Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. back with team, is questionable for return Friday vs. Suns — The Denver Post

Nuggets small forward Michael Porter Jr. is questionable for Friday’s game at Phoenix after missing the last 10 games and completing the majority of his health and safety protocol.

Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. back with team, is questionable for return Friday vs. Suns — The Denver Post

USC men’s basketball game with Stanford postponed due to COVID-19 issue with Trojans — Orange County Register

For the second time this season, the USC men’s basketball team has had to postpone a game shortly before tip-off due to COVID-19 issues within the program. On Thursday, the Trojans’ game at Stanford was postponed indefinitely due to “a suspected COVID-related issue within our program,” USC tweeted out 14 minutes before the team was…

USC men’s basketball game with Stanford postponed due to COVID-19 issue with Trojans — Orange County Register

Joel Embiid: ‘Marcus Smart just told me that I flail a lot? Come on’ — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

Free-throw attempts in the 76ers’ 117-109 win over the Celtics yesterday: Joel Embiid 21, Boston Celtics 20.

Joel Embiid: ‘Marcus Smart just told me that I flail a lot? Come on’ — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers dispatch Kings for 5th straight win — Daily Bulletin

Leonard has 32 points, Paul George adds 19 and a career-high-tying 12 assists and the Clippers cruise to a 115-96 victory that gives them an 11-4 record, tied for the best in the league.

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers dispatch Kings for 5th straight win — Daily Bulletin

Marcus Smart Not Thrilled With Officiating In Celtics’ Loss To 76ers — NESN.com

Marcus Smart didn’t even take his jersey off or shower before his postgame media availability Wednesday following the Boston Celtics 117-109 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. He had some things he wanted to get off his chest, first. Smart was particularly unhappy with the officiating. Specifically, he was upset with the fact that Joel Embiid […]

Marcus Smart Not Thrilled With Officiating In Celtics’ Loss To 76ers — NESN.com

Confidence isn’t an issue for 4-0 Golden Knights — Las Vegas Review-Journal

Late-game drama wasn’t needed Wednesday when the Golden Knights won a team record fourth straight game to open a season, this a 5-2 final against the Arizona Coyotes.

Confidence isn’t an issue for 4-0 Golden Knights — Las Vegas Review-Journal

Ayton has season-high 26 points, Suns beat Rockets 109-103 — The China Post, Taiwan

HOUSTON (AP) — Deandre Ayton had season highs with 26 points and 17 rebounds and the Phoenix Suns beat the Houston Rockets 109-103 on Wednesday night to end a two-game skid.The Suns won for the first time since Jan. 9. Between the two losses, they had three games postponed because of health and safety protocols after playing at Washington.The Suns led by 20 points in the third quarter, but the Rockets used a couple of runs to get back in it. A jump shot by Devin Booker, who had 24 points, pushed the lead to eight with less than three minutes to go. But Houston scored the next six points, with four from Victor Oladipo, to cut it to 103-101 with 90 seconds left. Ayton made two free throws and Booker added two more to push the lead to 106-101 with 45 seconds to go. Oladipo made a pair of free throws for Houston, but a layup by Booker sealed the victory. Oladipo and Eric Gordon had 22 points apiece for the Rockets. They have lost three of four since James Harden was traded to Brooklyn. Chris Paul had 13 points for the Suns to give him 19,004 in his career, making him the 60th player in NBA history to reach 19,000.Mason Jones made a layup for Houston to start the fourth quarter and cut the lead to five before Ayton took over, scoring eight points during a 10-0 run to make it 99-84 with seven minutes to go. Ayton had two dunks and two blocks in that stretch.A dunk by Christian Wood soon after that ended a scoring drought of more than five minutes and was the start of a 9-0 run that got Houston within 101-95 with about three minutes left. A 3-pointer by Gordon cut the lead to 11 early in the third quarter before the Suns scored the next nine points to make it 74-54 with eight minutes left in the quarter.Gordon ended the run by Phoenix after that with another 3-pointer which was the start of an 8-0 run by Houston that cut the deficit to 74-62.The Suns were up by 14 later in the third after a tip-in shot by Ayton. The Rockets then used a 10-1 spurt to get within 82-77 with about 2 ½ minutes left in the quarter.Phoenix went on a 7-2 run to extend its lead to 10 but a 3-point play by David Nwaba cut it to 89-82 entering the fourth. TIP-INSSuns: Damian Jones and Dario Saric both sat out for a second straight game and Jalen Smith missed his fifth in a row because of health and safety protocols. … Jae Crowder had 11 points off the bench. Rockets: John Wall missed his fourth straight game with a sore left knee and Danuel House (back spasms and self-isolation) sat out for the ninth game in a row. Coach Stephen Silas said he doesn’t expect either player to return until at least next week. … Wood had 20 points and 11 rebounds. UP NEXTSuns: Host consecutive games against Denver beginning on Friday night as part of a four-game homestand. Rockets: Begin a two-game trip on Friday at Detroit.

