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Raptors hope to keep momentum going after rediscovering identity – Sportsnet.ca

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For the first time in a long time — hours, days and weeks being somewhat abstract concepts in the Walt Disney World Resort NBA bubble — the Toronto Raptors recognized themselves on Thursday night.

They saw a team engaged, committed and lost in the pursuit of a common goal. They saw contributions coming from all corners. They saw relief and joy.

For the first time in a long time, their worries were off their shoulders and they were just playing a game the way they do it best.

As much as their stupefying Game 3 win over the Boston Celtics will be forever remembered for the play that won it — a once-in-a-career perfect pass from Kyle Lowry that set up a you-might-never-see-this-again game-winning three with 0.5 seconds on the clock by OG Anunoby — it was the half of basketball that preceded it that could well unlock the Raptor potential in the rest of the series and beyond.

Livestream the Raptors’ quest to defend their NBA title with select NBA playoff games on Sportsnet NOW.

For the first time in a long time the Raptors won the way they had won so many games during a near-perfect regular season — with contributions from all corners, with regular contributors doing their regular things. Anunoby and Lowry’s connection will live forever, but the Raptors don’t get the chance to throw that Hail Mary if they don’t get something from everyone who stepped on the floor in the pivotal second half to help engineer a comeback from down 10 at the break.

“I think it’s really good for guys to be able to come in and make plays down the stretch when we need ’em,” said Norm Powell, who fought through some first-half foul trouble to score five vital points in just under five minutes of second-half action. “I think guys on this team have all been in situations like that when their name is called or whatever it is that they’ve gotta go out there and perform and produce no matter what role you’re in or how many minutes you get, you’re trying to go out there and make winning plays for the team. I thought everybody down the stretch, especially in the second half, was able to do that in certain ways. It wasn’t always scoring, it was little things that didn’t show up on the box score: Setting screens for guys to get open and get to the rim, moving the ball, things like that.”

The Raptors won their NBA championship with a superstar in Kawhi Leonard, and now they’re trying to defend it by committee.

It’s a tall order — there are almost no examples in NBA history of a team winning a title without an MVP-calibre player front-and-centre, often bolstered by one or two All-NBA players in support.

The Raptors believe they can do it. But through the first 10 quarters of their series against the Celtics, the committee never showed up.

That changed as the Raptors came back from down 10 at the half and on the verge of going down 0-3 to Boston, a hole that no team has dug themselves out of in league history.

Six of the seven Raptors rotation players scored — the exception being Serge Ibaka who has otherwise been one of the steadier contributors as Toronto’s offence has struggled against Boston.

There was a 14-point explosion from Pascal Siakam who was otherwise shooting 32.3 per cent from the floor for the series, bearing only the faintest resemblance to the player who was an All-Star starter back in February. Powell hit a crucial three and slashed to the rim with force for the first time, it seemed, since he was feasting on the Brooklyn Nets in the first round and Fred VanVleet shot threes freely and with confidence. Even Marc Gasol got a bucket to round out his best offensive game of the playoffs. Lowry, who played perhaps the best playoff game of his career, scored 17 of his 31 points and counted four of his eight assists while playing all 24 minutes in the second half.

The circumstances may have been a bit extreme, but how the Raptors got the win that saved their season looked comfortable and familiar.

“I think it just gets us back a little bit more to who we are and who we’re used to being,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse on Friday. “I mean, Norm hitting a couple threes is like an everyday occurrence for us. Marc playmaking and scoring a bit, but playmaking a lot, and exuding confidence at both ends of the floor is kinda who Marc is too, and that’s kinda what we’re used to.

“…For whatever reason we weren’t quite ourselves here for a while. Give them credit, they’ve played great.”

The Raptors are understandably loath to make excuses and have no grounds to given the conditions they’ve been living under are the same as the Celtics or any other team still alive in the playoffs, but it’s been apparent that the zest with which they were playing for most of the regular season and certainly during the restart and the first part of the playoffs has been missing.

“I think it was everything. With all due respect to Brooklyn [the Raptors’ first-round opponent], I don’t think that got us ready to play at the level we needed to be ready for Game 1 [against Boston]. I think the transgressions of those few days when, whether we were gonna sit or play [after the players went on strike following the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wis.], coupled in with laying that egg in Game 1. It was a lot,” said VanVleet, who scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half of Game 3, including a crucial, game-tying lay-up with 18 seconds left. “Then we played our butts off in Game 2 and didn’t come out with a win. We expect a lot of ourselves, so to be down 0-2, I mean we knew it wasn’t over, but nobody was happy. People were pissed off; the mood wasn’t great. All we needed was one [win] to get the juice back, a little magic. You know, get the momentum going on your side.”

That’s all Nurse is looking for. He knew his team wasn’t operating normally in Game 1 and Game 2 and the mood was off — “funky” was his word — but there was only one way to fix it.

