In their annual player report cards, Maple Leafs reporter Justin Cuthbert and NHL Analyst Mike Stephens discuss how Mitch Marner fared this season and discuss how the young star seemed to struggle under the weight of expectations.
In their annual player report cards, Maple Leafs reporter Justin Cuthbert and NHL Analyst Mike Stephens discuss how Mitch Marner fared this season and discuss how the young star seemed to struggle under the weight of expectations.
The news comes after Nick Nurse, along with five other members of the Raptors coaching staff were placed in the NBA's health and safety protocols.
Tiger Woods was moved to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and underwent "follow-up procedures" on Friday morning.
"Something is changing in this generation of Asian Americans."
"There are certainly some moments that I know I could have done better really for our team and for Jared in particular.”
Renee Montgomery, a two-time WNBA champion, announced her retirement this month.
Women's hockey star Angela James, Oilers executive Kevin Lowe and former Hockey Canada president Bill Hay have been named to the Order of Hockey in Canada.
Investigators released photos of a suspect they believed was involved in the fire at Shaq's Atlanta Krispy Kreme store earlier this month.
Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster spoke to the media about Pascal Siakam and several Raptors coaches missing Friday's game vs. the Houston Rockets due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
The Canucks have been shut out both times they've run a jersey-giveaway promotion this season and are now 0-4 in their new threads.
Quebec City police say they have arrested a 54-year-old woman in connection with the case of fake Alexis Lafreniere hockey cards circulating online.
Tua breaks down his former backup QB, two of his former receivers and even touted the former Bama teammate he wouldn't mind teaming up with in the NFL.
MIAMI — Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat got their most significant win of the season and took down the team with the NBA’s best record in the process. Butler scored a season-high 33 points, reserve Goran Dragic tied his season-best with 26 and the Heat held on to beat Utah 124-116 on Friday night — handing the Jazz (26-7) just their third loss in their last 25 games. Bam Adebayo scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Miami, which has won a season-best five straight games. Duncan Robinson scored 15 and Kendrick Nunn added 12 for the Heat. Donovan Mitchell scored 30 for the Jazz, who got 17 from Bojan Bogdanovic and 15 from Rudy Gobert. Mike Conley scored 14 for Utah, which got 13 apiece from Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles. Miami outrebounded Utah 49-36 and held the Jazz to 15-for-46 shooting from 3-point range. The Heat had to dig deep time and again in the fourth to pull out the win. Dragic found Andre Iguodala for an open 3-pointer, then made another himself on the next Heat possession for a 114-107 lead. Bogdanovic’s 3-pointer with 3:39 left started the last Jazz flurry, Conley got a layup on the next Utah possession and Gobert made two free throws on the next. Just like that, the Jazz were within 116-115. But they got no closer, with Dragic taking a charge to erase what would have been a basket by Conley with 1:58 left. The Jazz wound up missing their last six shots. The Jazz are shooting 41.2% on 3-pointers in the first halves of games this season against everyone other than Miami, and only 22.2% in the opening half of their two games against the Heat. They were 7 for 24 before the break on Friday, part of the reason why Miami went into intermission up 57-53. There were six ties, six lead changes, and neither team led by more than six in that first half. And Miami held on for a 96-94 lead after three quarters — the prerequisite for beating the Jazz this season. Utah came into Friday 24-0 when leading after three quarters, 2-6 when trailing. They’re 2-7 now. TIP-INS Jazz: Derrick Favors played in his 607th career regular-season game with Utah, breaking a tie with Rickey Green for ninth on the team’s all-time list. Next up: Bryon Russell, 628. ... Gobert had a free throw 1:53 into the game for his 6,000th career point. Heat: Adebayo was listed as questionable coming into the game because of a knee issue. ... Tyler Herro (bruised hip) missed his third straight game with that injury and 11th missed game this season overall. ... It was the sixth game in Heat history in which both teams had at least 94 points through three quarters. Three of those have come since Feb. 26, 2020. FUNDAMENTALS The teams were a combined 14 for 14 from the foul line in the first half. It was the second time the Jazz had been part of a game in which both teams shot 100% from the line in the opening 24 minutes this season, and the first such game for the Heat since a “home” game in the bubble last season against Toronto. RAINING 3’S Utah has more 3-pointers through 33 games, 559, than any other NBA team has ever made through not just 33 games — but even 35 games. Houston had 554 3’s made through the first 35 games of the 2017-18 season. The previous 33-game mark was 522, by those 2017-18 Rockets. UP NEXT Jazz: Visit Orlando on Saturday. Heat: Host Atlanta on Sunday. