The New York Knicks fired embattled head coach David Fizdale, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday. Wojnarowski reported that assistant coach Keith Smart was fired as well, according to a league source. Fizdale labeled the Knicks’ performance as “sickening” in Thursday’s 129-92 setback to the Denver Nuggets at Madison Square Garden. The loss was the […]Report: Knicks fire coach Fizdale — National Post
– Raptors-Rockets was an interesting “experiment,” as Nick Nurse put it. Nurse decided to try something new against James Harden. Did it work? Well, Houston won, but if Ben McLemore is going to hit eight threes against you, as Jay Triano once said, “What the F__ are you gonna do?” If I’m armchair quarterbacking, though, […]Woz Blog: No need to panic as Raptors reintegrate Lowry, Ibaka — Toronto Sun. …
The Boston Celtics might be getting Gordon Hayward back a little sooner than expected. When the star forward fractured his hand Nov. 9 in San Antonio and promptly got surgery, the ideal timeline was him returning for the Celtics’ Christmas game against the Toronto Raptors. Updates on Hayward have been positive at every turn, and…Gordon Hayward Injury: Brad Stevens Gives Promising Update On Celtics Star — NESN.com
Marcus Smart is ready to put his body on the line again. The Boston Celtics listed the guard as questionable Thursday on their injury report, leaving plenty of doubt over whether he’d miss a second consecutive game. Smart is recovering from an oblique injury he suffered last Sunday during Boston’s win over the New York…Marcus Smart Injury: Here’s Guard’s Status For Nugget Vs. Celtics Game — NESN.com
MAPLE LEAFS FORWARD ANDREAS JOHNSSON INJURY UPDATE
The Maple Leafs announced today that forward Andreas Johnsson underwent a CT scan yesterday after sustaining a leg injury in Wednesday night’s game against Colorado. Johnsson will be placed on long term injury reserve and will be reassessed after the Christmas break by the Maple Leafs medical staff.
The following players have been recalled from the Toronto Marlies (AHL): forwards Nic Petan, Pontus Aberg and defenceman Martin Marincin.
Johnsson, 25, has registered 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists) in 30 games with the Maple Leafs this season. In 2018-19, the Galve, Sweden native recorded 43 points (20 goals, 23 assists) in 73 regular season games and four points (1 goal, 3 assists) in seven playoff games.
The Maple Leafs return to action tomorrow on the road against the St. Louis Blues at 7:00 p.m.
Major League Baseball slowly has allowed its players to show emotion with the “Let The Kids Play” campaign, and one of the fresher Boston Red Sox call-ups showed he appreciates being a baseball player. Michael Chavis called into MLB Network Radio on Thursday and shared a refreshing outlook at how he views being a professional. …Red Sox’s Michael Chavis Shares Refreshing Outlook On Being MLB Player — NESN.com
(14-7) HOUSTON ROCKETS, 119 VS. (15-6) TORONTO RAPTORS, 109 SCOTIABANK ARENA THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2019
TORONTO RAPTORS QUOTES
NICK NURSE (HEAD COACH)
On the amount of threes Houston took… I think that we gave up a couple too many. I think there is a twenty number there and there was a couple of crucial ones and things like that. But I don’t think we played offence well enough. I thought we missed open shots, we just didn’t shoot it very well on the back end. We had a few careless possessions where they scored in transition so it really had nothing to do with the double teams or the offensive rebounding. I think the transition defence hurt us, they did a good job of capitalizing whenever we turned it over and I just think we didn’t play offence well enough either. We didn’t shoot well enough and we didn’t play it well enough.
Is it players not moving on offence? It was just us not being as sharp as we needed to be versus the switching. We really gave in to the switching and when you are switching all over the floor you are trying to keep the ball in front of you and when they would make a switch we would make a six or seven dribbles with the same player. That is falling right into what they want you to do. They load up the rest of players and you are playing one on one and you are not getting as good of looks. Then we always say keep playing, just keep playing through the switches, and don’t react to the switches. We have to be better at that. We are normally better than that offensively.