“I don’t like to make excuses because Boston has played great. They’re really good and they’ve played great on top of it,” said Nurse. “They’re very well-coached and they’ve got tons of talent, they’ve got tons of shot making, and they brought it to us and we didn’t have any answers. I’m not making any excuses for them kinda kicking our butt.

“But we needed to start playing better and it looks like we might be ready to start playing better.”

There was a glimmer in the second half of Game 3.

The hope is now — with all hands having found a way to contribute — it can carry over to Game 4 and beyond, and the Raptors can win or lose on their own terms.

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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.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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How to buy the right Android phone for you – TechRadar

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Choosing a new smartphone is more difficult now than it’s ever been. However, if you’re reading this then you’ve likely made the first decision – iPhone or Android – already. Congratulations.

Android smartphones are the best they’ve ever been, serving up incredible screens, powerful innards, class-leading cameras, swanky software tricks, and much more. There’s never been a better time to nab yourself a shiny new Google-powered handset, especially since mid-range offerings with superb specs and performance can be yours for less than ever before.

The downside, however, is the fact that there are literally hundreds of Android options out there, coming from a plethora of manufacturers, all vying for your attention.

That’s where we come in. We’ve already rounded up a list of the best Android phones you can buy today, which should make your final decision easier. But before you head on over with your wallet in hand, let’s slow down a little. How do you use your current phone? What are you looking for? What will you be doing over the next few years?

We pose these questions to you because we all have different needs. Some of us love taking and sharing photos, while others may prefer whiling away hours flossing in Fortnite. Not only that, but the world is a pretty crazy place right now, and we’re all spending more time at home. The huge battery that may have once topped your list of priorities may be less important today, especially when you throw ultra-fast charging into the mix. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Here’s everything you need to think about before choosing the perfect Android phone for you:

1. What’s your budget? 

(Image credit: Pixabay)

The amount of money you’re prepared to drop on a smartphone is the number one thing you need to decide upon before going any further. 

As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. For example, splurging out just over a grand will net you a powerhouse such as the feature-packed Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. It may win you over with its flagship specs, multi-cam setup, and the do-it-all S Pen for note-taking, productivity and doodling, but do you really need all that functionality?

If you’re a productivity fiend and/or an artist then, yes, it may be worth the cash. But if you’re unlikely to ever make use of that S Pen stylus, then it doesn’t make sense to spend more money than you need to.

On the flipside, if you’re after a simple, reliable handset that can capture decent pictures, will see you through a day and can handle pretty much any task then it’s absolutely worth considering a mid-range handset such as the OnePlus Nord, which comes close to offering  flagship performance at a very reasonable price. 

2. Are you a shutterbug? 

Let’s get interactive. Grab your current smartphone, open up the gallery, and begin scrolling. What do you see? Selfies? Cats? Food? Buildings? More cats? Not much at all?

There’s no right or wrong answer, but this is an excellent way to determine just how much you use your camera, and how important it is to you. If you see a bunch of selfies or even group selfies, then maybe front-facing cameras should command more attention when you’re choosing your next phone. Some even offer ultra-wide selfie cams so you can easily fit large groups into shots.

If you take a lot of shots at night time, then you’ll want to keep an eye out for cameras with dedicated night modes and/or larger sensors and solid low-light performance. In general, the best-performing low-light smartphones tend to be the most expensive, since the shooting conditions demand the best lenses, sensors and algorithms.

For those who mainly capture images in the daytime, your choice is wider; pretty much any mid-range to flagship device you pick from a major brand will likely take excellent shots in bright conditions.

3. How much power do you need? 

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is one of the most powerful phones in the world (Image credit: Future)

There was a time when your phone would slow to a crawl a year or so after purchase, suffering frequent crashes, reboots – with you uttering many a swear word as a result. Thanks to advances in processor technology, coupled with a general raising of specs across the board, even most mid-range handsets today will provide more than enough power for most people.

In fact, we’d go as far as to say that unless you’re an enthusiast pining for the latest and greatest specs, or a hardcore mobile gamer who’s constantly running super-demanding games such as Call of Duty: Mobile, you won’t need powerful processors such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 5G.

Mid-range processors such as the Snapdragon 765 coupled with around 8GB of RAM will blitz through apps, media and multitasking without issue. Unless you’re specifically after a handset with which you can play heavy-duty games or process 8K video a la the Galaxy S20 range, raw specs is one area where mid-range Android phones really shine.

4. How much will you use it? 

At the time of writing, most of us aren’t travelling nor commuting to the degree we were pre-pandemic. Which brings us neatly to our next consideration: battery life.

Not too long ago, heavy phone users with long commutes would often get caught out with their devices issuing low battery warnings whilst having their after-work pint. Anxiety over whether a smartphone will last the day is a real issue, which is the reason battery life is one of the most important attributes for most people.

While you might not be out on the town as much now, you’re likely using your phone more than ever, scrolling through your Insta feed or numbing your mind with TikTok cats in a bid to keep those spreadsheets and PowerPoint documents at bay a little while longer.