Ayton has season-high 26 points, Suns beat Rockets 109-103 — The China Post, Taiwan

OILERS 3, MAPLE LEAFS 1: postgame notes

EDMONTON OILERS (2-3-0 – 4 Points) vs.

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS (3-2-0 – 6 Points)

WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 20, 2021

 123OTFINAL
EDMONTON1023
TORONTO0011

GAME SUMMARY         |           EVENT SUMMARY        |           FACEOFF SUMMARY

ON THE SCORESHEET

  • Auston Matthews put the Maple Leafs on the board at 6:44 of the third period. Matthews’ goal is his second of the season. Matthews has points (2-2-4) in three consecutive games. He has six points (4-2-6) in eight career games against Edmonton.
  • Zach Hyman registered the primary assist on Matthews’ third period goal. Hyman has three points (one goal, two assists) in five games to begin the season. Both of his assists have come on home ice.
  • Mitch Marner collected the secondary assist on Matthews’ third period goal. Marner leads the NHL in scoring with seven points (3-4-7) through five games to begin the season. He has points (3-3-6) in three consecutive games.
  • Frederik Andersen stopped 19 of the 21 shots he faced in the loss.

SHOTS ON GOAL (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
EDMONTON3 (3)8 (5)11 (9)23 (18)
TORONTO8 (6)12 (5)6 (4)26 (15)
      

SHOT ATTEMPTS (5-on-5 in brackets)

 1st2nd3rdOTTOTAL
EDMONTON6 (6)18 (11)13 (11)37 (28)
TORONTO15 (12)20 (10)18 (14)53 (36)

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

Record at Home2-1-0 (3 Games)
All-Time Record vs. Edmonton  52-44-8-1 (105 Games)
All-Time Record vs. Edmonton at Home29-19-2-0 (50 Games)

MAPLE LEAFS LEADERS

Shots(Matthews)
Shot Attempts8 (Matthews)
Faceoff Wins14 (Matthews)
Faceoff Win Percentage100% (Kerfoot, Thornton)
Hits(Matthews)
Blocked Shots(Holl)
Takeaways(Hyman, Matthews)
TOI25:36 (Marner)
Power Play TOI1:15 (Matthews, Marner)
Shorthanded TOI2:48 (Spezza)
Shifts26 (Hyman)
5-on-5 Shot Attempt Percentage81.8% (Lehtonen, Mikheyev – 9 for, 2 against)
  

RECORD WHEN…

Opponent scores first2-1-0
Trail after 11-1-0
Trail after 20-2-0
Do not score a power play goal0-1-0
Do not allow a power play goal2-1-0
Outshoot opponent3-1-0
Wednesday1-1-0

OF NOTE…

  • The Maple Leafs went 2-for-3 on the penalty kill and 0-for-2 on the power play tonight.
  • Auston Matthews and Jake Muzzin were on the ice for a team-high 15 shot attempts at 5-on-5 tonight. Matthews finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 62.5% (15 for, 9 against), while Muzzin finished the game with a 5-on-5 shot attempt percentage of 65.2% (15 for, 8 against).
  • Auston Matthews won 78% (7 won, 1 lost) of his offensive zone faceoffs and was 10-for-14 in the faceoff circle against Edmonton centre Connor McDavid in all situations.
  • Joe Thornton left tonight’s game and did not return.

