JAZZ-RAPTORS PREGAME NOTES

RAPTORS NOTES
• The Toronto Raptors return home from three straight road games (Mar. 13-17) to host the Utah Jazz on Friday night at Amalie Arena. The Raptors have won 12 of their last 14 games against the Jazz and swept the season-series each of the last two seasons. Pascal Siakam has scored 27+ points in three straight
games vs. Utah, averaging 30.0 points. Vinik Sports Group and the Raptors will welcome a limited number of fans, with a capacity of 3,800, back to Amalie Arena for games starting Friday.
• Norman Powell scored a career-high 43 points (14-18 FG, 8-12 3PT, 7-9 FT) Wednesday at Detroit. Powell became the 13th player in franchise history to score 40+ points, and just the second to reach the 40-point mark without committing a turnover (Last: Chris Bosh – Dec. 22, 2007 at PHX).
Norman Powell has scored 30+ points six times in the last 11 games (Feb. 19 – Mar. 17). Powell is averaging 26.8 points and is shooting .543 (101-186) from the floor, inlcuding .469 (45-96) from three-point range, during this stretch. Through 38 games, Powell is averaging a career-high 19.7 points (+3.7 ppg from 2019-20) and ranks eighth in the NBA shooting a career-best .446 (108-242) from beyond the arc.
Chris Boucher is averaging career highs of 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.98 blocks and 24.2 minutes, and is the only Raptor to appear in all 40 games this season. Boucher ranks fifth in the NBA in blocks per game and is the only player in the league with 60+ three-point field goals and 60+ blocks (65 3PT, 79 BLK).
Kyle Lowry recorded 15 assists Wednesday against the Pistons. Lowry dished out 15+ assists for the third time this season and eighth time in a Raptors uniform; third most in team history behind Jose Calderon (21) and Damon Stoudamire (11).
• Toronto used its 16th different starting lineup of the season March 17 at Detroit. The Raptors used 18 starting lineups in 72 games during the 2019-20 campaign. Toronto has had 12 different players start at least
one game this season. Fred VanVleet leads the team with 35 starts.
Malachi Flynn, Patrick McCaw, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet all returned to the lineup Wednesday at Detroit. Flynn, McCaw and VanVleet missed the previous five games, while Siakam was out for the last six, because of Health of Safety Protocols. OG Anunoby missed his sixth straight game against the Pistons also because of Health and Safety Protocols. Anunoby is expected to return Friday vs. Utah.
• The Raptors have lost six consecutive games (Mar. 3-17) for the first time since Dec. 3-12, 2012. Opponents are averaging 121.7 points and shooting .498 (253-508) from the field, including .397 (93-234) from three-point range, during this span. Toronto also has a -76 (277-to-353) rebounding differential over the last six contests. The last time the Raptors dropped seven in a row was Jan. 10-22, 2012 when they lost eight straight games. Toronto is six games below .500 (17-23) for the first time this season.

Powell, Anunoby out for Raptors

Norman Powell (right quadriceps contusion) and OG Anunoby (left calf strain) are out of the Toronto Raptors lineup for the game Sunday against the Orlando Magic at Tampa, according to the NBA injury report released at 5:30 p.m. Both missed the loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday. Coach Nick Nurse said Powell could return for the game Tuesday at Orlando, but Anunoby likely will need another week or so.

Local NBA Star Norman Powell Donates $100K to Lincoln High Families — NBC 7 San Diego

Hundreds of San Diego families will have something extra under the Christmas tree this year thanks to local NBA star, Norman Powell. The Toronto Raptors player graduated from Lincoln High School and is setting an example by giving back to the community he grew up in. Powell donated $100,000 to help more than 200 families […]

Local NBA Star Norman Powell Donates $100K to Lincoln High Families — NBC 7 San Diego

Celtics Notes: Marcus Smart Explains What Happened On Game-Altering Block — NESN.com

Sign In Marcus Smart did Marcus Smart things. Again. The Toronto Raptors cut the Boston Celtics’ 10-point lead to two points, taking over momentum and, even more importantly, having the opportunity to tie up the game with 58 seconds left. Toronto’s Pascal Siakam hauled in a defensive rebound after Jayson Tatum’s drive to the rim…

Celtics Notes: Marcus Smart Explains What Happened On Game-Altering Block — NESN.com

Marcus Smart did Marcus Smart things. Again.

The Toronto Raptors cut the Boston Celtics’ 10-point lead to two points, taking over momentum and, even more importantly, having the opportunity to tie up the game with 58 seconds left.

Toronto’s Pascal Siakam hauled in a defensive rebound after Jayson Tatum’s drive to the rim was off the mark. Siakam found teammate Norman Powell, who took the ball the length of the floor, committed to going to his left when he got to half court only to see Smart matching him stride-for-stride.

