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Raptors rediscover shooting touch in laugher against Cavaliers –



Late in the third quarter Monday night, Norman Powell stretched way behind his head to connect on an alley-oop dunk from Pascal Siakam. It was Powell’s punctuation mark on another excellent outing by the Raptors guard known for his inconsistency.

Powell scored 16 of his 26 points in the third quarter, while Siakam finished with 33 points, and the Raptors cruised by the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers 133-113.

“[The ball] was kind of behind me, we were joking about it — it felt good to have a little juice in the legs still,” Powell said.

“Everybody was talking about how I was laying it up last game, and [his dunk vs. Brooklyn] wasn’t a full-blown windmill,” he added with a laugh. “So it was good to show that I’ve still got the bounce.”


Kyle Lowry notched the 110th double-double of his career with 20 points and 11 assists, pulling into a tie with Antonio Davis for third on the Raptors’ all-time list. Serge Ibaka added 14 points, while OG Anunoby chipped in with 12 for the Raptors (18-8), who were playing without injured guard Fred VanVleet for the fourth consecutive night.

WATCH | Powell powers Raptors past Cavs:

Pascal Siakam put a game-high 33 points in Toronto’s 133-113 win over Cleveland. 1:41

Powell also had six rebounds, five assists, four steals and zero turnovers, and has scored 20-plus points in back-to-back games for the first time this season.

It’s always been tough to tell what Powell would contribute on any given night. Suddenly he’s Mr. Reliable.

“Great stretch right now,” Lowry said of the fifth-year guard. “He’s shooting the ball confidently, pushing it in transition. I think he’s understanding how to play in transition a lot better now, and what we need from him.”

Collin Sexton had 25 points to top the Cavaliers (6-21), who’ve won just once in 11 games. Tristan Thompson of Brampton, Ont., finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.

The Cleveland squad that dispatched Toronto in ugly fashion in three consecutive post-seasons used to be an exciting draw in Toronto. But with their former star LeBron James now in Los Angeles, the Cavs are one of the worst teams in the league, third-last in defence, and fourth-last on the offensive end.

Surprising spark

The Raptors had their way with the Cavs on Monday. They assembled an 18-point lead in the first half and stretched it to 104-84 by the end of the third quarter, thanks in large part to Powell, who provided a big spark on what would have otherwise been a humdrum affair for the 19,800 fans at Scotiabank Arena.

“In the open floor he’s being decisive and putting the jets on and going to the rim and he’s finishing,” coach Nick Nurse said. “I think a few games ago he was looking around, trying to figure out where to go, who to throw it to and wasn’t making the right decision all the time.

“What I like is the speed at which he sees the open floor and goes for it. Reminiscent of a few years ago.”

Darius Garland’s three-pointer sliced Toronto’s lead to 11 with 4:32 to play, but that was as close as the visitors would come.

“They’re just a really good team and certainly a better team than us tonight,” said Cavs coach John Beilein.

Double-double double-take

Lowry thought he’d posted a double-double, but officials erased one of his assists. The veteran guard finally got his 10th assist on the night with a pass to Ibaka for a jump shot with 2:24 to play. Chris Bosh leads the all-time Raptors list for double-doubles with 239, followed by Jonas Valanciunas (137).

Toronto trailed for just the first minute Monday, and when Anunoby scooped up the ball from a Powell block and launched a long pass to a sprinting Siakam, who finished with an easy basket, it put Toronto up by 10. The Raptors stretched it to 18 points on a Patrick McCaw three-pointer, but the Cavs closed the quarter with a 10-0 run and Toronto led 37-29 heading into the second.

The Raptors maintained a double-digit lead in the second. Midway through the quarter, Gasol grabbed one of Cleveland’s turnovers, found McCaw heading toward the hoop with Jordan Clarkson in hot pursuit. McCaw flicked a backwards bounce pass to Powell for an easy dunk. The Raptors went into the third with a 66-54.

The Raptors visit Detroit on Wednesday then return home to host Washington on Friday before facing Dallas on Sunday.

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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada



Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.

Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation

One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.

Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.

Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures

Security is paramount when it comes to online gambling. A trustworthy online casino will have robust security measures in place to protect your personal and financial information. Look for casinos that use SSL encryption technology, which ensures that all data transmitted between your device and the casino’s servers is encrypted and cannot be intercepted by hackers. Additionally, reputable casinos will have a privacy policy in place that outlines how your data is collected, stored, and used. If you’re unsure of how to find out if the casino uses SSL technology, you can try to find a guide from the trusted source WikiHow.


Examining the Casino’s Game Selection

Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.

Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.

Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support

Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.

Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms

Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.

In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.

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Canadiens acquire Tanner Pearson, trade Casey DeSmith to Canucks



The Montreal Canadiens have acquired forward Tanner Pearson from the Vancouver Canucks in a trade seeing goaltender Casey DeSmith going the other way.

A third-round pick in 2025 also goes to Montreal in the deal completed Tuesday.

Pearson hasn’t played since suffering a broken hand last November during a game in Montreal.

Pearson, 31, had one goal and four assists in 14 games last season.


In 590 career games with the Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings, Pearson has 133 goals and 139 assists for 272 points.

The Kings picked the Barrie Colts product in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

Pearson is in the final year of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $3.25 million.

DeSmith, 32, has been with the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2017-18. He was acquired by the Canadians in a three-team deal also involving the San Jose Sharks last month.

DeSmith was 15-16-4 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .905 save percentage last season.

In 134 career games, the undrafted DeSmith is 58-44-15 with a 2.81 GAA and .912 save percentage.

DeSmith is on the final year of a two-year deal with a cap hit of $1.8 million.

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Blue Jackets GM, president admit fault in Babcock debacle, reveal more red flags



The Mike Babcock hiring has been a disaster from the beginning. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)

Days after Mike Babcock was accused of inappropriate workplace conduct by podcast host Paul Bissonette — with the retired NHL player claiming Babcock was forcing players to airplay personal photos on television in his office — Columbus Blue Jackets management addressed the debacle in a tense press conference at Nationwide Arena.

“It’s on us. It’s on me…. Sometimes you flat-out make a mistake. We made a mistake,” said Blue Jackets president of hockey ops John Davidson, per Associated Press reporter Stephen Whyno.

“Maybe they were right,” Davidson said of people who were critical of Mike Babcock’s hiring in the first place.

Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen, meanwhile. said he apologized to Blue Jackets players this morning for hiring the embattled head coach.


“I believe that Mike Babcock deserved another opportunity to coach,” Kekalainen said. “Obviously that was a mistake and that responsibility’s mine.”

Still, even with the talk of accountability, Kekalainen detailed what should’ve been a red flag: Babcock apparently pulled the same phone stunt he was accused of pulling with his players on the 57-year-old executive.

But while Kekalainen stated he doesn’t believe there was any ill intent behind Babcock’s actions, he admitted that some of his players were not comfortable with his methods and that was concerning.

Blue Jackets majority owner John H. McConnell announced in a team-issued statement Monday morning that he does not anticipate further changes to the team’s leadership, erasing speculation that one or both of Kekalainen and Davidson would end up on the chopping block alongside Babcock.

“Additional disruptions would be detrimental to our players and coaches as they prepare for the opening of training camp in two days,” McConnell’s statement read.

To say this story escalated rapidly would be the understatement of the century. Initially, it seemed like it would die quickly after both Babcock and captain Boone Jenner released statements through the team on Wednesday morning refuting the Spittin’ Chiclets host’s version of events.

Both Columbus’ captain and the now-former coach described their encounter as nothing more than a way of sharing snippets of one another’s life in an effort to build a working relationship. During an appearance on the 32 Thoughts Podcast on the same day as Jenner and Babcock condemned Bissonette’s comments, Blue Jackets star winger Johnny Gaudreau gave a similar account to Jenner when asked about his photo-exchange meet-and-greet with Babcock.

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But the story didn’t end there, obviously, with Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reporting things changed on Wednesday night when the NHLPA received information that some of the younger Blue Jackets players were uncomfortable with their interactions with Babcock.

Friedman later reported that the information gathered on Wednesday night prompted NHLPA executive director Marty Walsh and assistant executive director Ron Hainsey to begin an investigation before flying out to Columbus and leading what was described as an “intense” meeting.

On Friday, Walsh and Hainsey relayed their findings during a joint meeting with the NHL and NHLPA. Saturday was arguably the quietest day of the scandal in the public eye, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshinski, because that’s the day Columbus and Babcock started plotting his exit.

By Sunday, the Blue Jackets announced that Babcock had resigned and Pascal Vincent would be taking over as the team’s head coach.

Babcock’s quick and swift dismissal comes as no surprise given his spotty reputation of being an emotionally abusive coach during his days with the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Vincent, 51, had served as the Blue Jackets’ associate coach since the 2021-22 season. Before joining Columbus, Vincent spent 10 seasons with the Winnipeg Jets organization, serving as an NHL assistant for the first half of his tenure before pivoting to head coach of the organization’s AHL affiliate, the Manitoba Moose. Vincent was named AHL Coach Of The Year for the 2017-18 season.



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