Siakam’s return isn’t enough to get Raptors past Nets – Raptors Republic
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Sunday afternoon marked the 2021-22 debut for Pascal Siakam. Siakam underwent shoulder surgery in June and missed the team’s first 10 games this year.
Following the game, Siakam said of his return, “it felt good. First time in a long time.”
Nick Nurse said that he would be on a minutes restriction and the Raptors forward finished yesterday’s game right at 25 minutes played.
Siakam’s road back to the court wasn’t easy, but he said his ability to return showed that he is “made of something.”
Siakam was immediately inserted into the starting lineup as Toronto embraced positionless basketball to the fullest.
Overall, he looked rusty at times, as expected when coming off an extended layoff. However, he hit his first shot of the season and was close to his usual self on the defensive end of the floor.
“I thought Pascal, for conditioning … didn’t look bad,” Nurse said after the game.
Nurse’s choice of starters (Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr, OG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, and Siakam) was interesting. However, neither Khem Birch nor Precious Achiuwa has separated in the competition for center minutes.
So rather than trying to decide whether Siakam or Barnes was better suited to come off the bench, Nurse opted just to put both on the floor.
The length and versatility that an Anunoby, Barnes, and Siakam frontcourt provides the Raptors are tantalizing. As Siakam gets closer to All-Star form, that group could help keep Toronto in playoff contention.
VanVleet is another reason that Toronto is exceeding preseason expectations.
When the Raptors closed the first half, it was VanVleet who was the driving force. He pushed the pace and helped Toronto take advantage of the Brooklyn Nets’ porous transition defense.
He finished the game with 21 points and eight assists, continuing his solid start to his first year as the team’s orchestrator.
VanVleet believes that the team is more cohesive this year, which has helped them play well out of the gates and ease the process of bringing Siakam back along.
“Our chemistry is a little bit better. We’re a little bit tighter,” VanVleet said.
Yet, the combined firepower of James Harden (28 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists) and Kevin Durant (31 points, seven rebounds, seven assists) proved too much in the end.
Harden and Durant made it known that they were anticipating the energy from the Raptors crowd.
This was Durant’s first game in Toronto since he ruptured his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals.
Brooklyn outscored Toronto in the first (29-26), third (35-17), and fourth (28-26) quarters. In those three quarters, Durant and Harden powered the Nets offense.
Durant scored 12 points in the first and 13 points in the third, while Harden clinched the game with 16 points in the fourth.
Toronto’s defense made life difficult for both, but great offense beats excellent defense at a certain point.
Barnes, Anunoby, Trent Jr., and Siakam all spent time on each superstar. Still, Brooklyn did a good job of using ball screens to force the Raptors into switches and provide Durant and Harden the opportunity to work against lesser defenders.
Despite the loss, this game should be looked at as a feather in the Raptor’s cap.
The second quarter, in which Toronto won 34-24, showcased the possibilities of this year’s team.
Nurse agreed. “I think the second quarter — that’s how you’d draw up what it had to look like,” Nurse said.
The length and athleticism were on full display. Barnes had a three-possession sequence late in the second, where he forced three turnovers.
First, he picked up Harden full court and hounded him until he had to pass to Joe Harris as an outlet, and then picked off Harris’ pass back. Next, he sprung a trap onto Durant as he attempted to post up VanVleet and knocked the ball away. Finally, in what is easily the most Barnes highlight of the season, he snatched the ball right out of Durant’s hands.
“We were everywhere,” Nurse said, “Every time somebody turned, somebody else was there, and then we were out and running.”
Nobody thought they would have gotten off to the start they have, and even though the final score looks a little one-sided, Toronto was right in the game until the very end.
A healthy and rehabbed Siakam could jumpstart this team to the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference, which looks a little more open than many thought through the first few weeks.
Canadiens Prospect Owen Beck Clutch At Memorial Cup – Montreal Hockey Now
Montreal Canadiens prospect Owen Beck has enjoyed a rather wild ride since the OHL playoffs started.
