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Siakam, Trent help Raptors overwhelm depleted Spurs

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The Canadian Press

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Pascal Siakam had 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds in just 28 minutes, and the Toronto Raptors beat depleted San Antonio 143-100 on Wednesday night, the Spurs’ worst home loss in franchise history.

“I think we just played really hard,” Toronto forward O.G. Anunoby said. “No matter what we see, we just try to go out there and play hard.”

San Antonio was without starters Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, and reserves Isaiah Roby and Blake Wesley. The Spurs also sat rookie forward Jeremy Sochan early in the second quarter due to restricted minutes after a one-game absence with flulike symptoms.

Gary Trent Jr. scored 24 points for the Raptors, who were without All-Star guard Fred VanVleet but had plenty left for their largest margin of victory, a season high in points and a season-high 23 turnovers forced.

“They are really good at that (defensive pressure),” Spurs forward Keita Bates-Diop said. “They switch 1 through 5 and get in the passing lanes. We’ve got to get better at moving off the ball. That’s a really good veteran team. That was a good test for us. That is probably the best team we have played all season.”

Bates-Diop had 17 points. He was the only Spurs starter in double figures.

The Raptors’ length and athleticism disrupted the Spurs from tipoff. Toronto opened the game with a pair of breakaway, one-handed dunks by Anunoby and Scottie Barnes off a steal and a defensive rebound.

The Spurs had four turnovers in the opening three minutes and the Raptors had five dunks in the first seven minutes.

After trailing by 11 points, the Spurs rallied to cut the Raptors’ lead to 32-31 at the close of the first quarter. San Antonio took its first lead 27 seconds into the second on Jakob Poeltl’s layup.

Toronto would quickly reestablish control, expanding its lead to 48 points in the second half.

Siakam was 10 for 19 from the field while sitting out the final quarter.

“Pascal has a great command of what he’s seeing and what he’s doing,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. “He’s into plays and he’s creating a lot of easy opportunities for himself. He’s making the move to get really clear of shots.”

The Raptors had 76 points in the paint and 39 fast-break points.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Toronto’s previous season high was a 30-point victory against Atlanta on Oct. 31. … VanVleet missed his second straight game due to lower back stiffness. … Raptors F Chris Boucher and Spurs G Josh Richardson were each issued a technical foul with 6:19 remaining in the first half. Players and officials came between the pair after they got entangled while running up the court.

Spurs: San Antonio’s previous largest home loss was 37 points against Phoenix on May 15, 2021. … Johnson was initially listed as questionable with right calf tightness. … San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich had his arm around Sochan’s waist and gave the rookie forward a nudge to go to the back with 7:20 left in the first half. Sochan seemed fine but frustrated. He did not return. … Vassell missed his fourth straight game with a sore left knee. … An MRI on Tuesday confirmed Wesley has a Grade 3 left MCL sprain. No determination has been made on the rookie point guard’s return, but that injury generally results in a player missing six to eight weeks. … Roby sat out with flulike symptoms.

UP NEXT

Raptors: At Dallas on Friday.

Spurs: Close a four-game homestand Friday against Los Angeles Clippers.

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Juan Brunetta has a goal and an assist to lead Liga MX All-Stars over MLS All-Stars 4-1

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Juan Brunetta and Maximiliano Meza scored a minute apart in the second half, and Mexico’s Liga MX All-Stars beat the Major League Soccer All-Stars 4-1 in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday night.

Brunetta (Tigres) scored in transition in the 68th minute to make it 3-1 and set up Meza (Monterrey) soon after in front of a record crowd of 20,931 at Lower.com Field.

It was the first MLS All-Star Game victory for Liga MX in three tries. The MLS All-Stars won in 2022 and won on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw a year earlier.

“It was an incredible game,” Liga MX coach Andre Jardine said. “There were a lot of high-level players. It was a tight game. Both teams definitely came out to play. In the second half they came out with a lot of great names as well. I was a bit surprised. It was a bit difficult, especially in the first 15 minutes, but we had to adjust and ultimately it was a great game.”

There were plenty of big names on the field, but the absence of the brightest and biggest one took some luster out of the event. The league announced Monday that Inter Miami forward Lionel Messi was unable to play because of ligament damage in his right ankle.

The 2022 World Cup champion was injured while playing for Argentina in its victory over Colombia in the Copa America final on July 14.

Fans cheered when Columbus forwards combined to tie the match 1-all in the 17th minute, about a minute after Germán Berterame (Monterrey) scored for Mexico on a header.

From the left flank, Diego Rossi found Crew teammate Cucho Hernandez racing unmarked down the middle of the box for the equalizer.

“Unbelievable for me to score in front of my home fans,” Hernandez said.

Oussama Idrissi (Pachuca) made it 2-1 in the 41st with a strike from the top of the penalty area.

