Connect with us

General news

Raptors take second crack at title in Warriors’ Oakland farewell



 The Toronto Raptors hope to celebrate the closing of Oracle Arena with a party of international magnitude, when they take a second shot at the championship Thursday night in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.


The Raptors were two minutes away from securing Canada’s first-ever NBA title Monday in Game 5, before falling victim to a barrage of 3-pointers from Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry in a 9-2 finish that was historic on at least two levels.

The 106-105 final not only produced the first one-point Finals margin since 2007, but it also made the Warriors just the sixth team in NBA history to win a potential elimination game on the road.

History remains on the Raptors’ side entering Game 6, even though the scene has shifted back to Oakland.

Of the 34 teams that have led a Finals 3-1, 33 have gone on to win the championship. The only exception was the Warriors in 2016, when the Cleveland Cavaliers rallied to win in seven games.

“We understand that the moment is the moment, but we still are staying in it,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said Wednesday. “We’re not too up, we’re not too down. We’re just one game, hey, we lost it, now we got to move on to the next one.”

The Warriors move on without Kevin Durant, who returned from a calf injury to score 11 points in 12 minutes in Game 5, only to sustain a ruptured Achilles in the same leg.

The Warriors led 39-34 at the time of the season-ending injury.

Durant confirmed Wednesday from New York that he had undergone surgery to repair the rupture.

“I expect our fans to be the loudest they have ever been, especially in the name of Kevin and bringing his type of spirit he would bring to the fight and the competitiveness,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson said Wednesday.

“I know our fans will do that because we deserve it, but more importantly, Kevin does for what he gave this team, this organisation. There wouldn’t be banners if it wasn’t for his presence.”

The game will be the Warriors’ last at Oracle Arena, which opened as the Oakland Coliseum Arena 47 years ago. Golden State will move to the Chase Centre in San Francisco next season.

“This has been just an incredible environment in which to coach and play back in the day,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday.

“Even when the Warriors weren’t any good, to come in here as a visitor and feel the energy in this building, you could tell that the fans loved the game.

“This was a basketball hotbed.

“And just the atmosphere out there, the energy, the noise, over the last five years with our team’s rise, combined with that organic energy that this place has always had, it’s just been an incredible experience to coach here.”

That energy wasn’t enough to prevent Raptors wins in Games 3 and 4 after the Warriors earned a split in the two series-opening games in Toronto.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Wednesday he’s not surprised the road-team has won four of the first five games in the best-of-seven.

“Both teams are really good road-teams and have been all season,” he said. “Two really tough-minded teams playing and you got to be a little more tough-minded on the road. And I think a lot of those games probably could have gone either way.”

The team that had the upper hand in 3-point shooting has prevailed in the first five games of the series.


NBA roundup: Anthony, Blazers rally past Raptors



; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) scores the winning basket during the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard, who tied the game for Portland on a 3-pointer with 38.5 seconds to play, had 20 points — 18 in the second half — and nine assists. Anthony finished with a game-high 28 points.

After the Raptors failed to score, the Trail Blazers took possession with 13.6 seconds to play and set up Anthony’s shot from the top of the key. Kyle Lowry, who missed the final shot of the game, had 24 points and 10 assists for Toronto.

The Raptors were without Fred VanVleet (hamstring), who joined Pascal Siakam (groin), Marc Gasol (hamstring) and Norman Powell (shoulder) on the sidelines. Toronto, which led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, took a nine-point lead into the fourth.

LeBron James scored 31 points as host Los Angeles, which lost Anthony Davis to a back injury, crushed New York.

Davis left the game with 2:45 remaining in the third quarter when he landed hard on the floor after losing his balance in a collision with the Knicks’ Julius Randle under the basket.

X-rays on Davis’ lower back were negative, but he was to undergo more testing.

Rookie guard RJ Barrett scored 19 points to top the Knicks, who were without leading scorer Marcus Morris Sr. with a sore neck. Randle, a former Laker, had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Elfrid Payton contributed 12 points.

Final scores Los Angeles Lakers 117 — New York Knicks 87.

Derrick Rose capped a 24-point performance by making the go-ahead shot with 26 seconds remaining as Detroit topped host Cleveland for just its third win in 12 games.

Detroit’s Andre Drummond recorded 23 points and 20 rebounds, including 11 and 10, respectively, in the first quarter.

Tony Snell made four 3-pointers to highlight his 18-point performance for the Pistons. The Pistons announced earlier Tuesday that forward Blake Griffin was out indefinitely after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

Cleveland’s Kevin Love collected 30 points and nine rebounds, hours after calling his recent behavior “childish” in referring to recent outbursts in showing up his teammates and coaches.

Collin Sexton had 20 points, and Cedi Osman scored 17 points for the Cavaliers, who have dropped five in a row.

Final scores Detroit Pistons 115 — Cleveland Cavaliers 113.

Chris Paul scored 28 points and hit two clutch shots in overtime as surging Oklahoma City outlasted slumping host Brooklyn in the second night of a back-to-back for both teams.