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points, Lou Williams added 17 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 119-99 on Friday night to split a two-game series. Terance Mann, Nicolas Batum and Paul George each had 13 points for the Clippers, 122-94 losers on Thursday night. Jonas Valanciunas led Memphis with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Ja Morant scored 20 points before he was ejected, receiving a pair of technical for arguing a no-call with 2:18 remaining. De’Anthony Melton scored 16 points. It evident from the start that the Clippers were going to be much more aggressive on both ends of the floor than they were a night earlier. The Clippers concentrated defensively on guarding the paint better than the previous game when Memphis amassed 72 paint points. Los Angeles was willing to see if the Grizzlies could make enough outside shots. The active Los Angeles defence contributed to more contested shots and turnovers by Memphis. Eventually, the pressure paid off as the Clippers closed the half on a 13-1 run for 63-47 lead at the break. The shooting struggles for Leonard and George from the previous night weren’t evident as they combined to shoot 11 of 16 from the floor. The Grizzlies managed only 40% shooting in the half. The second half continued the theme as the Los Angeles defence continued to thwart Memphis shooters, who were stuck in the 40% range. The Clippers never lost their double-digit lead in the second half, extending it to 20 on several occasions. TIP-INS Clippers: Lou Williams passed Bob Kauffman for 17th on the franchise’s career points list. Kauffman had 4,850. … Leonard has 10 games of at least 30 points. … Are 23-3 when hold they 10-point lead this season. Grizzlies: Justise Winslow took off the second night of the back-to-back part of his recovery from a left hip injury. … Valanciunas, who took a knee to the left thigh in Thursday night’s win, was active after being listed as questionable pregame. UP NEXT Clippers: Continue their five-game trip Sunday at Milwaukee. Grizzlies: At Houston on Sunday night. More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Clay Bailey, The Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Atlanta Hawks 118-109 on Friday night after changing uniforms at halftime because a mix-up left the teams wearing similar colours at the start. The Thunder began the game wearing their sunset orange uniforms while the Hawks wore red, making it difficult to distinguish between the teams. Oklahoma City said in a statement that the Hawks wore the incorrect uniform colour. The team said the league should have caught the error, but because the Hawks only brought red uniforms on their trip, the Thunder changed to white for the second half. Lu Dort scored 19 points and Darius Bazley added 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder. John Collins scored 25 points and Clint Capela had 17 points and 21 rebounds for the Hawks. Trae Young, who played at the University of Oklahoma, finished with 17 points on 7-for-21 shooting. The Thunder were fine before the uniform switch — they shot 60% in the first half to lead 63-55 at the break. Oklahoma City got off to a strong start in white and led 96-80 after three quarters. The Hawks cut the deficit to six in the fourth quarter, but the Thunder regained control. Bazley drove to the hoop, rose, clutched to his left and threw down a monster two-handed jam that put Oklahoma City up 116-105. TIP-INS Hawks: Forward Danilo Gallinari helped the Thunder make the playoffs last season. He finished with eight points in 25 minutes. ... Collins had 12 points and five rebounds in the first quarter. Thunder: Center Al Horford rested on the front end of Oklahoma City’s back-to-back. ... Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo sat out with right groin soreness. ... Guard Ty Jerome scored for the first time as a member of the Thunder. He was called up from Oklahoma City's G League team and finished with nine points, seven assists and five rebounds in 22 minutes. UP NEXT The Hawks visit the Miami Heat on Sunday. The Thunder host the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. ___ Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CliffBruntAP ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Cliff Brunt, The Associated Press
