NICK NURSE NAMED EASTERN CONFERENCE COACH OF THE MONTH

NICK NURSE NAMED EASTERN CONFERENCE COACH OF THE MONTH

The National Basketball Association announced Monday that Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was named Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for games played in January. This marks the third time Nurse has earned the honour overall and second time this season. He was also named coach of the month for games played in October/November.

Nurse guided the Raptors to a 12-3 record last month, including an Eastern Conference-best 9-1 record on the road. Toronto ranked fourth in the conference averaging 113.1 points and third defensively holding opponents to 106.1 points (third in the East). The team also lead the East averaging 12.8 three-pointers per game and 10.0 steals.

Highlighting the month was a season-high 10 game winning streak (Jan. 15-31), which catapulted Toronto into second-place in the Eastern Conference standings. The Raptors won by an average margin of +11.0 points per game during the streak, which included six road contests. Toronto matched a franchise-record Jan. 17 vs. Washington by scoring 140 points.  

A native of Carroll, Iowa, Nurse will coach Team Giannis at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago. He became the first coach to win both an NBA and NBA G League championship, after guiding Toronto to its first NBA Championship last spring. 

Contrite Kapanen back for Leafs tonight — Toronto Sun

https://www.instagram.com/p/B8C87c0pqay/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link Read More

Contrite Kapanen back for Leafs tonight — Toronto Sun

By LANCE HORNBY

On a day the Maple Leafs brought the mentors in their lives to town, Kasperi Kapanen shifted uncomfortably in the spotlight of his one-game team suspension.

After 48 hours to think about missing the start of Friday’s practice which he over-slept for — coach Sheldon Keefe called it “a pattern” of such incidents — Kapanen faced the media Monday morning before returning to the lineup against the Florida Panthers.

“It’s not me not caring,” Kapanen said. “It’s just an honest mistake and it happens. I just have to own up to it. It (being forced to watch Saturday’s win over Ottawa from the press box) is something I deserved.

“I just overslept. Obviously, I don’t want my teammates to think that I’m not serious about this or what not, and they sat me out, and that’s that.”

Kapanen admitted the same practice tardiness happened once with the Marlies, and though his old farm coach Keefe could not recall the specific incident, the latter was more concerned that it’s happened a couple of times at the NHL level.

PANTHERS AT MAPLE LEAFS PREGAME NOTES: Auston Matthews is third in the NHL with 36 goals. – Leads the league with 27 even-strength goals.- Leads in goals scored at 5-on-5 (22).- Tied for the lead in wrist shot goals (23).- Second in multi-goal games (9).- Tied for 11th among in points (36-25-61).- Fifth with 205 shots on goal.

FLORIDA PANTHERS (28-17-5 – 61 Points) vs.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (28-17-7 – 63 Points)

FEBRUARY 3, 2020 ▪ 7:00 PM EST

SCOTIABANK ARENA (TORONTO, ON) ▪
TV: TSN4 ▪ RADIO: SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN

MAPLE LEAFS HISTORY versus FLORIDA

ALL-TIME RECORD:43-34-7-5 (89 Games)
ALL-TIME AT HOME:25-15-2-1 (43 Games)
2019-20:0-1-0
LAST FIVE:2-1-1
LAST 10:5-2-3

MAPLE LEAFS CAREER LEADERS versus FLORIDA

GAMES PLAYED:Jason Spezza (49), John Tavares (33), Morgan Rielly (26)
GOALS:John Tavares (20), Jason Spezza (11), Mitch Marner (7)
ASSISTS:Jason Spezza (27), Morgan Rielly (17), John Tavares (10)
POINTS:Jason Spezza (38), John Tavares (30), Morgan Rielly (18)
PENALTY MINUTES:Jason Spezza (20), John Tavares (12), Tyson Barrie (10), William Nylander (10)

MAPLE LEAFS – PANTHERS TEAM STATS

 TORONTOFLORIDA
GOALS FOR (Rank):187 (2nd)180 (5th)
GOALS AGAINST (Rank):       167 (25th)164 (22nd)
POWER PLAY [%] (Rank):35/142 [24.6%] (4th)38/161 [23.6%] (6th)
PENALTY KILL [%] (Rank):113/146 [77.4%] (25th)108/139 [77.7%] (24th)
SHOTS (Rank):1751 (4th)1660 (12th)
5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPTS FOR (Rank):2646 (3rd)2235 (t-22nd)
5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT % (Rank):52.6% (5th)49.8% (16th)
FACEOFF % (Rank):52.9% (3rd)50.2% (13th)