On Pascal Siakam’s aggressiveness… I think again this is a little bit of a learning work in progress with him, about what is going on each night, what coverages he is seeing, where help is coming from etcetera. I think you need to make your moves and be aggressive but when there are more bodies there you got to be able to find the next play out. I think he knows where his spots are and I think he would probably be the first one to say he probably outside of his spots where he was, makes that spin move and he is not quite to where he wants to be. Well, those probably have to go out, but again it’s a little bit of a learning process and finding those things and we got to be good to get the spacing right, the relocation right and all that stuff so he does have an outlet and space to operate in.
PASCAL SIAKAM (24 points, nine rebounds)
Were you satisfied with how aggressive you were offensively tonight?
I think I did a decent job early on. I got into it a little bit, with the fouls and I felt like, maybe it was fouls, but I have to find a way to not let that take me out of my game or out of rhythm, and just continue to play. But I think early on I was aggressive enough, got a couple of fouls, but I think I did a decent job, you know maybe out there in the fourth quarter finding other ways to score and attack better. I think overall I’m pretty satisfied with what we did. We didn’t play as well, we were banking on them not making shots and they did, so you are going to take that and that was the game plan. Maybe we could have executed a little better, but we will take that.
On double-teaming Harden as much you did… At the end of the day you have to give something up. If we doubled Harden that means someone is going to be open and like I said, we were banking on them not making those shots and they did. I don’t know if you are happy with the result, but that’s what you want to give up; you are going to take that.
FRED VANVLEET (20 points, six rebounds, five assists) On the risk versus reward of doubling Harden…
I thought we did a pretty good job on executing our game plan. I don’t think you make that gamble expecting them to shoot 40 percent and make 22, so give those guys credit, they knocked down shots. That’s what we came up with before the game and you just try to go out there and execute the game plan to the best of your ability. I thought we could have flew around a little bit more, chased down some rebounds to be perfect in it, but for the most part we did a pretty good job. I just thought our offence got stalled out at times and didn’t really help us as much. What did they score, 120 or 119? We would have needed to score a bit more and make some more shots and that’s the game, you roll the dice sometimes and sometimes you lose.
KYLE LOWRY (19 points, five rebounds, eight assists)
On the defensive game plan tonight… I’m not happy we lost the game. At the end of the day, coach and coaching staff put this game plan in and we followed it. We took a chance and we believed in it as players, and they made shots. Ben McLemore eight threes, PJ Tucker, five. Those guys made shots and made threes.
On taking a few games to integrate players back into lineup… You do have a full team and you get guys back. I know people say this, that and the other, but you have to have a full team. When you get everybody healthy, everyone has to find themselves again. It takes time and you know two games, we are 15-6 and I’m sure the world, the earth, is not falling right now, so we are just going to get better and worry about ourselves and continue to get better.
HOUSTON ROCKETS QUOTES
MIKE D’ANTONI (HEAD COACH)
Did you expect them to come out of that (double team of James Harden) to take something else away? They’re known to change up, I didn’t know what they were going to do, triangle and two, box and one, whatever. But the other guys stepped up and James (Harden) is more than happy to just draw the double team. Other than Russ (Russell Westbrook) and James, we took 40 threes and made 19 of them. That’s what you’ve got to do, is wide open shots just knock them down. We put up 119 with James only having 23, so that’s good.
On James contributing defensively as well…
He’s one of our better defenders. A post defender, he’s one of the best in the league and then when he’s on somebody he wants to stop, he carries such a burden sometimes he has lapses as anybody who gets tired would, but he’s a very good defender. He did it tonight, he took the challenge.
DANUEL HOUSE JR. (16 points, three assists)
On Toronto’s defense… We were just trying to find the best open shot. It didn’t matter who took the open shot, we just wanted to make sure that we were all contributing and making the right basketball play to help us win.