Smart then did what he always does. He made arguably the most important play of the game, blocking Powell at the rim and saving a game-altering basket. (You can watch the play here.)

He explained what was going through his mind after the Celtics’ claimed the 92-87 win in Game 7, ultimately advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.

“As soon as Norman caught the ball, instantly I remembered last game where that exact same play came full court and he got the and-1 in the same type of standard where, close game, and it put them up I think three,” Smart said, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “So, when he caught the ball in my mind I’m just telling myself ‘He has to dunk it. I’m not going to give him no foul, I’m just going to meet him up top and see who wins that battle.’

“I bet on myself 100 percent of the time,” Smart continued. “And I’m first team All-Defense for a reason. I believe that wholeheartedly.”

Smart contributed three steals to go along with his one block. He also helped the Celtics defense force 18 turnovers with 12 steals as a team. That specific play, however, was what stuck out in the minds of head coach Brad Stevens and Kemba Walker.

“I thought two best plays of the night were Smart’s block and Tatum’s (offensive) rebound,” Stevens said, per NBC Sports Boston. “Those were both incredible effort plays by two of our best players.

“The hustle, the block, the toughness,” Stevens added of Smart. “He had a couple loose balls, he almost came up with another couple rebounds there towards the end of the game. Yeah, I mean he’s a huge part of our team. He’s a huge part of organization.”

Walker said much of the same.

“That block was, that block was so special. It was unreal,” Walker said. “This is why he’s first team All-Defense. He shows it night in and night out. He made so many huge plays tonight. A lot of the things he does just goes unnoticed. But that kid, he’s special. He’s on a different level on the basketball court.”More:Celtics Wrap: Boston Wins Game 7 Vs. Raptors, Advances To East Finals

Here are some other notes from Friday’s win:

— Of note, the other play Stevens was referencing was Tatum’s offensive rebound after a missed foul shot by Grant Williams. It helped Tatum go back to the free throw line, where he made one of two to give the Celtics a 90-87 lead with 34.9 second left.

— Despite a slow start from Walker, who took just two shots in his first 17 minutes, the point guard finished strong by scoring eight of his 14 points in the fourth.

Stevens was happy to see Walker play well down the stretch, as well as advance to his first conference finals.

“I’m really happy for him. He deserves to experience this,” Stevens said of Walker. “He’s everything that’s good about basketball. He loves the game, he’s a great teammate. He doesn’t care if he gets any of the glory, like he’s just a special guy. Guys like that deserve to play on these stages, for all the marbles and I’m glad he gets to keep doing it.”

— Rookie Grant Williams was forced to play some key minutes down the stretch when center Daniel Theis fouled out. And he did so admirably, playing strong defense on what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer by Toronto’s Fred VanVleet.

“He’s not even a rookie the way he plays, the way he sees the game, the way he comes in the game and brings energy,” Smart said of Williams. “For him to come in the game like that, Game 7, a rookie, to come up with that play, the fact that he was even in the mix to come up with that rebound was incredible.”

— Celtics’ fans may have had their hearts skip a beat with 9:40 left in the fourth quarter when Jaylen Brown went down with what looked to be a knee injury.

Brown never left the game, explaining that he was able to stay in due to his adrenaline. He admitted he was feeling the injury a bit more after the game.

The Celtics will take the floor next Tuesday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports ImagesMore NBA:Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart Among Celtics Who React On Twitter After Win

The post Celtics Notes: Marcus Smart Explains What Happened On Game-Altering Block appeared first on NESN.com.

Toronto Raptors consider boycott after Jacob Blake shooting — PressNewsAgency

Toronto Raptors players are considering a boycott of their upcoming NBA playoff series opener against the Boston Celtics in the wake of another police shooting in USA. The players held a team meeting prior to Tuesday’s practice to discuss their response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back by […]

Toronto Raptors consider boycott after Jacob Blake shooting — PressNewsAgency

Toronto Raptors players are considering a boycott of their upcoming NBA playoff series opener against the Boston Celtics in the wake of another police shooting in USA.

The players held a team meeting prior to Tuesday’s practice to discuss their response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back by police officers Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

“It’s being talked about … taking a knee is not getting it done,” Raptors guard Norman Powell said, per Sportsnet.

Guard Fred VanVleet said many options are on the table.Image:
Raptors guard Norman Powell says taking a knee is ‘not getting it done’

“We knew coming here or not coming here was not going to stop anything, but I think ultimately playing or not playing puts pressure on somebody,” VanVleet said.

“At the end of the day, if we’re gonna sit here and talk about making change, then at some point we’re gonna have to put our (manhood) on the line and actually put something up to lose, rather than just money or visibility.