BOSTON — Kemba Walker made two late free throws and scored a season-high 32 points to help the Boston Celtics snap a three-game losing streak with a 118-112 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night. Daniel Theis added 17 points and Jaylen Brown finished with 15. Indiana led by as many as 14 points in the first half, but never led in the final 24 minutes in losing for the third time in four games. Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 24 points and nine assists. Justin Holiday added 19 points and five rebounds. A 12-4 run by the Celtics, capped by a driving layup by Walker, gave Boston a 110-101 cushion in the fourth quarter. Indiana pulled within 112-109 on a layup by Sabonis with 1:23 to play. A turnover by Jaylen Brown then gave the ball back to Indiana. Holiday missed a 3-pointer from the corner and Theis hit one on the other end. But on Indiana’s next possession Sabonis got a friendly bounce off the top of the backboard on a deep 3 that trimmed Boston’s lead to 115-112. The Celtics nearly got an 8-second violation, but Walker hustled the ball up the court and was fouled, and connected on his two ensuing free throws with 11.6 seconds remaining to help seal it. One of the things Celtics coach Brad Stevens believes has hampered his team at times this season is doing too much ball watching when primary scorers Jayson Tatum, Brown and Walker have the ball in their hands. There was a lot more movement from their teammates, who pressed the action in the half court, aggressively attacking the interior of Indiana’s defence. The Pacers started fast, scoring the game’s first 12 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers and a three-point play by Myles Turner. Indiana’s lead grew as high as 18-4, but Boston responded by closing the quarter on a 28-13 run to take a 32-31 lead. Tatum and Brown combined to shoot just 2 for 8 from the field for seven points in the opening period. Most of the heavy lifting for the Celtics’ comeback came from another source. Their bench stepped up, contributing 27 points in the first half to help Boston take a 61-60 lead into the break. TIP-INS Pacers: Were outscored 48-32 in the paint. … JaKarr Sampson was added to the health and safety protocol Friday. Celtics: Held a 39-34 edge in bench scoring. … Led by as many as 10. …. Marcus Smart missed his 15th straight game with a left calf tear. UP NEXT Pacers: At Knicks on Saturday. Celtics: Host Wizards on Sunday. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Kyle Hightower, The Associated Press
CHICAGO — Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton each scored 22 points and the Phoenix Suns rallied to beat the Chicago Bulls 106-97, on Friday night. Chris Paul, who’ll join Booker at the All-Star Game, added 14 points, 15 assists and six rebounds to help the Suns win for the 10th time in 12 games. Zach LaVine scored 24 points for Chicago. The Bulls had won three in a row. Phoenix wiped out an 87-80 deficit with a 9-0 run early in the fourth quarter, then took the lead for good with five minutes to play on Paul's short jumper. That started a 10-0 spurt that included 3s from Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson. The Suns were 6 of 22 from 3-point range after averaging 19 3-pointers in their last four games. Their streak of 120-point games ended at five. Frank Kaminsky had 15 points, and Bridges added 14. Chicago made one basket scored six points in the final five minutes. Coby White added 19 points for the Bulls, and Thaddeus Young had 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Suns scored 10 points off Chicago''s 10 fourth-quarter turnovers. The Bulls finished the second quarter hot, making nine of their last 11 shots to take a 58-46 lead. LaVine had eight points during the 19-4 run that ended the half. TIP-INS Suns: Paul was assessed a technical foul late in the first half after appearing to complain about the lack of a call against a defender. … F Dario Saric did not play after spraining his right ankle late Wednesday night in a home loss to Charlotte. Bulls: Coach Billy Donovan drew a technical foul during a third-quarter timeout after some apparently sharp criticism of the officiating. ... F Lauri Markkanen missed his 11th straight game because of a right shoulder sprain, two days after Donovan said it was unlikely he’d return to action before the All-Star