TORONTO — With about two-and-a-half minutes to play in the second quarter and his team down 26 points, Pascal Siakam looked to make a point to back down Jaylen Brown, made a quick move over his left shoulder and softly floated in a hook shot.
A lovely move that was far too little, far too late as Siakam’s Raptors got crushed by the Boston Celtics, 111-89, and are on the brink of playoff elimination for the first time since they played Game 7 against Philadelphia last year.
Thanks to a dreadful 11-point first quarter and then a defensively disastrous second that saw them allow the Celtics to score 37, the Raptors’ Game 5 hopes of taking control of their second-round series were undone by halftime.
And while there’s a lot of blame to go around, perhaps the most puzzling aspect to narrow in on were just the three field-goal attempts for Siakam in the first half, which appears to be more of a continuation of a troubling trend seen from the Raptors’ all-star in this series.
Siakam has shown a penchant to start the game slow and then have a much better second half in all but Game 3, when the opposite was seen. Either way, Siakam’s been inconsistent for the Raptors and Game 5 looked to be an extreme example of this.
In the first half, Siakam was 2-of-3 from the field with the looks he did get looking pretty good — he just didn’t get enough of them. Obviously, the Celtics’ defence played a role in this as their defence was locked in and suffocating the entire first half, but with Siakam Toronto’s go-to scorer, the Raptors probably had to find a way to get him the ball more than they did.
“Probably both. Probably squarely on me, first and foremost. I got to look at it. I hate to look at a stat and see what the problem is when I don’t really know without looking,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse after the game, when asked if Siakam’s limited looks were more the Celtics defence or Toronto’s offence not finding him. “[But] to get back to your question, it’s probably not enough attempts for him.”
Added VanVleet when asked the same question: “I think that’s on us, that’s on me. Gotta give him more shots, gotta give him the ball, put him in good spots. But, I mean, you have an 11-point quarter, I don’t think anybody’s going at that point.
“So we’re searching a little bit, trying to find the open ones, I don’t think it’s a constant thing where we’re not looking for him. I think the ball just found other guys, and that’s the way that their defence is set up right now, so we’ve got to keep taking advantage of the open ones we get, and then when we have a chance to put him in a good spot, we’ve got to continue to do that.”
In the second half the Raptors appeared to correct their issue of not finding their top offensive threat as they ran more high-pick-and-roll with Siakam and Kyle Lowry. That freed up Siakam to score six straight points to begin the third quarter as the Raptors managed to cut a 27-point half-time deficit to a somewhat more manageable 21-point discrepancy.
Unfortunately, that wouldn’t last long for the Raptors as Celtics coach Brad Stevens, understanding how dangerous Siakam is, took a quick timeout to try to snuff out any momentum he and the Raptors may have been building.
“He’s terrific. Tough. You just try to guard him as hard as you can. I know that sounds simple and doesn’t give away a whole lot, but you just try to be as good as you can be. He gets where he wants to go, he’s physical, can put the ball on the floor,” said Stevens of Siakam. “He’s a really good competitor. So every time you get a stop on him, you really have to earn it. Saw at the start of the second half, he had a couple of baskets there and it looked like they were going to set the tone for the way the half was played again, and, you know, he’s tough.”
After that timeout, while Siakam kept trying to attack, he missed his next two shots and, more pertinently, picked up three more fouls to bring him to five for the game. That essentially ended his night, with the Celtics leading by 26 again with just under six minutes to play in the third quarter.
“Obviously, I didn’t want to pick up a foul like that, but it is what it is,” said Siakam of the quick fouls he picked up in the third.
Understandably, Siakam seemed a little dejected about when taking questions from reporters following the contest, but the Raptors can’t afford to let him hang his head now.
As mentioned before, Siakam has been mired in a strange trend of inconsistency and with the Raptors now literally in a do-or-die situation in their next game, they need him to figure things out — and fast — because, quite frankly, his performance in Game 5 simply wasn’t good enough.
A go-to guy should be expected to demand the ball when his team is in danger, like the Raptors were in the first half, and can’t afford to put himself into foul trouble the way he did in the third quarter. In doing both, Siakam essentially erased his own presence from Game 5, and when you’re the team’s most talented player, that just can’t happen.
This is obviously a sign of growing pains for Siakam as this is his first post-season as a No. 1 option, but the time to wait for him to figure it all out is about to run out, and everyone is still waiting.
“It could be part of it,” said Nurse when asked if Siakam’s struggles right now are related to him being a go-to guy for the first time in his career. “I don’t know. He has already kind of been through a deep playoff run and had spectacular games. I am not sure why he has been so out of rhythm since the restart in the bubble. He hasn’t had a lot of great games and I think that is more of it other than here we are in the playoffs and he is supposed to be our leading guy.