“I’m just over the media aspect of it. It’s sensationalised, we talk about it everyday, that’s all we see, but it just feels like a big pacifier to me.”

Video shows Blake, trying to get into his van, with an officer pulling Blake’s white T-shirt, then firing several shots at close range into his back. Blake’s father, also named Jacob Blake, told ABC News that he was told his son is paralysed from the waist down after being shot eight times.

Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors
Image:
Raptors guard Fred VanVleet says the players can apply ‘pressure’ with a boycott

“We’re the ones always with the microphones in our face,” VanVleet said.

“We’re the ones always who have to make a stand. But, like, we’re the oppressed ones, and the responsibility falls on us to make a change to stop being oppressed, you know what I’m saying?

“Do we actually give an (expletive) about what’s going on, or is it just cool to wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the backdrop, or wear a T-shirt? Like, what does that really mean? Is it really doing anything?”

Game 1 of the Raptors-Celtics Eastern Conference semi-finals is scheduled to tip off Thursday night in Orlando.



RAPTORS BLOG: Powell’s outstanding season continued as he lit up Brooklyn — Toronto Sun

Toronto made quick work of Brooklyn in the first round for a variety of reasons, but one of them was the best playoff series of Norman Powell’s career. Powell, the second-longest-tenured Raptor after Kyle Lowry, has had a handful of brilliant individual post-season games for the club — some good enough to turn entire series…

RAPTORS BLOG: Powell’s outstanding season continued as he lit up Brooklyn — Toronto Sun

Raptors complete the sweep but Lowry injury has everyone a little nervous — Toronto Sun

The first round is in the rearview mirror now for the Raptors, but the path ahead potentially got a little tougher. The Raptors did the expected and handled the undermanned Nets in quick fashion for the first sweep in franchise history, but nine minutes into the Game 4 knockout punch, a 150-122 win, the Raptors’ […]

Raptors complete the sweep but Lowry injury has everyone a little nervous — Toronto Sun

Raptors complete the sweep but Lowry injury has everyone a little nervous

Author of the article:Mike GanterPublishing date:Aug 24, 2020  •  Last Updated 11 hours ago  •  4 minute read

Raptors guard Norman Powell dunks against Jarrett Allen of the Nets during the second half in Game 4 of the first round of the NBA playoffs at The Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. KIM KLEMENT / POOL / Getty Images

The first round is in the rearview mirror now for the Raptors, but the path ahead potentially got a little tougher.

The Raptors did the expected and handled the undermanned Nets in quick fashion for the first sweep in franchise history, but nine minutes into the Game 4 knockout punch, a 150-122 win, the Raptors’ worst fears may have been realized.

Kyle Lowry, on the move, stepped on Chris Chiozza’s foot and turned his left ankle just as he reached the Nets three-point line. Lowry, as is his custom, was up to argue the lack of a foul call on the play but did so limping. He stayed in the game for the next possession but at the first stoppage jogged, again limping, directly to the locker room, not to be seen again.

Without imaging equipment at the arena in Orlando, Lowry was taken off-site (but still in the bubble) to have the ankle looked at. He is scheduled to have an MRI on the arch of his left foot on Monday.

Raptors guard Kyle Lowry battles for the ball against Jarrett Allen of the Nets during the first half in Game 4 of the first round of the NBA playoffs at The Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. KIM KLEMENT / POOL/Getty Images

Head coach Nick Nurse knows exactly what losing Lowry, going into a series with Boston, will mean.

“I won’t be very comfortable without Kyle out there, I will say that. He’s certainly a big engine for us,” Nurse said. “But I would say, I think that we play a system or a style where lots of guys are involved and it’s not like, yeah, we’re going to miss all those great, great things Kyle does if he doesn’t play, but somebody else has got to take shots and play defence and play tough and do the things that he does to make up for it. Or we do it by committee, that’s probably a better way.”

But Nurse was not ready to concede anything to the injury gods just yet.

“It would hurt us a lot,” Nurse said. “All I can say is, you guys know how big a cog he is to this whole thing. He’s our most experienced, toughest leader we got. I don’t want to speculate and answer a million questions on whether he’s playing or not until we know whether he’s playing or not and we’ve got a few days for that.

“But I would imagine this: It’s going to be a hell of an injury to keep him off the floor. It’s not going to be a little thing. He’s going to try to figure it out. He played, I don’t know how many, 14 or 16 straight playoff games last year with a totally messed up left thumb, running through the Finals last year. It’s going to take something pretty serious to keep him out.”

Lowry’s absence for the bulk of Game 4 further complicated things for the Raptors who were already making do without Fred VanVleet, who picked up three quick fouls in the first seven minutes and would not return to the game until the third quarter.
Throw in some early foul trouble for reserve guards Norm Powell and Terence Davis and one might think the Raptors were in a little trouble.