MAPLE LEAFS – PANTHERS NOTES

FIRST MATCHUP BETWEEN CLUBS:October 21, 1993 (Toronto 4, Florida 3 OT)
ALL-TIME RECORD:43-34-7-5 (89 Games)
ALL-TIME RECORD AT HOME:25-15-2-1 (43 Games)
ALL-TIME RECORD ON THE ROAD:18-19-5-4 (46 Games)
LAST WIN VS. OPPONENT ON THE ROAD:March 25, 2019 (Toronto 7, Florida 5)
  

MAPLE LEAFS MILESTONES vs. PANTHERS

Michael HutchinsonAppeared in four games for Florida during the 2018-19 season.
Zach HymanSelected by Florida in the fifth round (123rd overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Mitch Marner100th NHL game (Nov. 22, 2017 at FLA)
John Tavares500th NHL point (Jan. 13, 2017 (NYI) at FLA)
  

MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS

CATEGORYLEADER
GOALS36 (Matthews)
ASSISTS37 (Marner)
POINTS61 (Matthews)
POWER PLAY POINTS18 (Marner, Matthews)
SHORTHANDED POINTS(Engvall, Kapanen)
PIMs34 (Muzzin)
SHOTS205 (Matthews)
FACEOFF WIN%57.9% (Gauthier)
5-on-5 SHOT ATTEMPT %55.4% (Nylander)
BLOCKED SHOTS76 (Muzzin)
TAKEAWAYS55 (Matthews)
HITS92 (Muzzin)
TOI PER GAME24:15 (Rielly)
PP TOI PER GAME3:06 (Marner)
SH TOI PER GAME2:52 (Ceci)

MAPLE LEAFS PLAYER NOTES

Frederik Andersen– Is 10-5-6 at home this season with a 3.16 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage.
– Second in the NHL in wins (24).- Has recorded a save percentage over .900 in 24 of his starts, which is tied for fourth-most starts with a save percentage of .900 or higher.
Tyson Barrie– Has five multi-assist games, which is tied for ninth-most among NHL defencemen.- Tied for sixth among NHL defencemen in multi-point games (9).
– Has been on the ice for 53 Toronto goals at even-strength, which is tied for 13th among NHL defencemen in on-ice goals for at even-strength.- Leads the Maple Leafs in slap shots taken (43). Lone Toronto skater to have taken over 30 slap shots.
Cody Ceci– One of 19 NHL defencemen to appear in at least 40 games and maintain a 5-on-5 on-ice goals-for percentage over 52 percent (52.3%) while starting fewer than 48 percent of his 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone (47%).- One of two Maple Leaf defencemen (Jake Muzzin) to have appeared in 40 games and average at least four hits per 60 minutes of ice time (4.70) and four blocked shots per 60 minutes of ice time (4.15).
Pierre Engvall– Has started 40.5 percent of his 5-on-5 shifts in the offensive zone, which is the fourth lowest percentage among NHL rookies.- Is the lone Maple Leaf to average at least 1:00 per game in shorthanded ice time (1:09) and be even in on-ice goals while shorthanded (2 SHGF, 2 PPGA).
Justin Holl– One of 24 right-handed defencemen in the NHL to have an on-ice goals-for percentage of at least 53 percent (53.9%) at even-strength.- Has the highest unblocked shot attempt percentage at 5-on-5 (52.6%) among right-handed defencemen to have started fewer than 45 percent (44.9%) of their shifts in the offensive zone.
Michael Hutchinson– Has a 3-1-1 record with a 2.02 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage on home ice this season.
Zach Hyman– Fourth among Toronto skaters in points since January 1 (5-5-10; 11 GP).- Has eight points (3-5-8) in seven games against Atlantic Division opponents this season.- Ranks fifth among Maple Leafs skaters in points per game (0.76).
Andreas Johnsson– Has registered 44 (21 goals, 23 assists) of his 64 career points in 62 games at Scotiabank Arena.- Averages 2.00 shots per game, which ranks seventh among Toronto forwards.- Has drawn 11 penalties this season, which is tied for third-most among Toronto skaters.
Kasperi Kapanen– Fifth among Toronto skaters in even-strength points (8-15-23).- Has been on the ice for four of Toronto’s five shorthanded goals this season.- Has 10 points (3-7-10) in 14 games against Atlantic Division opponents.
Alex Kerfoot– Tied for seventh among Maple Leafs in even-strength goals (7). – 10th among Maple Leafs in even-strength points (7-11-18).- Has eight points (4 goals, 7 assists) in 12 games against Atlantic Division teams.
Mitch Marner– Has 10 multi-assist games, which is tied for the sixth-most among NHL skaters.- Averaging 1.24 points per game, which is the 11th-highest average in the NHL.- Averaging 1.49 primary assists per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5, which ranks second among NHLers who have appeared in at least 30 games.- Ninth in the NHL in primary assists (25). His 25 primary assists are the most among NHLers who have appeared in 45 or fewer games.- Ranks fifth among NHL right wingers in shorthanded ice time per game (2:14).
Auston Matthews– Third among NHL skaters in goals (36).- Leads the League with 27 even-strength goals.- Leads the NHL in goals scored at 5-on-5 (22).- Tied for the NHL lead in wrist shot goals (23).- Second in the NHL in multi-goal games (9).- Tied for 11th among NHL skaters in points (36-25-61).- Fifth in the NHL with 205 shots on goal.
William Nylander– Ranks first in goals (24) and second in points (24-23-47) among Swedish skaters this season.- Tied for the Maple Leaf lead in game-winning goals (4).- Has scored the first goal of the game three times for the Maple Leafs, which is tied for the most first goals among Toronto skaters.- One of 11 NHLers to average at least 14:00 minutes per game at 5-on-5 (14:34) while maintaining a goal per 60-minute rate of at least 1.20 (1.27).
Jason Spezza– Averaging 2.08 points per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 this season, which is the fifth-highest average among Toronto skaters who have appeared in at least 20 games.- Averaging 1.12 assists per 60 minutes of ice time at 5-on-5 this season, which is tied for fourth among Maple Leafs who have appeared in at least 20 games.
John Tavares– Tied for 25th among NHL skaters in multi-point games (13).- Has 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in 12 games against Atlantic Division opponents this season.- Has won 58.0 percent (235 won, 170 lost) of his faceoffs on home ice this season, which ranks seventh among NHL skaters who have taken 300 draws at home.- Has an on-ice shot attempt percentage of 54.8 percent at 5-on-5 when the Maple Leafs are leading in games, which is the highest percentage when leading among NHL forwards who have appeared in at least 40 games and average 15 minutes per game in 5-on-5 ice time (15:43).- Has drawn a team-high 14 penalties this season. 
  

