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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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Golf-Olympic gold medallist Schauffele pumped for Zozo Championship in Japan



AmericanXander Schauffele returns this week for the Zozo Championship in Japan nearly two and half months after winning the gold medal at the Tokyo Games and the 27-year-old said he is looking to grab a “special” victory at the PGA Tour event.

The tournament returns to Japan at the Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club on Thursday after last year’s edition was moved to California due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The $9.95 million event will feature Asia’s first Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, two-time major winner Collin Morikawa and Schauffele, who won gold for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics in August with a one-stroke victory.

Schauffele, whose grandparents reside in Japan, said winning at the Zozo Championship would be a huge honour for his family.

“I’m very excited,” Schauffele, who also won the Ryder Cup with the United States last month, said on Wednesday.

“Winning here would be really cool. It would be really special to sort of win twice in Japan, especially since I don’t live here.

“I think it would be a huge honour for my family if I was able to do that and I’m going to do my best this week.”

American Morikawa, whose father is of Japanese descent, said he is looking forward to playing in front of an energetic crowd with 5,000 spectators allowed each day.

“These are some of the best fans,” Morikawa said. “I remember my first tee shot out here two years ago when there were fans on stools and lined up five, six people deep.

“They would cheer for you walking to tee boxes, hitting every tee shot whether it’s good or bad.

“They bring so much energy. I’ve said it since we returned from COVID, it’s just really good to see people out here again.”


(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; editing by Kim Coghill)

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NHL suspends Evander Kane for 21 games over COVID-19 vaccination status – Global News



The NHL has suspended San Jose Sharks forward Evander Kane for 21 games for submitting a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

The league on Monday announced the suspension without pay and said Kane will not be eligible to play until Nov. 30 at New Jersey. Kane will forfeit about US$1.68 million of his US$7 million salary for this season with the money going to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The league also announced that a concurrent investigation into allegations of sexual and physical abuse made against Kane by his estranged wife, Anna, could not be substantiated.

“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the San Jose Sharks organization, and all Sharks fans for violating the NHL COVID protocols,” Kane said in a statement. “I made a mistake, one I sincerely regret and take responsibility for. During my suspension, I will continue to participate in counseling to help me make better decisions in the future. When my suspension is over, I plan to return to the ice with great effort, determination, and love for the game of hockey.”

Read more:
Sharks’ Kane denies game fixing allegations from wife

The Sharks have not said what Kane’s status will be after the investigations. Kane had not been around the team since the start of training camp while these investigations were ongoing in an agreement between him and the team.

“While we are encouraged by Evander’s commitment to moving forward, we are extremely disappointed by his disregard for the health and safety protocols put in place by the NHL and the NHLPA,” the team said in a statement. “We will not be commenting further on Evander’s status prior to the conclusion of the NHL’s mandated suspension.”

Kane had previously been cleared by the NHL in an investigation into allegations made by Anna Kane that he bet on hockey games, including some against the Sharks.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton Oilers fans enter Rogers Place for 1st time amid new COVID-19 protocols'

Edmonton Oilers fans enter Rogers Place for 1st time amid new COVID-19 protocols

Edmonton Oilers fans enter Rogers Place for 1st time amid new COVID-19 protocols – Sep 28, 2021

But the league did determine that Kane violated the COVID-19 protocols. A person familiar with the investigation said earlier this month that the league was looking into allegations that Kane submitted a fake vaccination card. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details weren’t made public.

Using a fake vaccination card is illegal in both the United States and Canada, as well as against NHL rules.

Read more:
Winnipeg Jets Captain Blake Wheeler goes into NHL’s COVID-19 Protocols

Commissioner Gary Bettman said last week that only four players on active rosters hadn’t been vaccinated.

Kane, 30, is three seasons into a $49 million, seven-year contract. He’s with his third organization after being drafted by and debuting with Atlanta/Winnipeg and a stint in Buffalo.

Last season, he had 22 goals and 27 assists in 56 games.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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2021–22 NBA Season Predictions: MVP, championship picks and more –



The 2021-22 NBA season gets going Tuesday night.

Returning to a regular 82-game schedule after last season’s 72-game affair, and many teams who appear poised and ready to chase after a ring, this could be one of the most wide-open seasons in recent memory.

There are, of course, the true powerhouses and bottom-feeders in the league. But heading into this new season, it looks like there could be more teams than usual who make the leap up into true contender status.

In an attempt to make sense of what could come, Sportsnet polled some of its basketball experts to try to predict some of the major award winners and who will win it all.

Sixth Man of the Year

Donnovan Bennett, staff writer and digital host: Jordan Poole, Golden State Warriors
Michael Grange, senior basketball insider: Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets
William Lou, Raptors Show host on Sportsnet 590 The FAN: Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
Steven Loung, NBA section editor: Patty Mills, Brooklyn Nets
Blake Murphy, co-host of the FAN Morning Show on Sportsnet 590 The FAN: Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz
Eric Smith, Raptors play-by-play announcer on Sportsnet 590 The FAN: Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz

Coach of the Year

Bennett: Ime Udoka, Boston Celtics
Grange: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
Lou: Nick Nurse, Toronto Raptors
Loung: Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets
Murphy: Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets
Smith: Steve Nash, Brooklyn Nets

Most Improved Player

Bennett: Chris Boucher, Toronto Raptors
Grange: OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
Lou: Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
Loung: Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets
Murphy: Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
Smith: Michael Porter Jr., Denver Nuggets

Defensive Player of the Year

Bennett: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Grange: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Lou: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Loung: Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Murphy: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Smith: Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz

Rookie of the Year

Bennett: Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic
Grange: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Lou: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Loung: Jalen Green, Houston Rockets
Murphy: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons
Smith: Cade Cunningham, Detroit Pistons


Bennett: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
Grange: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
Lou: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets
Loung: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
Murphy: Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
Smith: Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

Biggest sleeper team

Bennett: Chicago Bulls
Grange: Golden State Warriors
Lou: Toronto Raptors
Loung: Golden State Warriors
Murphy: Cleveland Cavaliers
Smith: Golden State Warriors

Finals matchup

Bennett: Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors
Grange: Milwaukee Bucks vs. Golden State Warriors
Lou: Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Loung: Brooklyn Nets vs. Golden State Warriors
Murphy: Brooklyn Nets vs. Denver Nuggets

NBA champion

Bennett: Golden State Warriors
Grange: Milwaukee Bucks
Lou: Brooklyn Nets
Loung: Brooklyn Nets
Murphy: Brooklyn Nets

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