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Why Raptors could utilize ‘jumbo’ lineup for Game 2 vs. Celtics –



TORONTO – The Toronto Raptors aren’t the happiest bunch right now.

A day after getting bopped by 18 points in Game 1 of their second-round series with the Boston Celtics, the Raptors were back at practice and not feeling all too pleased with their performance on Sunday.

“I mean the mood’s not good. We’re not happy and we’re a little pissed off and we should be,” said Raptors coach Nick Nurse on Monday afternoon. “We’re not proud of anything we did yesterday.”

Harsh, but fair words from the Raptors bench boss.

In Game 1, the Raptors only shot 36.9 per cent from the field and 25 per cent from three-point range as the Celtics defence came as suffocating as advertised in the lead-up to the series.

Still, as good as the Celtics’ defence is, it was still aided by an all-around dreadful performance by the Raptors, and they know it.

“We just didn’t play good. Sometimes it’s that simple,” said Raptors guard Fred VanVleet. “We didn’t really do anything good enough to win the game, and they did. They were the better team. We weren’t moving fast enough, weren’t playing hard enough, didn’t make enough shots, didn’t execute the game plan. Like, you name it, we didn’t do it.”

But is it really that simple?

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According to Nurse, while there are certainly adjustments that need to be made, the biggest one is likely just more energy.

“We didn’t bring it, man. We weren’t running hard,” said Nurse. “It was like we were playing uphill both directions. Right? We weren’t running hard back, we weren’t running hard forward. We weren’t cutting hard. There was a speed and energy problem that I think was — it was a physical problem, which I think was created by our mental state, which wasn’t right.”

Not being in the right mindset is understandable given the emotional nature of the week that was that preceded the Raptors’ second-round opener with the Celtics. But at the same time, Boston was dealing with it exactly the same, too, and it came out like a house on fire Sunday.

There are many valid concerns with the Raptors after Game 1, such as their inability to get out in transition and the poor job they did of defending the corner three – according to, the Celtics were 10-of-15 on corner-three attempts alone.

Thankfully for the Raptors, however, bouncing back in the face of adversity is something they’ve gotten used to. This was a team that still managed to finish with the NBA’s second-best record despite being among the most injured teams in the league and went down 0-2 to the Milwaukee Bucks last year before recording four straight wins to reach the NBA Finals.

This group has proven before that it can fight its way out of a corner.

“I think that’s just when you draw on your experience a little bit. We’ve all been in these positions. We’ve been on the good side. We’ve been on the bad side. We understand the ups and downs that come with the playoffs,” said VanVleet. “A lot of our guys in the rotation have been battle-tested. You understand that there’s gonna be a game like that probably. You hope that it doesn’t come. But it did. Now it’s our job to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”

Added Nurse: “I’d much rather be holding hands and skipping rope after a win, but again, this is where we find ourselves…. I mean, listen, we’ve certainly been punched squarely in the nose and we’ve got to stand up and either start playing, playing better, or not, and that’s kind of where we are.”

Raptors’ jumbo lineup could be a key

Among the in-game adjustments Nurse attempted in Game 1 as he was searching for a way back into the game was to go with a bigger, so-called “jumbo” lineup that featured both Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka on the floor.

While seemingly not the best idea given the position-less nature of the way the Celtics play, going with the dual-centre look was actually pretty successful as the Raptors were only minus-4 in the nine minutes with the pair on the court together.

“I mean it was OK,” Nurse said of playing Ibaka and Gasol. “Obviously they had a nice run kind of when the game was, you know, everything was going wrong and the game was getting away from us early and we went to it and it kind of, it brought us back with a chance.”

It wasn’t exactly a huge sample size, but the success shown from going big like this could be something to look out for going forward.

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Post-up Pascal

Another interesting sight Sunday was the number of post-up looks Pascal Siakam was getting.

A clear focal point of Toronto’s offence in Game 1, if Siakam’s going to be matched up against Jaylen Brown as much as he was on Sunday, theoretically it makes sense to want Siakam to take advantage of his height advantage over Brown and operate inside and go hunting for high-percentage looks in the paint.