Thankfully, modern smartphones are more efficient at sipping power, and battery capacity has also improved. Beyond the fact that you’re more likely to be at home with a charger to hand, one of the biggest developments to look out for is the speed at which a smartphone charges.

For example, the OnePlus 8 Pro can reach 50% capacity in just 30 minutes thanks to its Warp Charge 30T charger, which is an impressive feat given its 4,510mAh battery. With companies such as Samsung and Xiaomi also offering their own versions of fast charging, range anxiety will soon become a thing of the past. 

5. Screen time

Sony Xperia 1 II

The Sony Xperia 1 II has a 4K display (Image credit: TechRadar)

There are a few features worth mentioning that may hold different levels of importance to some people, and the first of these is the screen. Beyond choosing one that’s a comfortable size for your hands, also worth considering are the display type itself and the resolution.

AMOLED displays are widely regarded to offer the best experience, thanks to their true blacks, amazing contrast, and rich, punchy colors. The best screens around also offer higher refresh rates, with 120Hz currently being the spec to beat.

In our opinion, a 120Hz screen is a nice bonus. However, in reality you’re unlikely to be able to determine the difference between that and a 90Hz – or even perhaps 60Hz display – unless you’re wearing your scrutinizing hat. 

Take note of the resolution, too. If you’re an avid movie watcher/videographer then you could opt for a 4K-toting handset such as the Sony Xperia 1 II, but you’ll be paying extra for the privilege. QHD resolution is the de facto for all flagships – but if we’re being completely honest, 1080p, or Full HD, is totally fine for most people.

If you’re a money-no-object buyer, then you have the luxury of potentially selecting a handset with a folding screen. As an early adopter, you’ll be paying a huge premium, but the looks of amazement of people’s faces when you unfold phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 or Motorola Razr, will (potentially) be well worth it. 

6. Hit the road jack 

A somewhat controversial feature (or lack, thereof) is the headphone jack. Most people are now used to the fact that almost every single new phone now comes minus this feature. But if you’re adventurous enough to traverse online to Android enthusiast forums, you’ll discover a lot of outraged posts about this brave new jack-less world.

Their argument is, in this writer’s opinion, a solid one. Headphone jacks offer the most flexibility for listening to music or watching videos, since you can use them with any of your existing headphones. Not only that, but you’re always prepared if you come across speakers with AUX inputs. 

While Bluetooth headphones have come on a long way, we still have occasional problems with audio lag and connection interference, not to mention they’re just another gadget you need to remember to charge. And while USB-C headphones exist, it means you can’t charge your phone at the same time.

We’d rather headphone jacks remained with us – but, sadly, it appears their time is nigh. At the time of writing, the best phones that still carry headphone jacks include the Google Pixel 4a, the LG V60 and the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus. So, if you’re an audiophile who’s looking to continue using their trusty cans, it’s something to bear in mind.

7. The speed of 5G 

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G

A large variety of top-end phones now offer 5G (Image credit: Samsung)

Ridiculous corona conspiracy theories aside, the 5G network coverage is growing, with every major carrier offering the service in selected locations.

The benefits are, of course, much faster speeds. However, you’ll only be able to take advantage if coverage exists in your area – which, at the moment, is pretty unlikely. Still, if you’re in a 5G area and willing to pay a little extra per month for the privilege, then we won’t discourage you – just bear in mind that you’ll be paying a premium for a 5G handset.

If you’re unlikely to be in a 5G area very often then we’d advise that you hold off; by the time you upgrade your phone, the technology and level of coverage will be more mature. Having said that, the majority of new flagships come with 5G as standard, so that’s some extra future-proofing to take into consideration.

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City offering more municipal facilities as COVID-19 testing sites, Mayor Watson says – Ottawa Citizen

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Article content continued

Watson said he’s been told by health officials that between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of people in the lines have no symptoms.

“That is putting a strain on the system,” Watson said, and he told Ford that the messaging needs to change so that people without symptoms aren’t going to testing sites.

A few hours later, however, Ford continued to encourage people who don’t have symptoms to get tested if they want to.

“We have the asymptomatic folks that may be anxious, or they want to get tested, and God bless them, get tested, but we’re going to be prepared and we’re ramping up,” Ford said during a press conference.

Much of the anger generated by the long testing lines and overrun assessment sites is rooted in confusion about how this could possibly happen when officials knew when students would be returning to classes.

Watson said Ottawa Public Health has stepped up to help, but the primary responsibility for testing is with the hospital network. The Ottawa Hospital, Queensway Carleton Hospital, Montfort Hospital and CHEO all have roles in the local testing program.

“I think they are now realizing that a lot of the testing capacity should have been dealt with a month ago with the anticipation of school,” Watson said. “To their credit now, and I’ve talked to all four hospital presidents, they understand the urgency and frustration and they have to get this problem fixed.”

The city continues to be in a state of emergency because of the pandemic, but Watson said he hasn’t asked Ford to request military assistance to help with logistical support in testing. There’s no sense bringing in military help if there are no additional sites yet to set up testing facilities, Watson said.

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