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Raptors record biggest comeback in franchise history to beat Dallas – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors had dug themselves a 30-point hole and looked headed for their worst game of the season. The mood in the huddle, said coach Nick Nurse, was “really bad.” His team had a flight to catch to Indiana later that night, and another game to play less than 24 hours later.

The Raptors could have called it a night early. Instead, led by a remarkable fourth-quarter performance by Kyle Lowry, the Raptors recorded their greatest comeback in franchise history Sunday in a 110-107 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

“We have always been a team that fights,” Nurse said. “In my time here, we hardly ever mail it in. It’s a good characteristic to have.”

Lowry scored 20 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, and the Raptors roared back from a 30-point third-quarter deficit.

“I think that was a one-off game, but you could see how hard we played, and that’s something you take from and you continue to build on,” Lowry said. “That’s the part of that game you take and say ‘Yeah, that’s a hard-playing team right there,’ no matter what, we were down whatever we were, it didn’t even feel like it, we just went out there and played.”

The all-star point guard added 10 assists and eight rebounds and, with a couple of minutes to play, the capacity crowd of 19,800 fans Scotiabank Arena broke into chants of “Low-ry! Low-ry!”

“He was unbelievable, right?” Nurse said. “And he really didn’t have that good a game going until that point, too. Then he started firing and making and driving and and-one-ing — he was doing it all. I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like it.”

Montreal’s Chris Boucher scored a career-high 21 points, including a huge dunk in the dying seconds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 18 points for the undermanned Raptors (21-8), who were playing without Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Norman Powell (shoulder).

Jalen Brunson had 21 points for the Mavericks (19-10), who were missing star guard Luka Doncic for the fourth consecutive game (ankle). Toronto native Dwight Powell added 17 points.

Toronto’s largest comeback before Sunday came when it erased a 25-point deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons 120-116 on Dec. 11, 2010.

It’s also the first 30-point comeback in the league since Dec. 21, 2009, when the Sacramento Kings overcame a 35-point hole to beat the Chicago Bulls 102-98.

Dallas has been one of the best road teams this season, arriving in Toronto with an 11-2 away record. The Raptors played the gracious host for most of the afternoon. The Raptors had an early 12-point lead, but without any sustained energy on either side of the court, saw that quickly evaporate. When Powell slashed to the rim for a layup late in the third quarter, the Mavericks went ahead by 30.

Trailing 86-63 to start the fourth, the Raptors finally showed some life. They chipped away at the deficit and when Lowry drilled a three-pointer with 8:05 to play, glancing over at the Dallas bench as the ball dropped, the Raptors were within 10 points.

“All (Lowry) said was ‘keep pushing,”’ Boucher said. “He led us the right way, put us in great spots. Kyle does that every time. Even when people don’t see it. Kyle’s a great leader.”

Lowry’s heroics continued, and when he dropped a shoulder and drove to the hoop for a layup with 5:59 to play, it was a two-point game. Back-to-back Lowry three-pointers had the Raptors up by five with 3:05 to play. It was Lowry again with a layup with 1:18 to play to give Toronto a four-point cushion.

Dallas took a one-point lead on a pair of Kristaps Porzingis free throws, but Lowry handed off to Boucher for an emphatic dunk with 19 seconds to play to put the Raptors back on top.

“I’m surprised (Lowry) saw me,” Boucher said. “I was just running for the offensive rebound and he saw me coming through. I missed a couple of layups today so I made sure I was going to hit that one and finish strong.”

Bunson’s shot with two seconds left bounced off the rim, then Boucher headed to the line for a pair of free throws, the icing on the Raptors’ 47-point quarter.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle took “full responsibility” for his team’s loss.

“Very disappointing loss,” he said. “We got to a point where we lost our aggression. When you get hit with that kind of force, you’ve got to respond with equal or greater force, and we just didn’t do it soon enough.”

Tim Hardaway Jr., who had 16 points on the night, said it was a great lesson for Dallas.

“They were just taking it to us. Before you knew it, they cut the lead to 10 and then cut the lead to five,” he said. “It shows that whenever you’re up that much, you can’t let up, you can’t back down from the competition, you can’t ease yourself into the win because the game isn’t even over yet.”

The Raptors, who lost 110-102 in Dallas on Nov. 16, raced out to an early 12-point lead, thanks largely to the Mavericks’ poor shooting in the quarter — 21.7 per cent. But the Mavs started to find their shooting groove toward the end of the frame, and pulled to within 20-17 heading into the second.

Toronto struggled mightily in the second quarter, connecting on just one of seven shots from behind the arc. Porzingis’s three with just under four minutes left in the half capped a 16-2 Mavericks run that put the visitors up by eight points.