Siakam had been struggling with his shot in the Brooklyn series, after all, so trying to get him going from closer to the basket is logical.

Unfortunately, Siakam continued to struggle, going just 5-of-16 from the field for 13 points, including a 4-for-11 mark in the paint.

Those are all bad-looking numbers, obviously, especially because some of those misses were bunnies, but that’s also why the Raptors are going to go back to this post-heavy focus with Siakam in Game 2, because the all-star did manage to get inside where he can create problems for Boston, both as a scorer and as a guy willing to find his teammates.

“For the most part, they looked OK. You know,” said Nurse of Siakam’s post touches in Game 1. “And I think that we’re trying to get him going a little bit, so we were trying to get him some touches and that wasn’t a bad way to do it. I think we need to do a little bit more around it, a little bit. I think we need to cut a little bit more and have a little better spacing and relocation and things like that, possibly, if we go into him there.”

Though he wasn’t able to convert as much as he liked, there did appear to be some success found with tossing the ball to Siakam in the low block.

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Raptors reunited with their family

Monday was a big day for the Raptors in the bubble as it meant they could finally see their families who were allowed inside.

“Just excited, just excited. I miss my family. Family is huge for me. It’s been a while,” said VanVleet of the prospect of seeing his loved ones again. “I think the last time I saw them was Father’s Day. It’s been a while, but it will be good to see everybody. And right on time after getting our butts kicked yesterday. So that’ll kinda take my mind off of it for a little bit today, and then I’ll get prepared and get locked in for the game tomorrow.”

VanVleet had a rough Game 1 scoring just 11 points on 3-of-16 shooting including a 2-for-11 mark from three-point range.

It was well documented what happened the last time VanVleet got an addition to his family during the post-season last year, so who know what may happen with the Raptors guard now reunited with his family in Disney World.

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Inside Allegiant Stadium: Cost, capacity & more to know about Las Vegas Raiders' new home – Sporting News



By moving to Las Vegas, the Raiders traded a torn up field with baseball infield dirt on it for a brand new venue and fan market of their own.

The Oakland Coliseum had been perhaps NFL’s worst stadium; Allegiant Stadium, where the Raiders now play, figures to be one of the best.

The Raiders debut their new home on Monday night against the Saints in front of a national TV audience, officially welcoming pro football to Las Vegas after decades of the NFL toying with the idea of expanding to Sin City. That’s two major sports teams for Las Vegas in quick succession — it also recently got the NHL’s Golden Knights — and two new venues.

MORE: Go Inside SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles

While the Raiders aren’t expected to make the playoffs in their first year in Las Vegas, they do appear to be respectable. Quarterback Derek Carr, playing for his starting job after a couple of mediocre years, is surrounded by a rising cast of skill players who could help him shine. In Week 1, the team put up 34 points in a win over the Panthers.

For much of the past 20 years, national audiences have known the Raiders only for mishaps on and off the field. Monday night, then, is an opportunity for the franchise to score a rare win in the public eye.

Below is an in-depth guide to Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders’ move from Oakland to Las Vegas:

How much did Allegiant Stadium cost to build?

Allegiant Stadium required nearly $2 billion to put together, significantly less than the $5 billion it took to finish recently opened SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

Unlike SoFi Stadium, which was privately financed, the Raiders received financial help from the city of Las Vegas to get their new home done. About 40 percent of the cost of the Allegiant Stadium project ($750 million) reportedly came from public funds.

How long did construction take?

Construction of Allegiant Stadium began in November 2017 and finished this summer, meaning it took a little less than three years to build.

Allegiant Stadium capacity

Allegiant Stadium has a base capacity of 65,000 people but can expand to hold more than 70,000 for select events.

Where is Allegiant Stadium?

Allegiant Stadium is located in Paradise, Nev., which is an unincorporated town within the Las Vegas metropolitan area.