break. UP NEXT Suns: At Minnesota on Sunday night. Bulls: Vs. Toronto in Tampa, Florida, on Sunday night. The Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. — After three decades of coaching that includes a pair of Olympic medals and a World Cup gold with Spain, Sergio Scariolo has his first NBA victory. It likely didn't happen how he'd envisioned it. With Nick Nurse, five members of his coaching staff, and star forward Pascal Siakam sidelined on Friday due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, the 59-year-old Scariolo stepped in to guide the Toronto Raptors to a 122-111 victory over struggling Rockets. Norman Powell poured in 30 points, while Kyle Lowry had a triple double -- 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists -- for the Raptors (17-17). Fred VanVleet added 25 points, while DeAndre Bembry had 13 and OG Anunoby finished with 11. Lowry grabbed the game ball and presented it to Scariolo following the win. Victor Oladipo had 27 points to top the slumping Rockets (11-20), who've lost 10 in a row for the first time since November-December, 2011. The Raptors announced that Nurse and most of his staff were out a few hours before tipoff, whlie Siakam was listed on the league's injury report shortly before tipoff. Toronto GM Bobby Webster said it wasn't clear at this stage if Siakam's situation was linked to the coaches. "The NBA is being extremely careful here," GM Bobby Webster said. "It’s early in what’s going on here, so I think we’re all being conscientious and not taking any risks. ... We’ll see what tomorrow brings us.” The fact the Raptors could go to the legendary Scariolo speaks to the depth of Toronto's staff. He guided Spain to gold at the 2019 World Cup, plus Olympic medals in 2012 and '16. He'd just come out of required isolation himself after coaching Spain in FIBA games in Europe. “I don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of games he’s been a head coach,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster said about Scariolo. “But it’s unique, and he acknowledged that much, especially under the circumstances.” Coming off back-to-back losses to Philadelphia and Miami that snapped a four-game win streak, the Raptors started to pull away from the Rockets in the second quarter and, by the time Powell knocked down a three-pointer midway through the third, Toronto was up by 23. The Raptors led 95-80 to start the fourth. Houston pulled to within nine points with a 13-0 run that straddled the third and fourth quarter, and then sliced the difference to just six on a three-pointer by Eric Gordon with 4:28 to play. That was as close as Houston would come. VanVleet's three-pointer put Toronto back up by nine with 2:27 to play and the Rockets wouldn't threaten again. The Rockets haven't won since Feb. 4 at Memphis. In a season rocked by COVID-19, the NBA has had to postpone 29 games so far for virus-related issues, but the Raptors had been lucky to have avoided any trouble until now. They're one of just four teams in the league that haven't had a game postponed. It's unknown how long the coaches will be sidelined but, on the plus side, the Raptors only have three more games before the all-star break. Assistant coach Jim Sann was on the Toronto bench Friday along with Mark Tyndale, assistant video coordinator/player development, and Jamaal Magloire, basketball development consultant. Webster said contact between Nurse and the bench during the game was not allowed under NBA rules. The Toronto coaching staff was already shorthanded given Chris Finch left the team earlier this week to become head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Adrian Griffin, Jama Mahlalela and Jon Goodwillie make up the remainder of Nurse's coaching staff. The Rockets jumped out to an eight-point lead on 52.9 per cent shooting in the first, but Toronto had closed the by the end of the quarter and trailed 31-30 to start the second. Lowry was a perfect 3-for-3 from long distance in a 10-point performance in the second quarter. Powell's driving layup capped a 20-10 run that had the Raptors up by 11. They stretched their lead to 15 before heading into halftime with a 67-59 advantage. The Raptors are back in action Sunday against visiting Chicago. Toronto then hosts Detroit on Tuesday before wrapping up their first-half schedule Thursday in Boston. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021 The Canadian Press