CURRENT POINT STREAKS

Zach HymanHas points (2-2-4) in three consecutive games.
Mitch MarnerHas points (1-4-5) in four consecutive games.
Auston MatthewsHas assists (2) and points (2-2-4) in three consecutive games.
William NylanderHas points (5-4-9) in seven consecutive games.
  

UPCOMING MILESTONES

Jason SpezzaFive assists from 600 assists
John TavaresFour games from 800 games

RECENT MILESTONES

Rasmus SandinFirst NHL goal (January 27 at Nashville)
  

INJURY REPORT

Travis Dermott (Illness)Did not play on February 1 vs. Ottawa.
Ilya Mikheyev (Wrist Laceration)On injured reserve.
Morgan Rielly (Foot)On injured reserve.
 Man Games Lost: 126

RECENT TRANSACTIONS

January 31Loaned defenceman Kevin Gravel to the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
January 31Recalled defenceman Kevin Gravel from the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
January 30Loaned forward Tyler Gaudet to the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
  

Davis celebrates Super Sunday as Raptors extend winning streak — Toronto Sun

The Raptors have been on a nice little run of late and the injury-ravaged Chicago Bulls weren’t about to bring this one to an end. The Bulls hung with Toronto for about a half but the second half of the game was almost all Toronto as the Raptors pulled away for a comfortable 129-102 win. […]

Davis celebrates Super Sunday as Raptors extend winning streak — Toronto Sun

Crucial test against Panthers awaits as Leafs try to keep place in playoff race — Toronto Sun

Barely into the month of February and already the Maple Leafs find themselves in a must-win situation. Correct? Well, that might be overstating it to a degree. No question, however, the Leafs would feel a lot better about their place in the standings if they beat the Florida Panthers on Monday night at Scotiabank Arena. […]

Crucial test against Panthers awaits as Leafs try to keep place in playoff race — Toronto Sun

Lakers prepare themselves for a season-long march of Kobe Bryant tributes — Daily News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In the hours before Kobe Bryant died, he spoke on the phone with LeBron James, the newly minted third-leading scorer in NBA history. Bryant had always been prideful in his career, but now was gracious despite being eclipsed. The two men, as warm as they had ever been in their careers, had…

Lakers prepare themselves for a season-long march of Kobe Bryant tributes — Daily News

Ryu Hyun-jin heads to first spring training with Blue Jays

http://yna.kr/AEN20200202002400315

“I feel great. Things have been going smoothly so far,” Ryu told reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. The left-hander threw off flat ground during his personal camp in Okinawa, Japan, last month.