Special features of Raiders’ new stadium

Despite being an inside field, the playing surface is made out of real grass. It has a track deep underneath it, and during breaks between games it can be wheeled outside to receive direct sunlight.

Unlike many other modern football structures, Allegiant Stadium does not have a video board hanging down from its roof. Instead, there are large monitors spread around the perimeter of the stands. The choice to forgo a central screen came from a desire to maintain a full translucent roof.

Al Davis Memorial Torch

Another defining feature of Allegiant Stadium — perhaps the defining feature — is an 85-foot eternal “flame” honoring late Raiders owner Al Davis. It was created via 3D printer and is made of carbon fiber and aluminum.

What does Allegiant Stadium look like?

Allegiant Stadium has a shiny black exterior in recognition of one of the Raiders’ primary colors. Like many new stadiums, it is meant to feel airy and open despite being indoors, and side windows and see-through roof assist in creating that effect.

Below are pictures and videos of Allegiant Stadium:

Do the Raiders own Allegiant Stadium?

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority, run by a nine-member Board of Directors, owns Allegiant Stadium.

How much did naming rights for the Raiders’ stadium cost?

Exact contract terms between Allegiant and the Raiders were never officially announced, but Allegiant is reportedly playing more than $20 million per year for the deal.

Does Allegiant Stadium have a retractable roof?

The stadium’s roof is not retractable, though its semi-translucence allows natural light to illuminate the field during day games. There are also four Lanai doors along the sides of the stadium that allow views of a surrounding area that includes the Vegas Strip.

Does UNLV play at Allegiant Stadium?

Yes, UNLV football will play at Allegiant Stadium, giving the Runnin’ Rebels a college venue far nicer than any of their Mountain West rivals. Allegiant Stadium will also host the Pac-12 football championship game as well as the annual Las Vegas Bowl. It will not host baseball games, though, in a boon for a Raiders franchise used to sharing a field with the Oakland A’s.

When did the Raiders move to Las Vegas?

The Raiders moved from Oakland to Las Vegas in 2020. This is their first season outside of California.

Why aren’t the Raiders in Oakland?

The Raiders wanted a new stadium and either the Los Angeles market or a major market of their own. When Oakland refused to chip in the help the Raiders desired for a new stadium, and the NFL denied an LA move, Las Vegas became the franchise’s preferred destination.

The team prides itself on being a brand beyond a specific location, and it hopes the transient nature of Las Vegas can goose its bottom line rather than working against it.

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Murray, Nuggets hang on to win, cut Lakers' lead to 2-1 – TSN



LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — They had just lost a playoff heartbreaker, and two nights later the Denver Nuggets quickly went from in control to in trouble.

Escaping trouble is what these Nuggets do best.

“Everybody always has us packing our bags and leaving, but we’re not ready to go,” coach Michael Malone said. “For some reason we love this bubble.”

They’ll get at least two more games in it.

Jamal Murray had 28 points, 12 assists and two late 3-pointers to halt a Lakers charge, helping the Nuggets to a 114-106 victory Tuesday night that cut Los Angeles’ lead to 2-1 in the Western Conference finals.

The Nuggets lost almost all of a 20-point lead in the fourth quarter but held on, avoiding a 3-0 hole that would have been daunting even for this never-out-of-it team.

“We feel that we should be up 2-1 right now, to be honest,” Murray said. “So we’re just going to move on to Game 4.”

Denver has set a record by erasing two 3-1 deficits in this post-season, but no NBA team has ever come back from 3-0.

Jerami Grant added a playoff career-high 26 points and Nikola Jokic had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who will try to even the series on Thursday.

LeBron James had 30 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds — his 26th playoff triple-double — for the Lakers, who remain two wins from their first NBA Finals appearance in a decade. Anthony Davis, who made the winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in Game 2, scored 27 points.

The Nuggets led by 20 with 10 1/2 minutes left and soon after were hanging on after the Lakers charged back with a 19-2 run, turning to a zone defence and forcing turnovers that led to easy baskets.

