, including two lopsided victories in the restart bubble.

The Raptors didn’t put up much of a fight, trailing 19 points in the first half. The gap grew to 22 points in the third quarter, and when Tatum hit a baseline jumper to end the third, Boston headed into the fourth up 88-73.

A three-point play by Lowry to start the fourth sliced the difference to 12, but that was as close as the Raptors would come, and when Smart scored on a three in front of Boston’s bench, the long bomb had the Celtics up by 24 points with just under five minutes to play.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens dismissed suggestions Boston controls the series heading into Tuesday’s Game 2.

“We’re not even in the ballpark of doing that yet,” Stevens said. “We won one game.”

Back from near boycott

The game marked a second restart of sorts. Racial and social injustice was already a theme for the NBA’s restart after several high-profile deaths in the U.S. ignited protests. After Blake’s shooting, Powell and VanVleet raise the possibility of a boycott.

On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks did just that, refusing to take the court for their game against Orlando. That led to a shutdown of the league for three days and similar strikes among several pro sports leagues, including the WNBA and NHL.

Asked if the Raptors considered leaving, Ibaka said “We were close, we were very close. We’re here . . . we are here for a reason, not only to play basketball but to use our platform to change things out there.”

Early in the game, Boston’s big man Daniel Theis blew by Marc Gasol like the Spaniard’s feet were glued to the floor. The moment exemplified a Raptors defence that was a step behind from the opening whistle. Boston led 39-23 to end the first quarter.

Ibaka’s layup capped a 7-0 run to start the second and had the Raptors within nine points. But Toronto’s woeful shooting continued — the Raptors were just 1-for-12 from long distance in the second quarter and 5-for-23 from the field. Boston built its lead back up to 17 and took a 56-42 advantage into the halftime break.

Late in the third, a VanVleet turnover led to a windmill dunk by Boston’s Robert Williams. The demoralizing play summed up Toronto’s afternoon.

Lowry said the roller-coaster week, however, wasn’t to blame.

“Emotionally, it hit us hard,” he said. “(But) today we just didn’t play well. We didn’t play well enough to win the basketball game and no excuses made, we’ve got to play hard, we’ve got to go out there and do our jobs harder, do our coverages harder, execute better.

“The Boston Celtics beat us tonight, one game, we have to regroup, readjust, and get ready for the next one.”

Both teams fresh off sweeps

After dispatching the Brooklyn Nets easily in four games in the opening round, the Raptors indeed face a much stiffer test against Boston, which seems to have found the formula against Toronto. The Raptors beat 10 teams in the NBA’s restart including Milwaukee and Los Angeles, but have now lost twice by a combined 40 points to Boston.

The Raptors need Siakam, who picked up three early fouls, to get going offensively.

“(Early foul trouble) kind of makes you think about how you play and stuff and it makes you question a lot of things in how you move, but it happened and I’ve just got to figure out a way to bounce back once that happens,” he said. “I can’t let it affect my game.”

The afternoon began with a moment of silence for 18-year NBA veteran Cliff Robinson, coach Lute Olson, and actor Chadwick Boseman, who all died this week.

“It was very sad to see him leave us so early,” Ibaka said of Boseman.

Both teams knelt with arms linked for the U.S. and Canadian anthems.

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MNF Picks: Baltimore Ravens vs Kansas City Chiefs NFL Picks, Predictions 9/28/20 – Sports Chat Place

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Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

NFL Football: Monday, September 28, 2020 at 8:15 pm (M&T Bank Stadium)

The Line: Baltimore Ravens -3 — Over/Under: 53.5
Click Here for the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN, DAZN Stream live sports and exclusive originals on ESPN+. Sign up now!

The Kansas City Chiefs and the Baltimore Ravens meet in the week 3 installment of Monday Night Football in NFL action from M&T Bank Stadium.

The Kansas City Chiefs will look to build off of a 23-20 win over the Chargers to improve to 2-0 this season. Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 513 yards and 5 touchdowns on 64.6% passing. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has rushed for 176 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 35 carries. Tyreek Hill leads the Chiefs with 145 receiving yards on 10 catches while Travis Kelce has a team-high 15 catches for 20 for the KC receiving group this year. Defensively, Anthony Hitchens leads KC with 17 total tackles with including 11 solo tackles while Chris Jones has 1.5 sacks for the Chiefs this year.

Check Out Our Consensus Report To See How Many Handicappers are On A Play

Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens Monday 9/28/20  NFL Picks & Predictions |  Sports Chat Place

The Baltimore Ravens will also look to stay at 2-0 after picking up a 33-16 win over Houston last tme out. Lamar Jackson has thrown for 479 yards and 4 touchdowns on 77.6% passing while also rushing for a team-high 99 yards. Gus Edwards has 89 rushing yards with a double while Mark Ingram has 84 yards on the ground as well. Marquise Brown leads Baltimore’s receiving group with 143 receiving yards with 10 catches on 12 targets. Willie Snead IV has 93 receiving yards while Mark Andrews also has 87 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns for Baltimore this season. Defensively, Patrick Queen leads the Ravens with 17 total tackles, including 11 solo tackles this season.