UPCOMING GAMES:

  • Friday, January 22, 7:00 p.m. vs. Edmonton Oilers (TSN4, TSN 1050)
  • Sunday, January 24, 4:00 p.m. at Calgary Flames (Sportsnet Ontario, FAN 590)
  • Tuesday, January 26, 9:00 p.m. at Calgary Flames (Sportsnet Ontario, TSN 1050)
  • Thursday, January 28, 10:00 p.m. at Edmonton Oilers (TSN4, TSN 1050)
  • Saturday, January 30, 7:00 p.m. at Edmonton Oilers (Sportsnet, FAN 590)

Stats reflect official NHL stats at the time of distribution. Please consult official NHL game sheets (links above) to confirm no statistical changes were made.

Oilers 3, Maple Leafs 1: Quotes.

SHELDON KEEFE

Q. Kristen Shilton, TSN: Auston was just saying he felt like maybe you guys were playing it a bit too safe tonight. Did you feel similarly that maybe that held you back from really getting going offensively?

Sheldon Keefe: If you don’t play a little bit safe against this team, they’re going to embarrass you like they did the last time they were in here. You have to be intelligent with how you play, but at the same time, we had our opportunities to play with the puck, they defended well and we didn’t make any plays, we didn’t get off the wall, we didn’t do anything. We can talk about it however way we wish, but both teams defended well today. They were just a little bit better offensively than we were and that’s the difference.

Q. Chris Johnston, Sportsnet: Given those weapons that they have, can you take some positives from the defensive effort and the amount of chances you gave up?

Sheldon Keefe: Sure, I thought defensively we didn’t really expose ourselves until the third period – we started giving up some chances when we were really pressing, but I didn’t like our game at all today. I thought we were really slow, disjointed, didn’t play with enough pace to generate any sort of sustained pressure or offense. Couldn’t draw power plays, took some careless penalties ourselves and that ends up being the difference in the game. A bad bounce and a penalty we couldn’t kill that caught up with us in the third.

Q. Jonas Siegel, The Athletic: I’m just wondering if you had an update on Joe

Sheldon Keefe: Looks like he’s definitely going to miss some time here with us, but we don’t know the extent of it. He’s going to have to get more tests and images and stuff like that later this week.

Q. Kevin McGran, Toronto Star: If you could put your finger on what went wrong, what would you be doing differently on Friday night against this same team?

Sheldon Keefe: Well we’re going to have to look at it. Like I said, they defended really well today. They really shut down the neutral zone, made it hard for us to get through there and we turned the puck over a lot and got stalled offensively once we got in the zone. It was really difficult to get to the net so we’ll have to look to see what we can do better there offensively. I don’t think when we had the puck we played well. I do think you’re definitely aware of who you’re out there against and that’s a big factor in the game. You have to be, but that’s not no excuse to why that would affect us the way it did. We just didn’t skate or work offensively enough today.

Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: I think you used the term careless penalties, but is it tough when you guys play the way you did and you put yourselves in the position to have some of the calls that were made tonight? How do you see it? I’m talking specifically about the Muzzin call.

Sheldon Keefe: We had a hold, a high stick, trip. These are careless penalties that the other team’s not taking. We had a couple of power plays, I think, and chance to score on those and didn’t, but I thought we took some careless ones there that really stalled our game, first of all, even more. And then you know a power play like that is going to break through eventually and we gave them too many opportunities.

Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: You talked earlier this morning about Auston’s two-way game. Do you feel he did enough in that area tonight? It certainly looked like he had takeaways using his body, scoring the goal. Do you feel he did his best tonight?

Sheldon Keefe: I thought he worked, I thought he did a pretty good job, but I thought all our guys were really disconnected today. Where Auston had success, just like his goal, was very individual. He created the takeaway. He attacked the net. We didn’t do much together with any sort of connection from our zone out through the neutral zone into the offensive zone. They also made it difficult because they defended well, they pushed us to the wall so you don’t have proper support and people around the puck. It makes it real hard.

I thought all of our lines and players today were just disjointed and didn’t have legs. Today was a strange game. I don’t know how many of you were in the building, but today was the first game, to me, that felt like a game with no fans. It was a really quiet and slow pace to the game. The first period was tough to get through being on the bench. It just felt like one of those nights and we were trying to get something going. It didn’t feel like we ever really got there.  