“I’m not sure he’s been in great rhythm since the restart and it’s too bad because he was spectacular in last year’s playoffs and spectacular all season long. We still got some games to play. Hopefully he can get his rhythm.”
Facing a Wednesday contest with actual win-or-go-home stakes, the Raptors would probably like more than a little hope that Siakam finds his old game again.
Report: Broncos to sign ex-Jags QB Bortles – TSN
Blake Bortles is back in the National Football League.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the veteran quarterback will sign a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos once he clears COVID-19 protocols.
Update: Denver is signing former Jags’ and Rams’ QB Blake Bortles to a one-year deal once he passes his COVID protocols, per source.
With Drew Lock out 3-5 weeks, the Broncos almost signed Bortles last year and now will take the next step this year.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 22, 2020
The 28-year-old Bortles joins the team with starting quarterback Drew Lock on the shelf for the next three to five weeks with a rotator cuff strain that he picked up in Sunday’s 26-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A native of Oviedo, FL, Bortles was the third overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Central Florida. Bortles served as starter for the Jags for five seasons. During his time as starter, Bortles led the NFL in interceptions with 75 in 75 games.
He was released by the Jags in the spring of 2019 upon the acquisition of Nick Foles from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bortles spent last season with the Los Angeles Rams as back-up to Jared Goff, appearing in five games.
Bortles joins Jeff Driskel as Vic Fangio’s options at pivot.
The Broncos (0-2) are next in action on Sunday when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1).
Fantasy: Waiver Wire – Week 3 – theScore
Find positional rankings, additional analysis, and subscribe to push notifications in the NFL Fantasy News section.
Every Monday during the season, theScore’s Justin Boone runs down the recommended waiver wire pickups.
Rostered percentages are based on Yahoo leagues. Free Agent Budget (FAB) amounts are set off a $100 salary cap. Only players rostered in less than 60% of leagues are considered.
Ryan Tannehill, Titans
After taking over as the Titans’ starter last season, Tannehill was one of the best quarterback plays available in fantasy. From Week 7 on, the former first-round pick averaged the fourth most fantasy points at the position and helped lead Tennessee to the playoffs. He’s picked up right where he left off with incredible efficiency through two outings (six touchdowns, no interceptions) and is once again a QB1 in the fantasy world. With defenses focused on stopping Derrick Henry and the rushing attack, Tannehill should continue to have success, including against a subpar Vikings pass defense next Sunday. He’s a great streamer and might end up being your starter the rest of the way.
Gardner Minshew, Jaguars
Speaking of six touchdown passes through two games … how about Minshew‘s performance in Jay Gruden’s system so far? Yes, the sophomore QB turned the ball over a few times this week, but he’s emerging as a legit franchise quarterback and nearly helped his team earn a second straight upset victory. Minshew ranks 10th in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks through two contests and should keep that up at home on Thursday night against a Dolphins defense that just allowed over 400 passing yards and four touchdowns to Josh Allen.
Streamer options: Baker Mayfield vs. WAS (47% rostered), Philip Rivers vs. NYJ (27% rostered), Justin Herbert vs. CAR (3% rostered), Mitch Trubisky at ATL (7% rostered)
Jerick McKinnon, 49ers
With Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman both dealing with knee injuries, McKinnon vaults to the top of the 49ers’ running back depth chart. As we know from nearly every NFL season that involved a Shanahan-coached offense, this scheme generates rushing production regardless of who’s in the backfield. McKinnon, who was once handpicked to be Kyle Shanahan’s lead ball carrier two years ago, is finally healthy and poised to capitalize on his opportunity. The 28-year-old posted 44 yards and a receiving score on just eight touches in the opener before making his mark with 77 yards on three carries in Week 2 – capped off by a 55-yard run to improbably convert a third-and-31. With Mostert and Coleman at risk of missing multiple weeks, McKinnon is about to remind you he can be an RB2 with RB1 upside in fantasy.
Mike Davis, Panthers
Fantasy first overall pick Christian McCaffrey is expected to miss four-to-six weeks with a high ankle sprain, leaving a void in the Panthers’ backfield that no one running back can fill. Davis gave his best effort in relief duties on Sunday, catching eight passes for 74 yards with the team in comeback mode late in the game. While he wasn’t given many touches last year, Davis has popped more than a few times for fantasy managers in the past. As a member of the Seahawks in 2018, Davis was given at least 15 touches in three games and posted yards from scrimmage totals of 124, 107, and 80 with three touchdowns combined in those appearances. None of the veteran free agents on the market offer an upgrade to Davis who already knows the system. He’ll be an intriguing RB3/flex option who could produce RB2 fantasy value over the next month.