The Mavs had possession for just 4.1 seconds to end the half, but Porzingis still managed to launch a 30-footer at the buzzer, and Dallas headed into halftime with a 51-42 lead.

The Raptors are in Indianapolis against the Pacers on Monday, then return home to host the Boston Celtics on Christmas day.

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Maple Leafs place veteran forward Jason Spezza on waivers – CBC.ca

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The Toronto Maple Leafs placed veteran forward Jason Spezza and goaltender Aaron Dell on waivers Sunday.

Spezza, 37, skated in all three games so far this season and registered one assist while averaging 7:44 of ice time.

He signed a one-year deal for the league minimum of $700,000  USin October, hoping for one more shot at winning his first Stanley Cup with his hometown team.

Spezza has scored 941 points (341 goals, 600 assists) in 1,126 career games with the Ottawa Senators (2002-14), Dallas Stars (2014-19) and Maple Leafs. He tallied 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 58 games in his first season with Toronto in 2019-20.

Spezza was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 NHL draft by Ottawa.

Dell, 31, has not played yet for the Maple Leafs. He signed a one-year, $800,000 contract in October following four seasons with the San Jose Sharks.

He compiled a 48-34-12 record with a 2.76 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in 107 games (89 starts) for the Sharks from 2016-20.

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Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes ruled out vs. Browns due to concussion – Sportsnet.ca

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was knocked out of the divisional-playoff game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday with a concussion in the third quarter.

Mahomes tucked the ball on a quarterback option with 7:27 left in the third quarter and tried to reach the first-down marker on third-and-1 near midfield. He was brought down hard by Browns linebacker Mack Wilson, who had managed to get ahold of him around his helmet. Mahomes was wobbly when he got up and had to be helped from the field, then was checked briefly in the blue tent on the sideline before jogging into the Kansas City locker room.

Chad Henne entered the game for Mahomes, who had been hobbling for much of the game after hurting his foot in the first quarter. Henne played the entirety of Kansas City’s loss to the Chargers in Week 17, when coach Andy Reid sat Mahomes and several other starts with the No. 1 seed and first-round playoff bye already secured.

Henne led the Chiefs to a field goal that made it 22-10 with 4:24 left in the third quarter. Henne went down the tunnel to check on Mahomes when the third quarter ended.

The Chiefs announced early in the fourth quarter that Mahomes will not return.

Meanwhile, the Browns lost left tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. to an ankle injury and his backup, Kendall Lamm, to an elbow injury, forcing them to turn to Blake Hance. Hance was signed from the Jets practice squad on Jan. 2 to provide some depth to an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries and COVID-19 since the start of the new year.

Hance made his NFL debut in the fourth quarter of their wild-card win over Pittsburgh.

Wills remained down after Nick Chubb’s carry on the Browns’ first offensive play of the game before limping to the sideline with help from the training staff. He was listed as questionable to return before being ruled out at halftime.

Lamm was replaced at the start of the second half, helping the Browns drive 77 yards for a touchdown.

The injuries to the two left tackles made it even more important that Jack Conklin was active. The All-Pro right tackle had been questionable after hurting his hamstring in last week’s wild-card win in Pittsburgh.

The depth of the Browns offensive line has been decimated this season. Backups Chris Hubbard, Nick Harris and Michael Dunn are all out with season-ending injuries.

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Report: Bills Fans Donate More Than $150K to Lamar Jackson's Favorite Charity – Sports Illustrated

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Following the conclusion of the Buffalo Bills’ 17-3 victory over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night, over 5,500 Bills fans have donated more than $150,000 to Lamar Jackson’s preferred charity, the Louisville, chapter of Blessings in a Backpack.

On Saturday night, a Bills fan on Reddit shared that he donated $25 to Jackson’s favorite charity, an organization that works to feed elementary school children who are in need on weekends.

The donations appeared to continue overnight and into Sunday where it has reportedly reached more than six-figures of money raised.

“It started around 11:30 last night and our donation box just started flooding with donations from Bills fans for Lamar. It’s just been overwhelming—in the best possible way,” Nikki Grizzle of “Blessings in a Backpack,” told ESPN.

This isn’t the first time that Bills fans have rallied behind a singular cause following a football game. In 2017, Bills Mafia performed a similar gesture to Andy Dalton’s foundation, raising more than $415,000. Earlier this season, Bills fans also donated thousands of dollars to Oishei Children’s Hospital after it was announced that quarterback Josh Allen’s grandmother had died.

Ravens offensive lineman Bradley Bozeman, the Ravens’ Walter Payton Man of the Year, also tweeted on Sunday that Bills fans had donated to his organization overnight. 

The Bills are set to take on the winner of Sunday’s Browns-Chiefs game in the AFC championship.

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