GANTER: Raptors have their swagger back now — Toronto Sun

It’s a best of three now. The Celtics were a half second away from taking a 3-0 stranglehold on the Raptors in Game 3. Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby said ‘Not just yet’ stealing Game 3 and a completely different looking Raptors unit took the floor for Game 4. This time there was no buzzer-beater […]

GANTER: Raptors have their swagger back now — Toronto Sun

It’s a best of three now.

The Celtics were a half second away from taking a 3-0 stranglehold on the Raptors in Game 3.

Kyle Lowry and OG Anunoby said ‘Not just yet’ stealing Game 3 and a completely different looking Raptors unit took the floor for Game 4.

This time there was no buzzer-beater needed as the Raptors pulled away for a 100-93 win to even up the series.

The Raptors were the clear aggressors in this game continually building leads but to the Celtics credit continually having to re-establish those leads after the Celts response.

But there was a different look in Toronto from the very outset.

No one between games was willing to say the Raptor swagger was definitively back given how little of Game 3 they actually controlled but it’s a much safer statement following Game 4.

The three-point game, a staple of their offence was back led by that stellar backfourt of Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry who were a combined 9-for-20 from distance. Serge Ibaka off the bench was a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc.

Were it not for Pascal Siakam’s 2-for-13 from distance, the team average would have been other worldly.

HOW ABOUT SERGE

Ibaka really isn’t getting the credit he deserves in this series.

With Gasol not quite himself until about Game 3, it was Ibaka who was so important just to give the Raptors a chance in Game 2.

With Gasol looking more like himself in Game 3 and again in Game 4 (despite the foul trouble) Ibaka has ccontinued to play big minutes as Nurse’s first or second man off the bench.

Nurse has been talking up Ibaka’s shooting since the re-start began and for good reason. Ibaka has been averaging just under 16 points a game in the playoffs for the Raptors in just over 24 minutes.

“Serge plays like that, we’re always a better team,” Lowry said afterwards. “When our bigs played the way they did tonight — Marc (Gasol) hit a big shot for us, Serge does like he did tonight, it gives us a big lift.”

NOT CELTICS’ NIGHT

The Celtics have been so good through three games it was almost unbelievable watching them shooting makeable three after makeable three Saturday night and missing.

The Celtics were just 7-for-35 from three in the game with Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, their two big gunners going a combined 3-for-17.

Obviously credit the Raptors defence but sometimes the ball just isn’t falling and it seemed like that was the case for a good portion of the night for

the Celtics, but Brown in particular.

The Raptors on the other hand hit 17 threes in the game and while they weren’t real happy about their mid-range game – “We shot like crap from two” was how Fred VanVleet put it, they had a decent night from behind the arc. Lowry still thinks they can be better overall.

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“I still think we’re not close to where we could be shooting it at but we made some threes in a good stretch in the third quarter, made some big ones in the fourth,” Lowry said. “You know, the way they play defence is: they contest really, really hard, but we’ve just got to shoot the ball with confidence and continue to shoot the ball with confidence and keep getting better. If we get one of those games where we get really, really hot, it makes a big difference.”

STEVENS’ TAKE

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens was rather adamant that the Celtics did carry a bit of a grudge into Saturday’s game after the way Game 3 ended.

“I don’t think there’s any question that we were (angry) and guys played exceptionally hard and did a lot of good things,” he said defending his team. “But the other team is out there, too. And they made it very tough on us. When you miss, as we know, it can kinda cascade on you, and that’s what happened tonight. We gotta handle that better. I was pretty encouraged at halftime. We were shooting awful and it was 49-49. But it’s part of it. Gotta play better, gotta shoot better, gotta feel better. Gotta be ready to go on Monday night.”

