If you found yourself having difficulty getting excited about a late January Friday night Raptors game against one of the worst teams in the NBA, I think the Toronto Raptors themselves would feel your pain.
With the least amount of effort possible, the listless Raps eventually overcame a try-hard-but-we’re-really-that-bad New York Knicks team.
These are the games I start to question, “why did I ever think writing five thoughts after every game was a good idea?” Alas.
Are the Raptors “Playing Down to the Competition”?
The Raptors are good, and the Knicks are bad, and yet this game was close into the final minute. We also saw a similar scenario play out on Monday in Atlanta. Shouldn’t this healthy Raptors squad be putting these bad teams away easily?
I do wonder if the Raptors, having climbed the highest of mountains last June, have a hard time getting up for these midseason games against bad teams. I get it, but it’s a really bad habit to get into. Sometimes the switch doesn’t get flipped so easily, for one thing, and the outcomes may not be so favourable. And if the habit carries over against good teams? That’s trouble.
Pascal Siakam came out of the gates like man possessed, with three drives and a fast-break layup in the first couple of minutes. But he didn’t get a foul call on any of those drives, and that seemed to frustrate him all night.
His energy levels definitely waned in the second quarter, but started to pick back up in the third, when he (finally) nailed a three and had an and-1, and had a nice baseline fadeaway too. And the fourth? With under two minutes to go, Siakam really picked it back up, with a late drive and an above-the-break triple to help seal the win.
It wasn’t a great Siakam game, but it was a little bit closer to the Siakam we saw earlier this season. Baby steps.
Defense Wins Championships, and January Games Against the Knicks
First, Lowry tapped a ball away from Elfrid Payton that OG nearly intercepted, but Payton recovered. A couple of plays later though, Anunoby made like a cornerback and jumped the route on a Payton pass intended for Julius Randle and took it away.
A couple of plays after that, Lowry snuck behind Randle on an inbounds play, and as Bobby Portis threw a lazy pass from the far sideline, Lowry was able to easily take away from Randle. It was Lowry’s fourth steal of the night.
The Raptors likely win even without those two steals, but, they sure did help.
I guess it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the Knicks out-rebounded the Raptors, since they employ 34 power forwards. But if the Knicks hadn’t pulled in those 14 offensive boards, which generated 28 second chance points — a number that seems almost impossible — this would have been a Raptors blowout.
A number that stands out almost as much as that 14/28 combo is 20/0. That’s how many minutes Serge Ibaka played, and how many rebounds he had. (And no, he did not get 20 rebounds in zero minutes.)
I would like to tell you that I went back and watched Serge’s minutes to figure out how he managed to avoid getting a single rebound. But I could not fathom watching any of this game again.
Just, please do better next time, Serge.
Norm Powell Dropping Dimes
Norman Powell has been a scoring machine lately, and playmaking for others remains on the back burner for him. Which is fine! But he dropped a couple dimes last night that showed us that he at least has some court vision going for him.
First, Norm threw a two handed bounce pass to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (that was alllllmost behind RHJ — gotta give a little more ooomph on the bounce Norm!) that led to a dunk.
Then he had a really nice dish to Serge Ibaka, after coming around an Ibaka screen and receiving a pass from the top of the arc. That one was clearly a set play and typically I think Powell takes that into the lane. But the Knicks’ defense is, ahem, subpar, and Ibaka was wide open on the roll — good on Norm for finding him.
The Raptors played maybe five minutes of good basketball last night, and it was enough to beat the Knicks. It won’t be enough to beat the Spurs tomorrow. Let’s hope we see a more sustained effort!
These are the other 8 victims who died in the Kobe Bryant crash – Global News
A total of nine people were killed when Bryant’s private Sikorsky S-76 helicopter went down in foggy conditions on Sunday, investigators said. The helicopter was on its way to a girls’ basketball game when it crashed.
So far, here’s what we know about the people who died with Bryant in the crash.
NBA legend Kobe Bryant killed in helicopter crash near Los Angeles
Gianna Bryant, 13, was the second-oldest of her father’s four children, all of them girls. She was commonly known as Gigi and was a rising star in girls’ basketball.
Bryant took an active role in coaching Gianna at his Mamba Sports Academy, and he once touted her as a basketball star in the making.
He told Jimmy Kimmel in an 2018 interview that he didn’t need a son to carry on his legacy because he had Gianna.
“The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans would come up to me and she’ll be standing next to me,” Bryant told Kimmel. “And they’ll be like, ‘You’ve gotta have a boy, you and (Vanessa) gotta have a boy. You gotta have somebody to carry on your tradition, the legacy.’
“She’s like, ‘Oy, I got this,’” Bryant recalled. “I’m like, ‘That’s right. Yes, you do. You got this.’”
Alyssa, Kerri and John Altobelli
Alyssa Altobelli, 13, and her parents, Kerri and John Altobelli, were also killed in the crash.
John Altobelli, 56, was the longtime head coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team in Southern California.
The college described him as a “coach, a colleague, a mentor and a friend” who had worked there for 27 years.
“He truly personified what it meant to be a baseball coach,” the school’s athletic director Jason Kehler said in a statement. “The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none — he treated them like family.”
Alyssa played on Gianna’s team at Mamba, CBS News reports. Kobe Bryant praised Alyssa’s defensive game in an Instagram video last November.
Christine Mauser, 38, was a girls’ basketball coach at a private school and a wife and mother, according to Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley.
Christina Mauser’s husband, Matt, shared his memories of her in an emotional interview with the Today show.
“It’s horrible,” he said. “I got three small kids and am trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom.”
He explained that Bryant had hand-picked his wife to be an assistant coach for Gianna’s Mamba Academy basketball team.