The Toronto Maple Leafs can see the Edmonton Oilers in their rearview mirror. And that object is just as close as it appears. Toronto continues to lead the North Division standings, but hard-charging Edmonton is now just four points back on the all-Canadian circuit heading into a three-game series between the teams in Alberta's capital beginning Saturday. "That's the nature of the season," Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe said of the NHL's pandemic-condensed 56-game schedule. "Edmonton has played as good or better than anybody in the league the last while. They've been picking up a lot of points. "We feel like we've been going pretty well as a team here, and it's still real close." The Oilers sputtered to a 3-6-0 mark in kicking off the truncated campaign before going an NHL-best 11-2-0 since — a red-hot stretch sparked by a 4-3 overtime victory against Toronto at Rogers Place on Jan. 30. As a result, Edmonton (14-8-0) has clawed to within shouting distance of Toronto (15-4-2) and could overtake the Leafs with three consecutive regulation victories. "Everyone's buying in and starting to really believe," said Oilers captain Connor McDavid, whose 40 points leads the NHL. "When everyone believes in what we're doing, that's when it gets real dangerous." Edmonton centre Leon Draisaitl sits second in the league with 34 points, while Toronto counterpart Auston Matthews tops the goal race with 18. Matthews is also tied with Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane for third in scoring with 31 points, while Leafs linemate Mitch Marner one back in fifth. Matthews didn't take part in Friday's practice because of a wrist injury he's been dealing with most of 2021 before Toronto flew west to begin a five-game, eight-day road trip that concludes with two contests against the Vancouver Canucks, but Keefe indicated his best player hasn't been ruled out for Saturday. "He's day-to-day," said the coach. "We're just going to have to see how he continues to progress." Keefe said the fact Matthews picked up a pair of assists in Wednesday's 2-1 overtime victory against the Calgary Flames, despite not being able to take faceoffs for the second half of the game after aggravating the injury, speaks to how dialled in he is this season. "He's remained resilient and hasn't allowed little things like that to disrupt him," Keefe said. "While he had to adapt his game and I had to adapt how we used him a little bit, he still competed his ass right to the very end." Leafs backup goalie Jack Campbell hasn't played since Jan. 24 because of a leg injury, but declared himself ready to go after third-stringer Michael Hutchinson started three of the last four. No. 1 netminder Frederik Andersen (lower body, day-to-day) had an on-ice session before practice and travelled with the team. Meanwhile, Toronto defencemen Jake Muzzin (facial fracture) and Joe Thornton (lower body) were both full participants Friday and, like Campbell, appear on course to return after missing two games this week. "We're going to be have to be ready," Muzzin, who will be sporting a full cage, said of facing the Oilers. "They're a team that's firing right now. They've got good goaltending, their defence is doing well, and the stars are playing hard. "It's going to be a challenge." Despite the elite talent at the top of both rosters — Edmonton leads the NHL with 79 goals, while Toronto is next with 74 — the four previous meetings between the clubs this season haven't really lived up to the hype, save for McDavid's end-to-end, highlight-reel goal Jan. 30. "People expect these big offensive nights," said McDavid, who's four back of Matthews in the goal race. "Both teams have respect for each other where neither really wants to open it up and let the other offensive guys get going. "You can expect a tight-checking little series." Keefe has preached structure and strong play away from the puck as a key to Toronto's long-term success, and he's noticed Edmonton getting a similar buy-in the last month. "They're playing a real sound team game," he said. "I see a lot of similarities to how we've found consistency." Oilers goalie Mike Smith is 6-0-0 since returning from injury after Mikko Koskinen held the fort early. The 38-year-old has a .944 save percentage for a club that has allowed two goals or fewer in seven of its last nine contests. "I just really want to play well for this group," Smith said. "We've done a lot of good things this year to put us in a good spot. I don't want that to slide away because of goaltending. "It's a mission I'm on." Edmonton defenceman Darnell Nurse said he's seen a growth in the group since its shaky opening. "As you start to put games together and win different ways, the way that we have over the course of this stretch, it creates confidence," he said. "When you find ways to win games when you're down by a few, and find ways to hold on to them when