By Dave Feschuk Sports Columnist Mon., May 7, 2018 CLEVELAND—The Bank Shot happened late Saturday night, LeBron James burying the Raptors in a 3-0 series hole with another playoff buzzer beater, off one foot and off the glass. But even Monday morning, if the Raptors flipped on ESPN in their downtown hotel, the microanalysis of James’s magnificent game winner had yet to cease. Jalen Rose, the ex-Raptor, broke it down second by second, calling Toronto’s failure to trap James and force him to make a pass “a coaching mistake.” SportsCenter’s anchors pointed out that the Raptors had been the victim of James’s fifth career playoff buzzer beater. Michael Jordan went through a legendary career and sunk three. Kobe Bryant? One. “I wasn’t watching it, though,” said Fred VanVleet, the Raptors point guard, speaking of the coverage of James’s big moment. “I’ve seen the play obviously, but … [Read more...] about Even LeBron makes mistakes when push comes to shove
Cough history taking
By Stephen Whyno The Associated Press Sun., April 29, 2018 WASHINGTON—Braden Holtby spun around and saw the puck on the goal line. Maybe it was in. Maybe it wasn’t. But after mounting another two-goal lead and this time building on it instead of blowing it, the Washington Capitals made sure it wasn’t close enough for one questionable call either way to make a difference. With fresh memories of coughing up that same lead in Game 1, this time they took it to the Pittsburgh Penguins and emerged with a 4-1 victory in Game 2 to tie the second-round series. “You can see what happen last game when we get the lead 2-0 and they come back and win the game,” said Alex Ovechkin, who scored his seventh goal of the playoffs. “They’re experienced team, they’re not going to give up and they’re not gonna give easy play for us. We have to earn it. Today I think we play a solid game, everybody was in and we get the result.” … [Read more...] about Capitals square series with Penguins, but controversy prevails
Mon., April 23, 2018 They honed the new system. They reeled off a franchise-record 59 regular-season wins, and two playoff victories, proving it worked. But when the moment got big and the pressure intensified in Sunday night’s Game 4, the Raptors abandoned it. Out the window was the ball-sharing, three-point-focused offence that helped produce the NBA’s second-best win-loss record. In its place was an ugly version of a tired, old act. Raptors fans are familiar with previous incarnations of Two Guys Taking Turns Going One on One. This showing, like many of its predecessors, did not go well. The good news was DeMar DeRozan, in the course of the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss in Washington, became the first player in Raptors history to score 1,000 playoff points. The bad news was he appeared to be determined to score 1,000 more before the buzzer. DeRozan, in the course of the final seven minutes, launched eight shots, many of them ill-advised. By trying in … [Read more...] about It wiill take more than two Raptors to tangle with Wizards
By Dave Feschuk Sports Columnist Sat., April 21, 2018 WASHINGTON, D.C.—As flashbacks go, these were terrifying visions of long-lost playoff failures. Was that Raptors all-star DeMar DeRozan forcing those questionable shots at Capital One Arena on Friday night? Was that Kyle Lowry, Toronto’s other all-star, turning the ball over repeatedly under pressure? And could it even be possible that those non-all-stars wearing the black road jerseys were the much-talked-about new-look Raptors? Could the deepest, most balanced squad in franchise history actually be guilty of playing such brain-cramped, slow-to-adjust basketball? If you watched Toronto’s 122-103 Game 3 loss to the Wizards, you know the answers to all those questions was a shrug and a nod in the affirmative. You also might be of the belief that much of what happened could be cast aside as a one-off. Everything in this first-round playoff series had been going along swimmingly for the … [Read more...] about Will the new and improved Toronto Raptors please stand up?
It seems pretty clear this is where we’re headed — another springtime clash between the Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins.So consider Saturday night a preview.Sure, the Bruins might still catch the Tampa Bay Lightning for first place in the Atlantic Division. Mathematically, the Leafs could, as well. But the Bolts have been consistently very good all season and seem unlikely, at least at this point, to fall out of first. It’s more likely GM Steve Yzerman will make Tampa stronger at the trade deadline and take a hard run at the Stanley Cup.With teams such as Florida and Detroit far in the rearview mirror as the Atlantic reveals itself to be the NHL’s weakest division this season, nobody’s likely to catch the Leafs or Bruins. That means they are probably going to face off against each other in the first round when the Stanley Cup tournament begins in April for the first time since 2013.That — I’m guessing you remember — was either one of … [Read more...] about Improved Leafs and Bruins on collision course