RAPTORS BLOG: Toronto was right there despite so much going wrong and this series isn’t done yet — Toronto Sun

The Raptors could use Gandalf right about now to turn the tide. Read More

RAPTORS BLOG: Toronto was right there despite so much going wrong and this series isn’t done yet — Toronto Sun

Or Kawhi Leonard. Or sweet-shooting guards Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet to bury some shots. And for Marcus Smart to remember that he’s a career 32% three-point shooter, and not Larry Bird.

pic.twitter.com/c4QUZTTlyp— Michael Pina (@MichaelVPina) September 2, 2020

Smart’s always been sneaky dangerous, despite his overall poor shooting numbers. Even in his third season, when he shot just 28% from deep, he nailed 42% of his corner three-point attempts and was fifth in the NBA in pull-up three-point percentage this regular season. The mechanics are there. He just needs the confidence of seeing an early one or two go down. Plus things are evening out after he missed nearly everything from deep in the first round against Philadelphia. As Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said when asked about parallels to Fred VanVleet’s playoffs last year (brutal against Philadelphia, all-world in the rally against Milwaukee and in the Finals): “I didn’t think of that but that’s a pretty good comparison,” Nurse said, calling Smart Boston’s “wild card.”

As Nurse said, Boston has a ton of firepower in Jayson Tatum (career playoff high and 14 free throw attempts), Kemba Walker (one of the NBA’s streakiest scorers, as he showed after stinking it up in the first half before erupting) and Jaylen Brown. You know you’ll get a lot from at least two of those guys each night, but if Smart is playing like Ray Allen on offence and Tony Allen on defence, well, you’re going to be in an awfully tough spot. Especially if Lowry misses all of his open shots (six, total) and VanVleet misses 5-of-14. In face, take away OG Anunoby’s strong game and the rest of the Raptors only hit 33% of their uncontested shot attempts.

There is going to be some reversion to the mean at some point when it comes to both Smart and Toronto’s guards. There just has to be. At some point Norman Powell probably contributes too, since he has all season.

The Raptors had 10 steals for the second game in a row and blocked seven shots, their playoff high through two rounds. The steal number (six in the first half in particular) was impressive considering 0 free throw attempts in the first half meant they rarely had time to set their defence early on.

Why individual plus/minus isn’t a great stat: The eye test said Boston’s Semi Ojeleye played awful, doing a bit of a Rodions Kurucs impression. The stats say he was a game-high plus-seven. That despite bricking his three shot attempts, all three-pointers.

We’ll end again with a shoutout to Jamal Murray (and Donovan Mitchell, who also had a spectacular series and nearly willed Utah back after an epically bad first half for the team). Murray didn’t put the Nuggets on his shoulders again for Game 7, Nikola Jokic stepped up for his fellow star, but he gutted through the pain caused by a collision with Joe Ingles and still managed to score 17 in a game that was a bit of a throwback to the mid-90s, when it comes to offensive crispness.

Murray’s numbers for the series were nothing short of ridiculous. Denver rallied from a 3-1 hole and he averaged 31.6 points, 6.3 assists, 5.6 rebounds per game and his shooting splits were .550/.533/.920. Shooting that well with a 3/1 turnover ratio is the type of next level stuff that should have Nuggets fans very happy, as well as supporters of Canadian basketball. In Murray and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Canada has a starting backcourt that can compete with any country on the planet.

Denver needs to add some great defenders who can nail open shots around Jokic and Murray, who are below average on that end and they’ll be contenders.

In that epic series, Jamal Murray was 14-20 FG (7-9 3FG) with 6 assists and 0 turnovers in clutch situations (game within 5 in final 5:00).

He scored 36 points and assisted another 15 points in 20 minutes of clutch time.

As close to perfect as you can get. pic.twitter.com/oOiDVGFhhl— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) September 2, 2020

THREE STARS

1 — Marcus Smart

2 — Jayson Tatum

3 — OG Anunoby

Raptors Coach Nick Nurse Rips NBA Refs After Game 2 Loss To Celtics — NESN.com

Sign In Nick Nurse might be getting desperate. The Toronto Raptors head coach strongly criticized the officials Tuesday after his team’s Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics. In particular, Nurse was upset at a non-call on Marcus Smart late in the game as well as the overall treatment of Celtics star…

Raptors Coach Nick Nurse Rips NBA Refs After Game 2 Loss To Celtics — NESN.com

Nick Nurse might be getting desperate.

The Toronto Raptors head coach strongly criticized the officials Tuesday after his team’s Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics. In particular, Nurse was upset at a non-call on Marcus Smart late in the game as well as the overall treatment of Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

“The only frustrating part about it is this: (Tatum) shoots 14 free throws, which is as much as our whole team shoots,” Nurse said.

” … They took very good care of him tonight.”

Take a look:

Nick Nurse was asked how frustrating it was to see Jayson Tatum take over.

“The only frustrating part about it is this: He shoots 14 free throws, which is as much as our whole team shoots. … They took very good care of him tonight.” pic.twitter.com/KvIgFS3RXc— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 2, 2020

Not to be overly technical, but the Raptors shot 16 free throws as a team.

At the end of the day, it’s entirely possible Tatum received the star treatment Tuesday night. However, the young forward was called for a soft technical late in the game in a decision that sure seemed like punishment for consistent complaining toward the officials. So, it’s clear the refs don’t love Tatum that much.