YONHAP NEWS AGENCY

All Headlines 14:10 February 02, 2020S

INCHEON, Feb. 2 (Yonhap) — Toronto Blue Jays’ South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin left the country Sunday for his first spring training with his new club in a new state, confident in his ability to deliver the goods with a clean bill of health.

After spending seven years with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ryu signed a four-year, US$80 million free agent deal with the Blue Jays in December. In 2019, Ryu, who led all of baseball with a 2.32 ERA, finished runner-up in the National League (NL) Cy Young Award voting.

As a Dodger, Ryu had his spring training in Glendale, Arizona. He’ll prepare for his first season with the Jays in Dunedin, Florida, with pitchers and catchers set to report by Feb. 12.

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Feb. 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

Ryu Hyun-jin of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Feb. 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

In this Canadian Press photo via the Associated Press from Dec. 27, 2019, Ryu Hyun-jin (C) puts on his new jersey for the Toronto Blue Jays during his introductory press conference at Rogers Centre in Toronto. Ryu is flanked by his agent Scott Boras (L) and Blue Jays' general manager Ross Atkins. (Yonhap)
Introduced in Toronto by the Blue Jays after signing four-year contract in December.

Ryu said he’ll first spend about three days in Los Angeles to take care of some unfinished personal business and will arrive in Dunedin, on the west coast of Florida, a few days before the reporting date.

“I feel great. Things have been going smoothly so far,” Ryu told reporters at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul. The left-hander threw off flat ground during his personal camp in Okinawa, Japan, last month.

“I’ll try to increase my velocity during spring training games,” Ryu added. “As long as I can stay healthy, I should be able to pitch well.”

Health has always been an issue for Ryu, who missed all of 2015 and then made only one start in 2016 with shoulder and elbow problems. Ryu has also been sidelined with injuries to his legs, groin, hip and neck.

Lightning red hot as they sweep the Pacific Division on road trip. — TampaBayProSports.com

It was a great way for the lightning to start the second half of the season as they garnered points in all four games and collected a total of seven out of a possible eight points on their west coast trip. The only blemish on the trip an overtime loss to the Dallas Star on […]

Lightning red hot as they sweep the Pacific Division on road trip. — TampaBayProSports.com

RAPTORS 129, BULLS 102 — WHAT THE TEAMS SAID: “I always think of the games I play (Terence Davis II) six minutes and wonder the hell I am doing. That’s the first thing I think when he is playing like that. I think he has a shooting component that’s pretty high level and you see it a little bit on a night like tonight and that is usually the toughest component to get in this league. There are lots of other areas of the game that he can improve on and will improve on as we continue on here.” — NICK NURSE.

(19-33) CHICAGO BULLS, 102 VS. (36-14) TORONTO RAPTORS, 129 SCOTIABANK ARENA SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2020

TORONTO RAPTORS QUOTES

NICK NURSE (HEAD COACH)

On Terence Davis’s play tonight … I always think of the games I play him six minutes and wonder the hell I am doing. That’s the first thing I think when he is playing like that. I think he has a shooting component that’s pretty high level and you see it a little bit on a night like tonight and that is usually the toughest component to get in this league. There are lots of other areas of the game that he can improve on and will improve on as we continue on here.

On the defence getting more active in the second half … Yeah, we changed the coverages and stuff and there was great activity and that kind of works hand in hand a lot. You change the coverage and you have some early success and then all of sudden the blood is in the water a little bit, they are starting to really go after it, because the coverage helped them and they start feeding off of that a little bit. We did a good job, we stopped the ball a lot better in the second half. First half it was drive, drive, drive, drive, kick, drive, kick. Give them credit, I was like: man. They are playing great. They were really driving it hard, finding the right guys, knocking down shots, zipping it around and they had us scrambling big time in the first half. They were playing great and we had to get that under control a little bit.

On using different defensive coverages to get people engaged … I am not sure if that is what I am thinking. I am thinking that sometimes when you are not guarding them very well, sometimes you switch and hopefully the coverage is going to start guarding them better than you were. A lot of times this year we found that we’ve gone to a zone early, late in the first quarter or something and only for four or five possessions, but that seemed to be the part that (got) us back playing the man a little better for whatever reason. I can’t really explain it other than a rhythm change and a focus change or something. We needed to change the coverages because we couldn’t control the ball in the first half tonight. It wasn’t experimenting or anything tonight, I was just trying to get the ball under control.