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QUICK HITS

Pre-game Stevens revealed injured forward/guard Gordon Hayward was due back on the NBA campus on Sunday at which point he will have to undergo a four-day quarantine. But as for a return, Stevens tamped down expectations. “He’s not going to play any time soon,” he said … The Miami Heat are a win away from sending the East’s No. 1 seeded Milwaukee Bucks home from the bubble. News yesterday had Giannis Antetokounmpo questionable for Game 4 with an ankle sprain which makes things infinintely tougher for the Bucks who would be without their leading scorer and leading rebounder … Speaking of the Heat, and we only bring this to your attention to start stoking the fire in case the matchup eventually comes to pass. But long-time Heat beat writer Ira Winderman was asked in his daily exchange with readers who he thought the Heat would rather face in an Eastern Final should they eventually finish off the Bucks. Winderman who knows better than most not to mess with the basketball gods, began by reminding his reader the Heat had not yet qualified for the Conference Final. Only after that did he finally admit the Heat would probably prefer to see the Raptors who they handled better in the regular season than they fared against the Celtics. But don’t let that stop you from starting your Miami-doesn’t respect-Toronto file.

Nikola Jokic: “I’m patient because I cannot really run fast” — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

Denver’s Nikola Jokic embodies the John Wooden saying, “be quick, don’t hurry.”

Nikola Jokic: “I’m patient because I cannot really run fast” — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

BREAKING: Blue Jays star Teoscar Hernandez headed to injury list with suspected rib injury — Toronto Sun

BOSTON — The injury woes that have plagued the Blue Jays in this crammed 2020 season has claimed another of its star players, the Toronto Sun has learned. Read More

BREAKING: Blue Jays star Teoscar Hernandez headed to injury list with suspected rib injury — Toronto Sun

BOSTON — The injury woes that have plagued the Blue Jays in this crammed 2020 season has claimed another of its star players, the Toronto Sun has learned.

A source in Boston said that outfielder Teoscar Hernandez will be out of the lineup for a lengthy but undisclosed time after suffering an apparent rib injury here on Saturday night.

Hernandez, who earlier in the game had hit his team-leading 14th home run of the season, has been spectacular for the Jays in their playoff push. It’s almost certain he will spend extended time on the injury list.

An MRI is scheduled for later Sunday to determine the severity of the injury. The team is already without star shortstop Bo Bichette and closer Ken Giles and is wearing down from a gruelling 28 games in 27 days stretch. Hernandez was batting .306 and also leads the Jays in RBI with 27.

After finishing a five-game series with the Red Sox here on Sunday afternoon, the Jays return to Buffalo for what is seen as a crucial three-game set vs. The New York Yankees.

NBA Playoffs: Jamal Murray scores 27 points as Denver Nuggets tie series against Los Angeles Clippers | NBA News — The Latest News

[ad_1] Jamal Murray scored 27 points and Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 18 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 110-101 in Game 2 of their Western Conference semi-final on Saturday. Game leaders Denver Nuggets Points: Jamal Murray – 27 Assists: Jamal Murray – 6 Rebounds: Nikola Jokic – 18 Los […]

NBA Playoffs: Jamal Murray scores 27 points as Denver Nuggets tie series against Los Angeles Clippers | NBA News — The Latest News

Kemba Walker Says He’s ‘Got To Be More Aggressive’ After Taking Nine Shots In Game 4 Loss — Portal4News

Kemba Walker said his lack of aggression was “unacceptable” after taking only nine shots in the Boston Celtics’ 100-93 loss to the Toronto Raptors in game 4. The series is now even at two. “I got to be more aggressive. I wasn’t aggressive enough. That’s unacceptable on my behalf, to be honest. There’s no way […]

Kemba Walker Says He’s ‘Got To Be More Aggressive’ After Taking Nine Shots In Game 4 Loss — Portal4News

Kemba Walker said his lack of aggression was “unacceptable” after taking only nine shots in the Boston Celtics’ 100-93 loss to the Toronto Raptors in game 4.

The series is now even at two.

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“I got to be more aggressive. I wasn’t aggressive enough. That’s unacceptable on my behalf, to be honest. There’s no way I can just be taking nine shots. That’s unacceptable,” said Walker.

Walker finished the game with 15 points and 8 assists, while also going 1-for-6 from three.

Jaylen Brown, who shot 4-of-18 from the field, echoed Walker’s struggles. 

“I just missed some open shots. I’m a good shooter. I’ve just got to make them. It’s make-or-break time, 2-2. The series is tied up. We didn’t play that well. I didn’t play that well. We got to bounce back and be ready to fight. That’s what it comes down to: fight. We have to be ready to fight for our lives next game and keep playing good basketball.”