Did it surprise you that Toronto stuck with that defense all game? Yeah. After guys start hitting a few shots usually coaches change their defensive scheme. I guess they felt like we were going to cool down, but when you’re giving guys – NBA pros – open looks like that, especially with the amount of time we had, guys are going to knock it down all night.
JAMES HARDEN (23 points, seven rebounds, three assists, five steals)
How much better do you feel the team is at executing against some of these defenses? We’re good. We’re good, especially when we are making shots. We’ve seen so many different defenses throughout the course of the year. Tonight was the first time seeing this defense, but guys did an unbelievable job of moving their bodies and being ready to shoot.
With that many corner threes did you think they were going to change their defensive scheme? I don’t know what they were thinking, but they did a really good job of packing the paint. Even without that defense they are one of the top three in paint points, so we knew we were going to have open threes.
Did you expect to see the blitz for 48 minutes? Nope, and I’ve been seeing it all year long, all year long. All year long I’ve been seeing it, so nothing changed that’s why it was no surprise. That’s why we were able to capitalize like we did. If teams want to go at us like that, it’s opportunities for guys to step up, which I think everybody did.
FINAL SCORE: HOUSTON ROCKETS 119, TORONTO RAPTORS 109
DATE: DECEMBER 5, 2019 ATTENDANCE: 19,800 (Sellout)
FINAL SCORE RECORD HIGH POINTS HIGH REBOUNDS HIGH ASSISTS
Houston 119 14-7 McLemore – 28 Capela/Westbrook – 13 Westbrook – 11 Toronto 109 15-6 Siakam – 24 Siakam – 9 Lowry – 8
KEY RUN Leading 101-100 with 8:39 remaining in the fourth, Houston went on a 12-3 to push the lead to 10 with 6:34 left … Toronto would cut the deficit to six twice in the final four minutes but couldn’t pull any closer.
KEY STAT The Rockets set opponent franchise records in both three-point field goals made and attempted (22-for-55) for a single game … Ben McLemore led the attack from beyond the arc with a career-high eight three-pointers … McLemore’s 17 three-point attempts were also the most attempted by an opposing player in franchise history.
• With the loss, Toronto falls to 15-6 this season and 9-2 at home … The Raptors have lost consecutive games first the first time this season … Toronto begins a two-game road trip Sunday at Philadelphia.
• The Raptors outscored Houston 50-28 in the paint
. • Fred VanVleet finished with 20 points in 38 minutes – his sixth 20-point game in the last eight games … VanVleet is averaging 21.3 points during this stretch. • The Raptors had five players score double figures – Pascal Siakam (24), VanVleet (20), Kyle Lowry (19), Norman Powell (14) and Serge Ibaka (10) … Siakam led the team in scoring for the 13th time … Powell has now scored 10 or more points in 10 of the last 11 games.
ROCKETS NOTES: • With the win, Houston improves to 14-7 on the season and 6-5 on the road … The Rockets have won three of their last four games … The victory snapped a three-game winless streak on the road.
• Houston has now won three in a row vs. Toronto, including its last two trips north of the border.
• The Rockets outrebounded Toronto 54-45, including 20-12 on the offensive glass … Houston had a 24-16 scoring advantage second chance points.
• Ben McLemore scored a season-high 28 points in 29 minutes – his fourth 20-point game of the season and second in the last three games … Someone other than James Harden led the Rockets in scoring for the first time since Russell Westbrook paced Houston in points on opening night (Oct. 24) with 24.
• James Harden recorded 23 points and a season-high five steals in 40 minutes. • Russell Westbrook posted his second consecutive triple-double and fifth of the season with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in 36 minutes of action … Westbrook’s six career triple-doubles against the Raptors are the most by any player.
• The Rockets had five players score in double digits – McLemore (28), Harden (23), Westbrook (19), PJ Tucker (18) and Danuel House Jr. (16).