TJ BRODIE 

Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: You’re a guy who played a lot against Edmonton, do you find they have, they’re known for their offence but they can put a good forechecking game together tonight like they did?

T.J. Brodie: Yeah, they’re a fast team over there. You know they like to get pucks in deep and get on the forecheck and they’re a pretty big team too. It was as we expected. I thought we did a good job containing the speed through the neutral zone. You know there’s definitely things to improve on for the next game.

Q. Lance Hornby, Toronto Sun: Along those lines, you were probably happy to keep their big line shut down to a large degree five-on-five.

T.J. Brodie: Yeah, you know those big guys are good and skilled guys. So, anytime you can hold them off the scoresheet five-on-five is big.

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: What sort of adjustments or areas you feel you’d like to up for the rematch on Friday?

T.J. Brodie: I think maybe just playing faster. It’s an asset for us to play fast and tonight, I felt like it was a little slow on the regroups and stuff like that. I think that’ll be a big difference maker if we can do that.

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: You feel that will be something that will be easier as the season gets going? You guys didn’t have the exhibition season, no preseason games, that sort of thing.

T.J. Brodie: Yeah, definitely. The longer guys play together, the more they get to know each other, get to know the tendencies and get that chemistry built and you know, that’s a big aspect of the game. 

MITCH MARNER

 Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Why do you think it ended up playing out the way it did as a tightly defensive struggle?

Mitch Marner: I think both teams know that both teams are deadly on odd-man rushes, 3-on-2s, 2-on-1s, anything like that. I think everyone was trying to stay above people, not really give a whole lot of space out there. You could just tell it was a game that wasn’t too many odd-man rushes or anything like that going on. It was going to be won down low and around the net.

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Auston was talking this morning about the battle against the McDavid line and he’s going to get his looks, but it felt like you did a good job of containing him tonight. How do you assess that matchup?

Mitch Marner: I think we were staying above, we were doing a good job, but I think we’ve got to be better in the O-zone, we’ve got to hold on to the puck more, try and control it more. I feel like we weren’t really pressuring too hard on the offence, we were worried about staying above them all night. I think, like I said, we did a good job of it, but at the same time, we’ve got to play more down low in their zone and make it harder. 

AUSTON MATTHEWS

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: So much firepower on both sides, why did you think it ended up being more of a defensive game?  

Auston Matthews: I think both teams watched the pre-scout and were trying to key in on the top guys. It was a pretty underwhelming game, not much going on. We really didn’t do a great job through the neutral zone, we couldn’t get much going. Not a whole lot of offense in that game, not really expected but we definitely have to do a much greater job creating offense.

Q. Mark Masters, TSN: Talking to Mitch, he was happy with the job you guys did on the McDavid line defensively, not as much in terms of the offensive zone. How did you see that matchup tonight?

Auston Matthews: When we go through the pre-scout, obviously we key in on those two guys – they’re extremely dangerous, two of the top two players in the world. We can’t get away from our game too, we’ve got to go out there and play our game and try to produce offence. We’ve got to play to win, not contain two guys. I think we’ve got to regroup as a team, do a good job of watching video and learning from some mistakes and trying to apply some stuff to this next game because we’ve got these guys in another day here.

MORGAN RIELLY

On tonight’s game as a defensive battle:

Morgan Rielly: If you look at the goals, they’re kind of unusual. The puck was bouncing a little bit, I guess. I don’t know, it was just one of those nights I think. Both teams obviously were focused on the big guys up front so that’s just how it goes sometimes.

 Q. Mark Masters, TSN: How do you asses how you guys handled McDavid and the speed he’s got?

Morgan Rielly: It was good. We’re back at it again in a couple of days and I think after that we got them six more times or something so we’ve got a lot of work left to do. I thought it was alright first night.

Q. Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun: You get the Oilers right back again on Friday. What do you take out of this that you can apply to Friday night?

Morgan Rielly: I think that there are periods of the game where we played okay. We got chances. As we talk about it tomorrow at practice, there will be areas that we’ve got to clean up. Obviously, you want the power play to be able to execute when you’ve got chances. I think that in terms of turnovers, I think we had too many, but we’ll talk about that tomorrow. We’ll talk about what we can do to be better and that’ll be discussed. But you know as of right now, I think it was just an odd night. We expect to be better here on Friday.