“We played some pretty good ball in the fourth quarter, but those first 36 minutes, that hurt us obviously,” James said.

With Denver’s lead down to four, Murray made a 3-pointer with 2:16 remaining. He then found Paul Millsap under the basket for a score before hitting a long 3 to push the lead back to 111-99 with 53 seconds to play.

Coach Frank Vogel acknowledged the Lakers were fortunate to win Game 2, in which they committed 24 turnovers, and would have to be better Tuesday.

Instead, it was the Nuggets who raised their game and played from ahead, ending a streak of six straight games where they trailed at halftime.

“Maybe they can beat us by 20, 30, they can beat us by a last shot, but we just cannot quit,” Jokic said. “Effort needs to be there.”

The Lakers built leads of 15 or more in the second quarter of the first two games. This time it was the Nuggets who started to run away in that period, even with Jokic on the bench resting for their big run that started it.

Denver began with a 7-0 spurt, the last five from Michael Porter Jr., to open a nine-point lead. After a dunk by James, Murray made a 3-pointer and Monte Morris scored the next five to make it a 15-2 start to the period and give the Nuggets a 44-29 advantage.

It would grow to 18 and could have been worse if not for Davis, who scored nine straight Lakers points. Markieff Morris’ 3-pointer trimmed it to 63-53 at halftime.

The Lakers got the first five points of the third to cut the lead in half, but Denver regained control and led 93-75 after three.

Murray finished with eight rebounds.


Lakers: The Lakers had a six-game winning streak snapped and fell to 10-3 in these playoffs. … Dwight Howard started the second half at centre, replacing JaVale McGee.

Nuggets: Denver’s last halftime lead had been a 59-57 edge over the Clippers in Game 3 of the West semifinals. … Malone wished his parents a happy anniversary during his interview after the third quarter. His father, Brendan, was a longtime NBA assistant coach who also coached the Toronto Raptors in 1995-96, their inaugural season.


The Lakers came into the game 4-0 in the playoffs as the designated road team. Vogel said nothing really changes in the Walt Disney World bubble except the benches the teams are sitting on, but he joked about the big difference that would have awaited his team in a normal situation.

“You know, I did make sure our guys did whatever they needed to do to adjust to the altitude of playing in Denver tonight because Game 3, you’ve always got to account for that altitude,” he said. “Maybe we don’t have to account for it tonight in Orlando.”


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Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets Game 3: Live score, updates, news, stats and highlights – NBA CA



The Denver Nuggets held off the Los Angeles Lakers‘ fourth-quarter comeback to seal a 114-106 win in Game 3.

Jamal Murray led the charge with some big buckets down the stretch as he finished with 28 points, 12 assists, and eight rebounds, while Nikola Jokic added 22 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.

Their star duo had it going from the jump, but it was the contributions from the supporting cast that made the difference, with Jerami Grant recording a playoff career-high 26 points!

LeBron James led the Lakers with his 26th playoff career triple-double – 30 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds, while Anthony Davis added 27 points on the night.

If you missed any of the action we had you covered with live updates, highlights and more from this contest.

FINAL: Denver Nuggets 114, Los Angeles Lakers 106


– The Nuggets hold off the Lakers’ comeback to get their first win of the series to make it 2-1. Jamal Murray scored 10 points in the fourth to seal the W, including the dagger from 3.

– Jamal Murray has taken over late, knocking down two triples and finding Millsap for the wide-open dunk. Denver are back up 111-99 after a 10-1 run.

– LeBron brings up his 26th career playoff triple-double with 28 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds.

– Rondo adds to the history books, moving up to ninth on the all-time playoff assist list, overtaking Kobe Bryant.

– The Nuggets can’t find a way through the Lakers’ zone defence as they continue to rack up the turnovers. Rajon Rondo has a game-high 3 steals.

– After leading by as many as 20 points, the Nuggets are clinging to the lead, 101-98.

– Make that a 14-2 Laker run and it’s just an eight-point game. The Lakers are getting it done on the defensive end, forcing four quick turnovers. We’ve got a big finish coming up with 7:38 remaining in the game.