Kansas City is 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall and 12-5-1 ATS in their last 18 road games while the over is 5-1 in their last 6 games as a road underdog. Baltimore is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games against a team with a winning record and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home games while the under is 4-0 in their last 4 games as a favorite.

I’m not worried about the Chiefs because if we’re being honest, they probably had one eye on the game they were playing, the other eye was on Baltimore. The lack of a full stadium I think hurts Baltimore here is that they can’t feed off of the energy of one of the home fans and that could end up being the difference here. I could make a case for either but I think I’ll take the over as I see this being a 31-28 game no matter how you slice it.

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Chris’s Pick
Over 53.5

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

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Blue Jays pushing Ryu to Game 2 vs. Rays – TSN

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The Toronto Blue Jays will start Matt Shoemaker in Game 1 of their playoff series against the Tampa Bay Rays and push ace Hyun-Jin Ryu to Game 2.

Shoemaker will face Rays ace Blake Snell in Game 1 while Ryn will face Tyler Glasnow in Game 2.

If the best-of-three series goes to a Game 3, the Jays will send Taijuan Walker to the mound to take on Charlie Morton.

Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Ryu did not ask for an extra day’s rest and the delayed start is nothing physical. He said the team’s decision makers view all three games as being equal, and are not placing importance on Ryu being out there for Game 1.

As TSN Blue Jays Reporter Scott Mitchell reported, Ryu has been slightly more dominant with an extra day’s rest this season.

In 12 regular season starts for the Blue Jays this season, Ryu finished with a 5-2 record, 2.69 earned run average, and 72 strikeouts in 67 innings.

Shoemaker meanwhile, made six starts for the Jays this season, finishing with a 0-1 record, 4.71 ERA, and 26 strikeouts in 28.2 innings.

Walker, since being acquired from the Seattle Mariners mid-season, had a 2-1 record, 1.37 ERA, and 25 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.

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The Wreck of the Tampa Bay Rays? – Bluebird Banter

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When Alejandro Kirk doubled in two runs with two out in the bottom of the 6th on Thursday to extend the lead over the Yankees to 4-0 in their playoff clincher, I was inspired in the moment to quickly adapt a part of the first verse of Gordon Lightfoot’s indelible ballad The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald in tribute. Looking a little further, it struck me that even more of the ensuing verses was readily adaptable or somewhat applicable to Kirk.

The problem, of course, is the song is fundamentally about the tragedy of a great ship sinking in a storm with 29 lives lost. Not exactly the comparison to be conjured up for a promising prospect, especially given the Blue Jays’ history of catchers of the future floundering. With the then-likelihood and now-certain reality of facing their divisional nemesis in the playoffs, it was suggested that instead it could be the Wreck of the Tampa Bay Rays.

And so, I present The (Hopefully Impending) Wreck of the Tampa Bay Rays at the Hands of Alejandro Kirk:

The legend lives on from Rogers Centre on down
Of the backstop they called Alejandro
Captain Kirk, it is said, hammers fastballs dead red
When the games of September might be woe
With a load of fans twenty-six milligrams more
Than Tropicana stadium weighed empty
The good ship Blue Jay was bound to be prey
When the games of October came early

Young Kirk was the pride of the Mexican side
Coming up from the farm in Dunedin
As short ballplayers go, he was bigger than most
With quick hands, a keen eye though not seasoned
Concluding some terms with divisional firms
They left fully loaded for Rays-land
And later that week when “play ball” rang
Could it be the Trop’s ghosts they were feelin’?

Balls lost in the roof fell safely in fair ground
Routine pop-ups clanged right off the catwalk
And everyone knew, as El Capitan did too,
T’was the witch of the Trop come to shock
The throw came in late, offline from the plate
As the Tampa Bay runners came crossin’
When the late innings came it all seemed in vain
In the face of a cursed playing surface

When few outs remained, Captain Kirk came on deck sayin’
Fellas, it’s time for a rally
Seven pitches in, a ball hung over the plate, he said
Fellas, this one’s in the alley
Kevin Cash wired in so many runs comin’ in
His bullpen and bench in a deep daze
And later that night when the last out went outta sight
Came the wreck of the Tampa Bay Rays

Does any one know where the love of God goes
When Dolis turns the minutes to hours?
The statheads all say they shouldn’t have been in the fray
But Manfred put fifteen more teams alongside ‘em
They might have been lucky or they might have collapsed
They may have broke form in close losses
But all that remains is the faces and the names
Of the hitters and pitchers and the coaches

The offence rolls, Teoscar dings
In the confines of revamped Sahlen Field
Pearson’s fastball steams like a young man’s dreams
The change-ups and curves are for Hyun Jin
It happened below Lake Ontario
Just east of Lake Erie for 2020
And the fly balls go though the Mariners won’t know
When the year of corona’s remembered

Stay ahead of the boys in Detroit they prayed,
In the Triple-A players’ cathedral
The foghorn blared till it went twenty-eight times
For each man on the Jays’ playoff roster
The legend lives on from Rogers Centre on down
Of the backstop they called Alejandro
Tropicana, they said, always leaves the Jays dead
But the hosts at the Trop have a new foe

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