Darrell Henderson, Rams
As NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported prior to kickoff Sunday, the Rams had planned to get Henderson more involved this week. The goal was a three-way timeshare between Henderson, Cam Akers, and Malcolm Brown. However, when Akers left the game early due to a rib injury, the hot-hand competition was down to just two backs. Henderson was far more effective with his touches, amassing 81 rushing yards, 40 receiving yards, and a touchdown to Brown’s 47 total yards. So for the second straight week we’ll take a shot on this productive backfield. You should be trying to roster any of the Rams’ runners in hopes that one of them rises to the top of the depth chart and stays there at some point this season.
Joshua Kelley, Chargers
We’re getting there. Kelley‘s almost being rostered in half of fantasy leagues, so hopefully his third straight appearance in this article will put him over the top. Kelley followed up the 60 yards and a score in his debut with 64 rushing yards and two receptions for another 49 yards. He’s settled into the Melvin Gordon role quite nicely and is the perfect complement to starter Austin Ekeler. Expect the Chargers to continue to call his number, making him a weekly flex option with the potential to go nuclear if Ekeler gets hurt.
High-upside backups like Alexander Mattison (45% rostered), Tony Pollard (31% rostered), Chase Edmonds (45% rostered), and Darrel Williams (18% rostered) should be rostered in almost all leagues.
Flex options: Myles Gaskin at JAX (15% rostered)
Risky flex options: Dion Lewis vs. SF (5% rostered), Wayne Gallman vs. SF (1% rostered), Frank Gore at IND (14% rostered)
Sneaky stash: Devonta Freeman – Free agent working out for the Giants this week (13% rostered)
Deeper upside backups: Brian Hill vs. CHI (3% rostered), Carlos Hyde vs. DAL (18% rostered), Boston Scott vs. CIN (35% rostered), Giovani Bernard at PHI (4% rostered), Darrynton Evans at MIN (3% rostered), Jordan Wilkins vs. NYJ (0% rostered)
PPR possibilites: Chris Thompson vs. MIA (22% rostered), J.D. McKissic at CLE (1% rostered), Jalen Richard at NE (1% rostered)
Long shot bench stashes: Kerryon Johnson at ARI (38% rostered), La’Mical Perine at IND (3% rostered), Gus Edwards vs. KC (1% rostered), Jamaal Williams at NO (8% rostered), Rex Burkhead vs. LV (2% rostered), Bryce Love at CLE (3% rostered)
Corey Davis, Titans
Even with A.J. Brown out of the lineup, Davis wasn’t able to replicate his 101-yard performance in the opener. That’s alright, they aren’t all going to be gems. The fact Davis still had a solid fantasy day with 36 yards and a touchdown is a positive sign for his value moving forward. He’s set up for another big outing against the Vikings’ work-in-progress cornerbacks in Week 3. Continue to consider Davis a WR3 for as long as Brown remains sidelined and potentially beyond that.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling/Allen Lazard, Packers
It turns out Davante Adams‘ hamstring injury isn’t serious, so we’re likely to see the Packers’ No. 1 receiver back on the field this week. That might be good news for Valdes-Scantling and Lazard, who struggled when asked to be the top targets when Adams missed time last year. Instead, the young duo can continue to operate as secondary pieces – something they’ve done very well in 2020. MVS has 160 yards and a touchdown through two games, while Lazard isn’t far behind with 108 and a score. With Aaron Rodgers looking sharp early in the season, both wideouts are upside flex options. If forced to pick between them, I’d take Valdes-Scantling for his big-play upside.
N’Keal Harry, Patriots
Harry‘s path to fantasy relevance has been a long, winding road with several speed bumps and not the clear highway many first-rounders seem to be on. Even so, we’re finally starting to see signs of life from the 6-foot-4, 225-pound wideout, who’s coming off his best game as a pro with eight receptions and 72 yards against the Seahawks. It’s nice to see the 22-year-old’s confidence growing as Cam Newton takes him under his wing. If we continue on this road, Harry will be a regular in fantasy lineups as a flex play and maybe more later in the year.
Preston Williams, Dolphins
How can we be recommending a receiver who caught one pass in Week 2 and has just three grabs on the year? Well, if you read this column last Monday, you’d understand Williams was never intended to be a fantasy option in the first two games after coming off a torn ACL and facing the Patriots and Bills – two tough matchups. Don’t let those performances sway your outlook on him. The wideout’s best outings are yet to come in 2020 as he gets his legs under him and the schedule eases up.
Jerry Jeudy, Robby Anderson, Mike Williams, and Brandin Cooks are around the 60% rostered mark and should be rostered in almost all leagues.