Not only did the Peterborough Petes, who finished the regular season with just 74 points, eliminate the league-leading Ottawa 67’s and the powerhouse London Knights to capture the OHL Championship, but thanks to their never-say-die attitude, they managed to once again avoid elimination at the Memorial Cup.
Before we get into the game details, which include a fantastic drive to the net by Beck to set up the game-winning goal, I’d like to once again take to my soapbox to discuss the entertainment value provided by Junior hockey.
I’ll keep it short, this time, I promise.
However, in exchange for not rambling at length about the unmatched excitement you’ll witness during most games, I need you to make an honest effort to catch a Junior hockey game at your local rink.
It’s easily the best bang for your hard-earned buck available when it comes to hockey.
You won’t be disappointed.
Beck Plays The Hero
The tie-break game between the Petes and the Kamloops Blazers featured everything you look for in a hockey game.
There were dramatic goals, great saves, momentum swings, big hits, and for those who partake in the sweet science, a rather nasty knock-out punch by New Jersey Devils prospect Chase Stillman.
We’ve got a fight at the #MemorialCup!
Chase Stillman obliterates Matt Seminoff with a big hit (charged), then obliterates Caedan Bankier in a fight.
Big knockout punch for the Petes forward. pic.twitter.com/2J4JnSTL6T
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 2, 2023
Despite allowing the Petes to score first, the Blazers quickly took control of the game by scoring four answered goals. As exciting as Peterborough’s Cinderella run had been, it seemed inevitable that their fun had come to an end.
They needed a little magic.
And they got it from New York Rangers prospect Brendan Othmann, who cut the lead to 4-2 thanks to a fantastic individual effort midway through the second period. Peterborough then quickly tied the game following goals from Samuel Mayer and Brian Zanetti.
New York Rangers prospect Brendan Othmann scores for the Petes after a great individual effort.
Cuts the Kamloops lead to 4-2. #MemorialCup pic.twitter.com/kvZxsnPY9X
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 2, 2023
Both teams played a very safe style of play in the third period, giving the Petes, who have now played a total of 96 games this season, an opportunity to play the underdog role to perfection once again.
And that’s where Beck, who had been quiet up to that point, took matters into his own hands.
The cerebral Canadiens prospect cut through the neutral zone, using his speed and positioning to open up a lane toward the net.
Everyone in the building expected Beck to shoot, which would have been a reasonable decision considering he was in a high-danger shooting area.
But Beck, who had drawn the attention of both Blazers defencemen, knew his teammate, JR Avon, had plenty of time and space to take a shot that had a better chance of fooling Dylan Ernst.
It was a play that combined offensive awareness, great skating, vision, and anticipation, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect from an intelligent prospect such as Beck.
WHAT A GAME!#GoHabsGo prospect Owen Beck drives the net, draws the defenders, and sets up JR Avon for the game-winning goal.
Peterborough simply refused to die.
The Petes will face Jared Davidson and the Seattle Thunderbirds in the #MemorialCup semifinal. pic.twitter.com/BYpBTDuj6X
— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) June 2, 2023
On The Docket
Beck’s heroics have set up a Canadiens prospect vs. Canadiens prospect semifinal at the Memorial Cup.
The Petes, who seem to have been blessed by hockey gods, will face Jared Davidson and the Seattle Thunderbirds on Friday.
The puck drop for this must-see event is scheduled for 10 PM ET.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Treliving Hiring Shows Shanahan's Incompetence – Editor in Leaf
The problem isn’t that Brad Treliving is the newest GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but instead, it’s Brendan Shanahan’s explanation of it.
As previously mentioned, Brad Treliving is a good executive with a long hockey career, but he never should have been hired as the Toronto Maple Leafs GM.
Reports already indicate that the core-four will remain the same next year, which is fine, but why hire someone new if they’re going to do the same thing and not at least scare the roster that they could be moved?
A new GM is supposed to ignite change and bring a new approach to the game. It’s not someone who’s just going to re-do the job that Kyle Dubas just did.