But if this team has shown one consistent trait this year, it is being able to absorb a blow that might dismantle others and find a way to win. Sunday night that trait was in full view.

Powell and Serge Ibaka came off the bench and helped the Raptors put up 77 in that first half, which is a franchise record for a playoff game.

“Breakin’ records.”

First postseason series sweep ☑️ pic.twitter.com/DlKoLZ9Ryd— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 24, 2020

Powell finished with a playoff-best 29 points in 24 minutes on 9-of-14 shooting. Right with him was Ibaka, who 27 points and a team-best 15 rebounds in just 20 minutes.
VanVleet returned to the floor to start the second half but wound up playing just 19 minutes.

Playing without key men is nothing new to the Raptors. They’ve done it all season with everyone on the team missing time at some point due to injury with the exception of OG Anunoby and Davis.

“One thing about us, we know we have a lot of guys who can play,” Ibaka said after the game. “We don’t really worry about who’s going to score 30 or 40 every night. We are not that type of team where one guy is going to score 30 or 40. So we just come and try to play basketball: Move the ball, whoever’s hot, we’re going to go with him, and that’s why we are always there, even when we have guys down.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/AhS3CnGZn2k?embed_config={%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1

As good as Powell and Ibaka were, the Raptors bench as a whole deserved a ton of credit in this one. It scored 100 points with contributions and scoring from all eight reserves that took the floor — a Raptors and an NBA record.

The old playoff mark was 86 set by Dallas. The all-time mark for bench points from a team in a game was set by Golden State with 94 in 1977.

The Raptors win sets up the much-anticipated second-round matchup with the Boston Celtics who themselves completed the sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers earlier in the day. The two Atlantic-division foes have never met in the playoffs.

The Celtics lost guard Gordon Hayward with an ankle injury of his own earlier in the playoff round but they still boast a tough lineup with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and now likely Marcus Smart joining the starting five with Hayward out.

Already this season the two teams have played four highly entertaining games with the Celtics winning three including one since the re-start.

RAPTORS-CELTICS SCHEDULE (Best-of-seven series)

Game 1 – Thursday, August 27

Game 2 – Saturday, August 29

Game 3 – Monday, August 31

Game 4 – Wednesday, September 2

Game 5* – Friday, September 4

Game 6* – Sunday, September 6

Game 7* – Tuesday, September 8

mganter@postmedia.com

Nets don’t make it easy but Raps off to a 2-0 start in playoffs — Toronto Sun

Anyone worried the Raptors might not get the necessary challenge from an undermanned Nets team in this first round need no longer worry. Read More

Nets don’t make it easy but Raps off to a 2-0 start in playoffs — Toronto Sun

Raptors’ Powell feeling constrained in his social justice message options — Toronto Sun

Norm Powell had a very specific phrase for the back of his jersey where his name would normally go for this NBA restart. But he won’t be able to use it and he’s not very happy about it. In acknowledgement of the huge emphasis a vast number of NBA players and the league itself is […]

Raptors’ Powell feeling constrained in his social justice message options — Toronto Sun

NORMAN POWELL EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

POWELL NAMED EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The National Basketball Association announced Monday that Norman Powell has been selected as Eastern Conference Player of the Week. Powell earns the honour for the first time in his career and becomes the 10th player in franchise history, joining Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jalen Rose, Mike James, Lou Wiliams, Pascal Siakam and Kawhi Leonard.

Powell helped lead Toronto to a 3-0 record this past week, scoring an Eastern Conference-best 31.3 points. He also posted 2.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting .561 from the field. Powell began the week with 26 points during Toronto’s 123-114 win Mar. 3 at Phoenix. He then scored a career-high 37 points Mar. 5 at Golden State and tied a career-high with six three-pointers Mar. 8 at Sacramento.    

Powell was selected 46th overall by Toronto in the 2015 NBA Draft and is the second-longest serving player on the team behind only Kyle Lowry. He was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for April 2016.

WOZ BLOG: We’re living in an excellent era for the Raptors — Toronto Sun

SAN FRANCISCO — What a fun era this We the North period has been. As I noted on Twitter: Read More

WOZ BLOG: We’re living in an excellent era for the Raptors — Toronto Sun

SAN FRANCISCO — What a fun era this We the North period has been. As I noted on Twitter:

Toronto Raptors past seven seasons: Seven playoff appearances, 1 title, 2 conference finals. Eight series wins.

Toronto Raptors first 18 seasons: Five playoff appearances, one series win (a best-of-five).

It’s amazing, when you think about just how brutal things were for so long, how everything has changed. Now the Raptors are one of the most respected, successful and profit-making franchises in the entire NBA.

More….

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