up, win those tight games, it brings confidence in all different types of situations." The Leafs have two regulation victories over the Oilers this season, while Edmonton has one in normal time to go along with that OT triumph. The teams play twice more after this three-game set — March 27 and 29 in Toronto. The Oilers and Leafs both had disappointing qualifying round exits from the NHL's summer bubble. Toronto came out firing with a renewed commitment to playing a 200-foot game that complements its explosive offence. It took some time, but Edmonton appears to have followed suit. "The one thing is just how motivated everyone is," McDavid said. "Everyone came back with that chip on their shoulder and that bitter taste in their mouth, and want to do something special here. "Our start didn't show that, but over the last month we've been playing real well." The Leafs will get to see that up close for three straight starting Saturday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2021. ___ Follow @JClipperton_CP on Twitter Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Ryan Strome had a goal and two assists and Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist in New York's three-goal second period, leading the Rangers to a 6-2 win over the Boston Bruins on Friday night. Julian Gauthier, Colin Blackwell, Pavel Buchnevich and Jonny Brodzinski also scored to help the Rangers get their third win in four games. Adam Fox and Ryan Lindgren each had two assists, and Alexandar Georgiev stopped 31 shots to improve to 2-0-2 in his last four starts. With fans back at Madison Square Garden for the first time this season, the Rangers beat Bruins for the first time in three meetings. Boston was 5-0-1 in the previous six games with the Rangers. After the game, the Rangers gathered at centre-ice to salute the 1,800 fans in attendance before skating off. Several players gave their sticks to some of the fans. Brad Marchand had a goal and an assist, Patrice Bergeron also scored and David Pastrnak had two assists for Boston. Tuukka Rask finished with 28 saves in the Bruins' fourth loss in five games. The Bruins, who lost 7-2 at the New York Islanders on Thursday night, had not given up more than four goals in their first 16 games. With Boston trailing 1-0, Jack Studnicka nearly tied the score early in the second period with a shot that hit off the crossbar. The Rangers doubled the lead shortly after that. On a rush, Alexis Lafreniere sent a cross-ice pass to Strome, who tapped it in past Rask from the right side for his sixth at 2:32. Lafreniere, the top overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft, got his first career assist. Bergeron pulled the Bruins to 2-1 just 90 seconds later, scoring from the right doorstep off Pastrnak's pass from the left circle. Charlie Coyle hit a goal post on a Bruins power play with about 6:50 left. Blackwell tipped Adam Fox's one-timer from the point on a power play to push the lead to 3-1 with 1:08 remaining in the second. It was Blackwell's third goal in five games. Kreider gave the Rangers a three-goal lead just 12 seconds later as his shot from a sharp angle deflected off Coyle's left skate and past Rask for his ninth. Kreider, who had his third career hat trick against Philadelphia on Tuesday night, scored for the third straight game. Buchnevich made it 5-1 on a tip-in 1:45 into the third, and Brodzinski got his first with the Rangers as he scored on a diving tip of a pass from Kevin Rooney at 3:43. Marchand got the Bruins within four as he swooped in and knocked in the rebound of Pastrnak's shot at 7:51 for his 10th. It was Marchand's 300th career goal. Gauthier got the Rangers on the scoreboard with 6:44 left in the first, firing a shot from the left circle between a screened Rask and the left post for his second career goal. STREAKS Kreider, who had his third career hat trick against Philadelphia on Tuesday night, scored for the third straight game. He has five goals and an assist in that stretch. ... Strome extended his point streak to four games. POWER PLAYS The Bruins are 3 for 21 on the power play over their last eight games after going 12 for 34 over the first 10. The Rangers scored a power-play goal for the fourth straight game, going 5 for 19 over that stretch. They were 2 for 31 over their previous 10 games. MOVING UP Bergeron's goal gave him 889 career points, breaking a tie with Bobby Orr to take over sole possession of fifth place on the Bruins' franchise list. UP NEXT Bruins: At New York Rangers on Sunday to open a two-game series. Rangers: Host Boston on Sunday to wrap up a two-game series. ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press