MLS had two chances to tie it in the 63rd when Riqui Puig (Los Angeles Galaxy) hit the crossbar and on the follow, Luca Orellano (Cincinnati) was denied on a goal-line clearance by Unai Bilbao (Tijuana).

Minutes later, Liga MX put the game out of reach.

MLS recognized the revival of the Columbus market by awarding it the All-Star Game. The Crew, a 1996 charter member, were threatened in the fall of 2017 with relocation to Austin, Texas, by then-owner Anthony Precourt.

A grassroots movement called Save the Crew drew international attention and helped persuade Cleveland Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam to buy the team and keep it in Columbus.

The Crew won the MLS Cup in 2020 and 2023, reached the final of the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup and opened Lower.com Field in 2021, where there have been 28 straight sellouts for MLS matches.

“It shows everyone the courage of the owner,” Crew and MLS All-Stars coach Wilfried Nancy said. “Listen, this is a representation of what Columbus is and the passion for the soccer.”

The All-Star squad had five Crew players. Hernandez and Rossi were joined by midfielder Darlington Nagbe and defenders Rudy Camacho and Steven Moreira.

UP NEXT

MLS and Liga MX continue the rivalry with the start of the Leagues Cup on Friday All 47 teams will compete in a World Cup-style format, with the championship match on Aug. 25. There will be 77 matches in the United States and Canada. Inter Miami is the defending Leagues Cup champion.

___

AP soccer:

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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Chelsea salvages 2-2 tie with Wrexham in friendly at Levi’s Stadium

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Lesley Ugochukwu scored in the 82nd minute to help Chelsea salvage a 2-2 tie with Wrexham in a friendly match Wednesday night at Levi’s Stadium.

Ugochukwu rolled a shot from the middle of the box through traffic into the right corner.

Wrexham took a 2-1 lead when Jack Marriot scored on a counterattack in the 72nd minute.

Luke Bolton also scored for Wrexham, the Welsh team co-owned by Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds that was promoted this year to the third tier of English soccer.

Christopher Nkunku scored first for Chelsea in the perennial Premier League power’s first pre-season match and its first under manager, Enzo Maresca, the former Leicester City manager.

Nkunku fired a shot from the middle of the box into the left corner of the net past goalie Arthur Okonkwo in the 35th minute off an assist from Marc Guiu after a corner kick.

Wrexham tied it in the 58th minute when Bolton scored from the right wing off an assist from Sebastian Revan, who connected with Bolton on a crossing pass.

Chelsea goalkeeper Robert Sanchez blocked a breakaway shot from James McLean in the 29th minute.

Chelsea beat Wrexham 5-0 in a friendly last season.

UP NEXT

Wrexham: Visits the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.

Chelsea: Plays the Celtic on Saturday at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

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Preseason Opener: Enzo Maresca’s Chelsea Takes on Wrexham

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Welcome to the first match of the summer, the first preseason game, and the first chance to see Enzo Maresca’s Chelsea in action. While the main focus today is on fitness, this game will undoubtedly spark analysis and excitement among fans.

Football, sort of, is back! Let’s see how the teams line up for this highly anticipated friendly.

Chelsea Starting XI:

  • Sánchez
  • James (c)
  • Tosin
  • Badiashile
  • Colwill
  • Lavia
  • Chukwuemeka
  • Nkunku
  • Madueke
  • Guiu
  • George

Substitutes:

  • Beach
  • Bergström
  • W. Fofana
  • Veiga
  • Acheampong
  • Gusto
  • Chilwell
  • Santos
  • Ugochukwu
  • Sterling
  • Ângelo
  • Broja

Wrexham Starting XI:

  • Okonkwo
  • Cleworth
  • Brunt
  • O’Connor
  • Bolton
  • Jones
  • Dobson
  • Lee
  • Revan
  • Palmer
  • McClean (c)

Substitutes:

  • Howard
  • Burton
  • Boyle
  • Barnett
  • James
  • Forde
  • Evans
  • Ashfield
  • Cannon
  • Davies
  • Bickerstaff
  • Waters
  • Dalby
  • Marriott

Match Details:

  • Date / Time: Wednesday, July 24, 7pm PDT; 3am BST (next day); 7:30am IST (next day)
  • Venue: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA, USA
  • On TV: ESPN (USA); none (UK); elsewhere
  • Streaming: ESPN+ (USA); Chelsea TV (int’l pay-per-view)

Both teams will be eager to test their tactics and players ahead of the upcoming season. Chelsea fans are particularly excited to see how new manager Enzo Maresca will shape the team, while Wrexham supporters are keen to see their team perform against top-tier opposition.

Let’s see how the starting formation and tactics unfold as we get a first glimpse of what’s to come this season. Stay tuned for an exciting game!ea

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