The Celtics hold a 2-0 lead over the Raptors in their second-round NBA Playoffs series. The two teams will meet at 6:30 p.m. ET on Thursday for Game 3.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

More NBA: Did Kyle Lowry Take Dig At Marcus Smart After Celtics’ Game 2 Win?Boston CelticsShare   

World Series odds update: Blue Jays surging after recent acquisitions — Portal4News

Find line reports, best bets, and subscribe to push notifications in the Betting News section. Entering the season, only eight teams had worse odds to win the World Series than the Toronto Blue Jays (+10000). They were mere afterthoughts after three consecutive losing seasons. Fast forward six weeks and Toronto is among the hottest teams […]

World Series odds update: Blue Jays surging after recent acquisitions — Portal4News

Entering the season, only eight teams had worse odds to win the World Series than the Toronto Blue Jays (+10000). They were mere afterthoughts after three consecutive losing seasons.

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Fast forward six weeks and Toronto is among the hottest teams in baseball – and bettors are taking notice.

Since Aug. 17, no team has won more games than the Blue Jays (11), who boast three wins by five runs or more and five losses by a combined six runs over that span. After seeing odds as high as 75-1 earlier this month, their price has shortened to 60-1 and could continue to shrink after a busy trade deadline.

Toronto acquired versatile infielder Jonathan Villar, who will likely be the everyday shortstop until young star Bo Bichette returns from the IL. They also bolstered the rotation by adding Taijuan Walker – who threw six scoreless innings in his Saturday debut – and former All-Stars Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling ahead of the deadline.

Those additions should bring upside and stability to a staff that used 21 different starters a season ago. This year the rotation has been one of the most effective in the majors. Toronto leads the league in opposing xwOBAcon (.364) – which is an expected measure of the quality of contact allowed – and it’s among the best at avoiding zone contact and hard-hit balls.

The Blue Jays hitters aren’t having trouble producing this season. They rank fourth in MLB in hard-hit rate (41.1%) and have cut down on their swings and misses, a major problem for this young lineup last year. Playing in Buffalo’s minor-league park certainly helps – they own MLB’s second-best OPS (.878) at home – but Toronto’s lineup seems to have turned things around after a disappointing 2019.

Will it last? Advanced stats seem to think so. The Blue Jays have a 65.2% chance of making the playoffs, per Fangraphs, and Toronto’s 1.2% chance to win it all is much closer to their 75-1 price in early August than their current charge. For that reason, it’s probably wiser to stay away for now and buy back up when their bats cool off.

If you bought at 100-1 this summer, though, you should feel encouraged about owning one of the highest upside tickets in the field. With a deep rotation and a stable of powerful young bats, Toronto has a legitimate chance to make some noise in what promises to be a wild postseason.

TEAMODDS
Los Angeles Dodgers+350
New York Yankees+350
Tampa Bay Rays+800
Minnesota Twins+1000
Atlanta Braves+1200
Oakland Athletics+1200
Chicago Cubs+1400
Chicago White Sox+1400
Houston Astros+1400
San Diego Padres+1800
Cleveland Indians+2000
New York Mets+2200
Cincinnati Reds+2500
St. Louis Cardinals+2800
Milwaukee Brewers+3500
Colorado Rockies+4000
Philadelphia Phillies+4000
Washington Nationals+4500
Arizona Diamondbacks+6000
Toronto Blue Jays+6000
Miami Marlins+6500
Baltimore Orioles+10000
San Francisco Giants+10000
Texas Rangers+10000
Boston Red Sox+15000
Los Angeles Angels+15000
Detroit Tigers+20000
Seattle Mariners+25000
Kansas City Royals+30000
Pittsburgh Pirates+40000

Donovan Mitchell on Utah: “This ain’t the end. This is just the beginning.” — Portal4News

Utah was thisclose to advancing. Donovan Mitchell had the ball poked away from him on a drive to tie the game, then stood — his arms in the air, wide open — watching Mike Conley take a running three to win the series for Utah… then watching that shot rim out. Mitchell collapsed on the […]

Donovan Mitchell on Utah: “This ain’t the end. This is just the beginning.” — Portal4News

Deputy accuses Raptors’ Masai Ujiri of falsely claiming ‘racial animus’ — Toronto Sun

Despite evidence showing he was clearly the aggressor and the fact that Alameda County prosecutors declined to pursue charges, the sheriff’s deputy who has tried to sue Masai Ujiri is still refusing to give up. Read More

Deputy accuses Raptors’ Masai Ujiri of falsely claiming ‘racial animus’ — Toronto Sun

Clippers’ Marcus Morris Sr. fined $35,000 for striking Luka Doncic — Press Telegram

The NBA fined Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. $35,000 for “recklessly striking Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic” above the shoulders, according Kiki VanDeWeghe, the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations. In the NBA’s news release announcing the fine, the league stated that the amount of the fine – which was announced Wednesday, on Morris…

Clippers’ Marcus Morris Sr. fined $35,000 for striking Luka Doncic — Press Telegram

In the NBA’s news release announcing the fine, the league stated that the amount of the fine – which was announced Wednesday, on Morris Sr.’s 31st birthday – took into account the fact that Morris was disciplined on prior occasions for physical altercations on the court.

The incident that drew the fine came with 1:07 remaining in Game 6 of the Clippers’ Western Conference first-round playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks – a 111-97 closeout victory for L.A., which begins second-round action against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.