– Davis, James, and Kuzma power the Lakers to a 10-2 run as they cut the lead to 12 points with 8:43 remaining. Can they pull off the comeback?

– Jamal Murray is in his bag. He’s closing in on a triple-double with 22 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds.

– The suppporting cast for the Nuggets have made the difference in Game 3. Grant, Morris and MPJ have combined for 44 points.

End of third quarter: Nuggets 93, Lakers 75

– After the Lakers started the quarter in rhythm, the Nuggets absorbed the punches and hit back thanks to Murray and Jerami Grant to make it an 18-point lead heading into the fourth.

– Grant’s got a playoff career-high 21 points off 6-of-9 shooting with 12 coming in the third period alone.

– The Nuggets have taken back control of the momentum as Jamal Murray’s triple makes it a 25-10 run. Denver lead 89-71 (2:27)

– LeBron James knocks down two identical fadeaways followed by a drive to the basket for six quick points. He’s up 17 points, 9 assists, and 7 boards.

– Jamal Murray is assessed a Flagrant 1 after his elbow catches LeBron in the face (10:00).

– Here come the Lakers! After closing the half on a 16-8 run, they’ve scored the first five points of the period to make it a five-point game, 63-58.

Half-time: Nuggets 63, Lakers 53

– A late triple from Markieff Morris helps the Lakers cut the lead down to 10 points heading into the break, but the Nuggets are firing on all cylinders, winning the period 34-26.

– This is their first half-time lead in their last seven games!

– Anthony Davis leads the Lakers with a game-high 16 points, while LeBron is setting up another playoff triple-double with 10 points, eight assists, and four rebounds.

– Morris and Murray have 12 points apiece, while Jokic leads the way with 15 points, six rebounds, and four assists, hitting some tough shots along the way.


Half-time team stats

– The Lakers have trimmed the deficit to 14 points, behind nine straight points from Anthony Davis. He’s 3-of-3 from the field in the quarter, while the rest of the Lakers are a combined 2-of-12.

– Monte Morris heads to the bench with 12 points after giving the Nuggets a huge spark alongside MPJ.

– Porter Jr. and Monte Morris are giving the Nuggets a huge boost of scoring off the bench, but the biggest difference-maker so far has been their work on the glass. They’re winning the rebounding battle 18-8. Jokic has 5 and MPJ 4 (5:19).

– Denver is piling up the points, extending the run to 15-2 to start the period, connecting on 11 of their last 13 field goals. Timeout Lakers (8:53).

They’re getting plenty of transition opportunities thanks to their defence forcing seven Laker turnovers which they’re converted into 12 points.

– The Nuggets race out on a 7-0 run early in the second with Michael Porter Jr, getting five quick points.

End of first quarter: Nuggets 29, Lakers 27

– A back and forth opening quarter to start Game 3 as the Nuggets take a two-point lead into the break.

– Denver has shot 60% from the field in the opening 12 minutes, led by 11 points from Jokic on 5-of-7 shooting. The Lakers aren’t far back, shooting 55% from the field. Anthony Davis leads the way with seven points and LeBron six.

– Nikola Jokic is catching the Lakers early in the shot clock. He’s started the game 4-of-6 from the field for his eight points and four rebounds (1:56)

– LeBron’s in attack mode, getting the left-hand finish at the rim to go. Lakers lead 16-14 (5:17)

– The Nuggets are moving the ball early and playing with a much faster pace as they look to work the Murray-Jokic high- pick-and-roll. Murray is doing a great job running off screens and getting free for 3-point attempts.

Grant gets the triple to go in the corner. He’s got five early points for Denver.

– Danny Green hits the first bucket of the game from deep, moving into the top 15 all-time for playoff threes.


– Denver Nuggets starting lineup: Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Jerami Grant, Paul Millsap, and Nikola Jokic

– Los Angeles Laker starting lineup: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Danny Green, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and JaVale McGee.

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