“He picked her because she was amazing,” Mauser said. “I was so proud of her and she was so happy.”
Christina Mauser is survived by children aged 11, nine and three.
“She was beautiful, smart, funny,” Matt Mauser said.
Sarah and Payton Chester
Sarah Chester and her middle school-aged daughter, Payton, were on the helicopter due to a break in their normal routine, Payton’s grandmother Catherine George told NBC News.
“They had to get on the helicopter as a convenience today,” George said. “They usually drove by car.”
Todd Schmidt, who was the principal at Payton’s former elementary school, described the Chester family as “engaged, supportive, encouraging and full of mischief and laughter.”
“This family made such a huge impact,” Schmidt wrote on Facebook. “While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important … Their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken.”
Friends and colleagues have identified the pilot as Ara Zobayan, the New York Times reports.
Zobayan was a longtime pilot and a dedicated flight instructor, student Darren Kemp told the Los Angeles Times. He added that Zobayan was Bryant’s private pilot whom he trusted.
“He doesn’t let anyone else fly him around but Ara,” Kemp told the L.A. Times.
Zobayan received his commercial pilot certificate in 2007, CBS reports.
—With files from The Associated Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Kobe Bryant will be inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame this year, report says – CBC.ca
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is bypassing the normal election process and making the late Kobe Bryant the first inductee of the 2020 class, The Athletic reported Monday.
“Expected to be arguably the most epic class ever with Kobe, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett,” Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said, per the report. “Kobe will be honoured the way he should be.”
Bryant, 41, died Sunday along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif.
As an 18-time all-star, a five-time NBA champion and the fourth-leading scorer in league history, Bryant was virtually assured of being elected on the first ballot in his first year of eligibility this year anyway.
The other 2020 finalists will be announced Feb. 14 during all-star weekend. The rest of the class will be announced in April at the Final Four, and Bryant’s posthumous induction will take place in Springfield, Mass., on Aug. 29.
WATCH | Raptors, Spurs honour Kobe Bryant with on-court tribute:
These 2020 Grammy Performances Were So Heartfelt, They Made Everyone Emotional – Showbiz Cheat Sheet
Over the years, viewers have gotten to witness some pretty incredible musical performances take place on The Grammys‘ stage. Some of which have left many of us speechless and are still talked about to this day.
Now that the 2020 Grammy Awards have come and gone, there are a few performances from the night that are very deserving of being added to the list of the most unforgettable and emotional moments in the award show’s history.
Lizzo kicked off the show with an emotional tribute to Kobe Bryant
Last night was a bittersweet evening as many people mourned the death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, who died the same day in a helicopter crash.
News of his tragic passing sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, leaving many fans and celebrities experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions.
With this unexpected news coming to light a few hours before the 2020 Grammy Awards, many celebs taking the stage that night decided to honor the late legend with vulnerable yet powerful performances.
Lizzo kicked off the ceremony with a showstopping performance she dedicated to Bryant. “This night is for Kobe,” she shouted before performing a medley of her hit songs, “Cuz I Love You” and “Truth Hurts.”
Oh, and we can’t forget about that impeccable flute performance!
Demi Lovato couldn’t hold back tears while performing “Anyone”
Demi Lovato made her comeback to the Grammys stage and music with an emotional performance of her new song, “Anyone,” which she penned just days before her drug overdose in July 2018.
The singer took to the stage wearing a white ballgown with only a pianist accompanying her. Just a few seconds after the song began, Lovato was overcome with emotion and ended up restarting the track as tears rolled down her face.
Lovato went on to deliver a tearful yet powerful performance that earned her a standing ovation from the audience and viewers.
Billie Eilish delivered a beautiful rendition of “When The Party’s Over”
In addition to being the night’s biggest winner, Billie Eilish also gave one of the most incredible performances of the evening with her intimate rendition of “When The Party’s Over” from her debut album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?.
The singer took the stage and wowed fans with her beautiful vocals as her brother/ producer, Finneas O’Connell, played the dreamy tune on the piano.
No one could seem to take their eyes off of her as she poured herself into the emotions of every lyric while giving the most heartfelt performance of her career.
Camila Cabello’s heartfelt tribute to her dad
Just when we thought we cried enough during the 2020 Grammy Awards, Camila Cabello goes and delivers an emotional performance that made everyone watching shed a tear or two.
Before the show aired, The Grammys teased that Cabello would be performing a song dedicated to a “special man” in her life.
While many of us thought the song would be all about her boyfriend, Shawn Mendes, the emotional track turned out to be all about her father.
During her performance, the former Fifth Harmony member belted out the lyrics, which shined a light on the special relationship she has with the first man who’s ever loved her.
As she sang, home videos of the father-daughter duo played in the background. Near the end, Cabello walked up to her dad, who had tears streaming down his face, and sang the last few verses.
After wrapping her performance, Cabello and her father embraced as the audience wiped tears from their eyes.
Nipsey Hussle remembered during a powerful tribute
Toward the end of the night, John Legend, DJ Khaled, Meek Mill, Kirk Franklin, Roddy Ricch, and YG took to the Grammys stage to give a heartfelt performance paying homage to Nipsey Hussle, who tragically passed away in March 2019 after being gunned down in Los Angeles.
“Long live Nipsey Hussle,” Khaled said as he took the stage, encouraging the audience to rise to their feet. Legend then accompanied Khaled on piano for a performance of Hussle’s posthumous track “Higher.”
The performance ended with images of Hussle of NBA star Kobe Bryant projected on the screen and Khaled sharing a few heartfelt words honoring their legacies.
“Rest in peace, Nispey Nussle. Rest in Peace Kobe Bryant,” the DJ said. “Long live Nip. Long live Kobe. The marathon continues.”
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