Upside flex options: Russell Gage vs. CHI (22% rostered), Golden Tate vs. SF (36% rostered), Laviska Shenault Jr. vs. MIA (17% rostered), DeSean Jackson vs. CIN (48% rostered), Jalen Reagor vs. CIN (35% rostered), Tre’Quan Smith vs. GB (13% rostered), MeCole Hardman at BAL (36% rostered), Demarcus Robinson at BAL (1% rostered)
Risky flex options: Christian Kirk vs DET (53% rostered), Keelan Cole vs. MIA (3% rostered), Randall Cobb at PIT (6% rostered)
Promising rookies: Brandon Aiyuk at NYG (36% rostered), Michael Pittman Jr. vs. NYJ (15% rostered), Van Jefferson Jr. at BUF (4% rostered), Chase Claypool vs. HOU (5% rostered), Darnell Mooney at ATL (0% rostered), Tee Higgins at PHI (3% rostered), Bryan Edwards at NE (13% rostered)
Deep bench stashes: Curtis Samuel at LAC (27% rostered), Miles Boykin vs. KC (4% rostered), Mohamed Sanu at NYG (4% rostered), Kendrick Bourne at NYG (7% rostered), David Moore vs. DAL (0% rostered), Deonte Harris vs GB (3% rostered), Isaiah Ford at JAX (0% rostered), Tim Patrick vs. TB (0% rostered), Hunter Renfrow at NE (12% rostered), Damiere Byrd vs. LV (0% rostered)
Logan Thomas, Washington
Thomas returns this section, not due to his stat line (4-26-0) which was a bit of a letdown in Week 2, but rather for his nine targets. That pushes him to 17 targets on the year and into a tie for second in the league in that category among tight ends – only Travis Kelce has seen more passes thrown his way. Opportunity like that is rare at his position, so don’t let yourself be dissuaded. Thomas remains an intriguing TE2 with a chance to still finish as a low-end TE1 on the season.
Mo Alie-Cox, Colts
With Jack Doyle on the shelf, Alie-Cox broke out with five catches and 111 yards versus the Vikings. His run-after-catch ability is fear-inducing and you can’t put that kind of weapon back in the box. We don’t know whether Doyle will be able to return in Week 3, but even when he does suit up, the Colts would be foolish not to find ways to get the ball in Alie-Cox’s hands. There aren’t that many tight ends with 100-yard upside. He’ll be a streaming option against the Jets and then we’ll reassess his value.
Jonnu Smith and Mike Gesicki are around the 60% rostered mark and should be rostered in almost all leagues.
If George Kittle is ruled out in Week 3, Jordan Reed (7% rostered) would become the top add under the 60% rostered mark this week.
Other options: Dalton Schultz at SEA (2% rostered), Chris Herndon (46% rostered), Drew Sample at PHI (1% rostered), Eric Ebron vs. HOU (33% rostered), O.J. Howard at DEN (30% rostered), Tyler Eifert vs. MIA (10% rostered), Jimmy Graham at ATL (10% rostered), Jordan Akins at PIT (2% rostered)
Week 3 streamers
Favorable upcoming schedules: Cardinals DEF (47% rostered), Colts DEF (41% rostered), Jaguars (1% rostered)
Bianca Andreescu to miss remainder of 2020 season – TSN
TORONTO — Bianca Andreescu says she is taking the remainder of the tennis season off to focus on her health and training.
The Canadian tennis star made the announcement Tuesday on Twitter.
The decision was expected after the 20-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., withdrew from the French Open. Outside of the last Grand Slam of 2020, there are only a handful of tournaments remaining on the WTA schedule that haven’t been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As hard as it was to come to this conclusion, I have so much to look forward to in 2021, including the Olympics,” Andreescu said. “I want to use this time to focus my game so I can come back stronger and better than ever.”
Andreescu hasn’t played a competitive match since suffering a knee injury last October at the WTA Finals in China.
She also skipped the U.S. Open this month in New York, calling it a “difficult” decision. Andreescu won the 2019 U.S. Open over Serena Williams, becoming the first Canadian to win a singles Grand Slam.
Andreescu also won major events in Toronto and Indian Wells, Calif., last year as she reached No. 4 in the WTA rankings. She is currently at No. 7 despite her long period of inactivity.
The clay-court French Open, usually held in the spring, was postponed by four months due to the global pandemic.
Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., and Eugenie Bouchard of Westmount, Que., are slated to represent Canada in women’s singles at the tournament. Bouchard received a wild-card into the event.
Denis Shapovalov of Richmond Hill, Ont., Milos Raonic of Thornhill, Ont., Montreal’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Vancouver’s Vasek Pospisil are Canada’s players on the men’s side.
The main draw begins Sunday.
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