TERENCE DAVIS (31 points, four rebounds)

Was there a point in the night when you felt it was going to be special? Not necessarily. I was just shooting the ball. The ball was going in, so I kept shooting.

Was this performance inspired by the fact that you didn’t make it in the rookie All-Star game? It was definitely in the back of my mind, for sure. Throughout the course of the season it will be in the back of my mind, but I’d rather be in the playoffs. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t want to play in the game because that’s a pretty special event, but I would rather play in the playoffs.

What kind of words did Serge Ibaka have for you after? He told me he was proud of me. Like I said, Serge has been a light in my life (as) a rookie, helping me eat right, we go lift after games. We didn’t today because he said we have a few days off, so we’ll get it in. But yeah, he told me he was proud of me. I really took that to heart.

FRED VANVLEET (12 points, eight assists, four rebounds)

On Terence Davis… It’s not surprising. I think for most of us, we kind of saw what kind of player he was going to be early on and he just kept getting better and better throughout the year (and) he puts in the work, so it’s really cool for all of us as teammates to see him have a big night like tonight. We’re all happy for him. I don’t think anybody is thinking about the Rising Stars game too much. I mean, he might be, but for the rest of us, none of us have ever played in it, so what difference does it make. Welcome to the party.

CHICAGO BULLS QUOTES

JIM BOYLEN (HEAD COACH)

On tonight’s game… I thought the first half was one of our better halves. Ball was moving, I think we had 16 assists, made open shots. I thought the third quarter we had the same plays to make, we didn’t make them and I thought we dropped our heads a little bit in that third when the ball wasn’t going in, and they made their run. That’s what we talked about. We got different guys playing, new guys playing and we got guys out. We got to learn how to play in that third quarter when the ball is not going in, that’s what we have to do. It was good to have Gaff (Daniel Gafford) back, we tried to get him some minutes, get him out there, and Luke (Kornet) and Cris (Cristiano Felicio), so we kind of had a three headed monster at the center position tonight to try get Gaff back in the flow a little bit.

On the offensive balance of the team tonight… Again, I thought the ball was moving. I thought we executed the game plan at both ends; they are a hard team to guard. I thought offensively, like I said we had 16 assists, Zach (LaVine) had seven assists, he could have had 15. I thought he was making the appropriate plays and moving that ball. I thought his floor game was really good. I know we’re going to have moments when we don’t score, moments when we struggle with new lineups and new situations, got to keep playing through those moments. I thought there was a point today where we didn’t do a good job of that.

What did you see that got Terence Davis going? I thought he made three off the dribble step-back 3s, I don’t know a defence for that, really. So you have to give him credit on that. Guys have big nights, (Damian) Lillard had 51 last night, guys have big nights.

Would you rather have him shooting the ball or (Pascal) Siakam and (Kyle) Lowry? I thought we did a great job on Siakam, I thought Thad (Thaddeus Young) battled him. Sometimes you have to live with some of those guys. We don’t like bench all-stars, sometimes that happens.

ZACH LAVINE (18 points, seven assists, seven rebounds)

What did you see from the Raptors in the second half? They did their job to win. We threw it away, the same story we do most of the games we lead at half-time or going into the third quarter. You have to figure out how to stop doing that.

Is there anything specific that happened with the team in the second half? We stopped making shots in the second half. They do a good job. They’re a championship team. They know to take away the first option and their going to take the ball out of my hand or show gaps to try to make me force shots. I just try to play the right way and it didn’t work out today.

How do you navigate this stretch of injuries? You just have to go out there and play. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you. They may look at us like it’s an easy win; try to take advantage of it. You just have to go out there and play.

Is there a reason you’re more frustrated by this loss than others? I’m just upset. It gets frustrating when you lose games. I’ve been going through it the last three years here. It just gets frustrating. It’s like anybody else in our position. We’re human. You have human reactions and feelings. I get frustrated eventually.

DENZEL VALENTINE (three points, two assists)

Do you have any extra anxiety going into this week? No, not really. I feel like everything is going to take care of itself. I can’t really control what happens. I just have to come to work every day and be positive and work hard.

What didn’t work in the second half that did work in the first? I felt like Toronto played with a little bit more energy than we did. We have got to come out and play with a little more energy. They played as a team. They play hard. They were the better team today.

What did you think about Terence Davis’ performance today? I was impressed. He came out. His coach gave him the opportunity to showcase what he can do. He took advantage of it. That’s what the league is about. Opportunity and showcasing what you can do. He had a good performance.