When Shanahan fired Dubas, he wanted someone who had experience, which is what Treliving brings, but it’s not like he has a ton of winning experience. He’s never been to a Stanley Cup Finals before and only advanced to the second round twice in nine years in Calgary, so what’s really the difference between him and Dubas?
Nothing, at least not in terms of experience or success.
The only difference is that Shanahan is a bitter old-man who was scared that the young buck in Dubas was getting too much attention and that he might take his job one day.
Toronto Maple Leafs: New GM Brings Nothing Different From Dubas
If you look across the league, it’s crazy how much esteem Dubas has. By the way Shanahan described Dubas during his firing, it’s like he was only in the league for 10 minutes and didn’t have the respect of his peers.
Shanahan’s statement was actually hilarious when you compare his words to what other people have said about Dubas. Here’s what Shanahan said during his press conference:
“Treliving earned tremendous respect during his time in the NHL and built excellent relationships … We are confident that Brad’s leadership and strategic vision will elevate the Maple Leafs in our continued pursuit of a championship.”
As for Dubas, if you read Pierre LeBruns’ article in The Athletic last week, the same words were essentially said about him, here are some quotes from that article:
- Jarmo Kekalainen (Columbus Blue Jackets): “I have the utmost respect for Kyle, both as a professional and as a person. He’s always a straight shooter to deal with. No bulls—. Just an all-around really good person and a professional. All our discussions were straightforward and analytical. I think he has a very thorough approach to everything; you have to be prepared when you talk to him because he’s going to look at things from every angle. I have a lot of respect for him.”
- Bill Zito (Florida Panthers) : “Obviously, a very bright man. And a guy that I have a lot of faith in his character. He’s a guy you could do a deal with. And if it wasn’t papered, you could tell the (player) go ahead get on the plane. As an agent, we used to say if you did a deal with a GM and you didn’t have a contract back yet, would you send your player on the plane? That’s a level of respect I have for Kyle’s integrity. Obviously, I’m very fond of him. I think he did a hell of a job there.”
- The GMs of Nashville, Tampa and Edmonton were all quoted as saying really nice things about him as well.
All of these old-school and experienced GM’s said nothing but great things about Dubas, yet the Leafs didn’t want him. They explained all of the attributes that Shanahan wanted in a GM, yet they decided to move on and hire Treliving instead.
Shanahan took a bitter approach and gassed one of the most thoughtful and intelligent hockey minds of this generation and instead hired a guy who hasn’t doesn’t seem to be an improvement in any way.
No disrespect to Treliving because I think he’s going to do a fine job, but the explanation of Dubas’ firing gets dumber with every second and continues to show the incompetence of Shanahan as the President of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
How much are Stanley Cup Final tickets? – ESPN – ESPN
The Stanley Cup Final will return to Las Vegas and South Florida for the Florida Panthers vs. the Vegas Golden Knights. For fans of the Knights, who reached the Stanley Cup Final in 2018, tickets to the first two games at T-Mobile Arena are a bit cheaper this time around.
The average price for a ticket to Game 1 is $763, according to Vivid Seats data. In 2018, during the franchise’s first trip to the Final, the average was $1,062. That was the highest in recent years for a team making its Final debut or returning after a long drought. Last year’s Game 1 between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche had an average price of $1,052. The Avalanche, who hosted Game 1, were playing their first Final game since 2001. When the St. Louis Blues hosted their first Final game in decades in 2019, the average was $869.
For Saturday’s opening game, the lowest-priced available ticket is going for $405 on the Knights’ website, while TickPick lists a no-view, standing room only ticket for $311. The most expensive ticket is $9,750. These prices don’t reflect taxes or fees.
For Game 3, the Panthers’ first Stanley Cup Final home game since 1996, the average price for a ticket at FLA Live Arena is $628, according to Vivid Seats. At Ticketmaster, the Panthers’ ticket-seller, the lowest-priced ticket is $538. The most expensive ticket is reselling for $9,000 before taxes and fees. The average price for Game 4 is a bit higher at $689.
If the series goes to seven games, fans might need some extra casino winnings to get into the arena. Prices via the Knights’ website range from about $900 to $25,000.
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