The Thunder won for the 10th time in their last 12 games. Paul came within two of his season-high for points and shot 9 of 15 from the floor, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 22 points and hit four free throws in the final minute to ice Oklahoma City’s win and send Brooklyn to its seventh consecutive loss. Taurean Prince scored 21 points to lead the Nets.

Final scores Oklahoma City Thunder 111 — Brooklyn Nets 103 (OT).

Dillon Brooks scored 28 points to help host Memphis sweep the three-game season series over Minnesota.

Ja Morant added 25 points and seven assists as the Grizzlies matched a season best with their third consecutive win.

Jaren Jackson Jr. had 21 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots, and Jae Crowder recorded 14 points, eight rebounds and matched his career high of five steals for Memphis.

Rookie Jarrett Culver scored a season-high 24 points and Jeff Teague added 18 off the bench for Minnesota.

Robert Covington tallied 17 points, Andrew Wiggins scored 15, Gorgui Dieng added 11 and reserve Naz Reid scored 10 for the Timberwolves. Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns (knee) missed his 11th straight contest.

Final scores Sacramento Kings 114 — Phoenix Suns 103.

Nemanja Bjelica gave visiting Sacramento the lead for good with a 3-pointer with 7:31 remaining in the game, and De’Aaron Fox saved nine of his team-high 27 points for the final 7:02 in rallying from a 21-point deficit to stun Phoenix.

Devin Booker shot 12-for-21 in extending his franchise record of consecutive 30-point games to seven with a game-high 34-point effort, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Suns from sustaining a second consecutive home loss.

Bjelica finished with 19 points, and Buddy Hield had 16 for Sacramento. Deandre Ayton had 21 points to go with a team-high nine rebounds, Oubre 17 points and Ricky Rubio a game-high nine assists to complement eight points for Phoenix, which had won two of the first three games in the now-complete season series.

Final scores Memphis Grizzlies 119 — Minnesota Timberwolves 112.

(Edited by: Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor)

Continue Reading

General news

NBBF President’s Cup: Lagos Islanders get second win as Raptors stop Warriors



Lagos Islanders secured their second win at the ongoing Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) President’s Cup in Ilorin after a 69-56 win against Nigerian Army.

Lagos Islanders who beat Police Baton on Day One won three of the four quarters (25-15 9-14 22-19 13-8) against the Nigerian Army.

Bolaji Emilagba continued in his good form with 14 points, while the duo of Hilary Aigbokhaode and Jude Ogunsemore contributed 12 points each.

Kayinsola Odufunwa also added 10 points.

But Musa Mohammed’s game high of 18 points and 4 rebounds for Nigerian Army were not enough to stop his side from picking up their second win.

In the day’s second game, Offia Abel notched a game high 32 points and 4 rebounds to help Raptors put down Lagos Warriors 70-56.

Abiola Familusi contributed 12 points and 7 rebounds in the process for Raptors, while the duo of Adeyemi Adams and Samson Julius had 11 points each for the Lagos Warriors.


(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

Continue Reading

General news

Toronto Raptors President visits ABU, promises to improve basketball facility




By Stella kabruk

Kaduna, Aug.9,2019 Toronto Raptors President, Masai Ujiri has pledged to improve basketball facilities at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.

Ujiri made the pledge when he visited the University facility after over 20 years in the United States of America, where he rose to the enviable position at NBA’s top team, Toronto Raptors.

Speaking after the visit, Ujiri said that it was good to be back home.

“I came back home to see home, this is where I grew up and where I love the most with my coach, everything we do in the US comes back here,” he said.

He said though a lot had changed since he left, but more needed to be done to improve the standard of the game in the country.

“It is good to see progress here, we have talked to coach OBJ to see what we can do.

” For the young ones, dream big, like I dreamt, like Coach OBJ, like Dennis, you can achieve. So keep dreaming,” he said.

Also speaking, Dennis Ogbe, a United States paralympian said that he accompanied Ujiri to pay homage to where they grew up.

In his remarks, Coach Oliver Johnson popularly known as ‘Coach OBJ’ said that Ujiri had contributed a lot to the development of the game not only in Nigeria, but the over the world.

He, therefore, called on others to emulate him and give back to the society that impacted on them and contributed to their success.


Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede

Continue Reading

General news

Toronto Raptors: Basketball fans extol Ujiri’s leadership



Some basketball enthusiasts on Tuesday extolled the leadership qualities of Nigeria’s ex-international Masai Ujiri, the President, Toronto Raptors basketball team of Canada which recently won the USA NBA championship league.

Ujiri’s-led Toronto Raptors made history as they defeated star-studded Golden State Warriors 114-110 (4-2) in game six, to clinch the NBA finals for the first time in history.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria , they hailed Ujiri as doing well for himself and putting Nigeria in good light in the basketball world.

Olumide Oyedeji, former D’Tigers captain, said that he was proud of the achievements while extending a congratulatory message.

“He took some hard decisions in selling some players and got a lot of condemnation for doing that, but he stuck with what he though was best for the club and they achieved at the end.

“It is a great win for Nigeria as well because he has proved to the world of basketball what we are capable of doing, especially when you look back at his humble beginning as an unpaid scout for Orlando Magic.

“We are proud of him for doing a great job and for doing it well; indeed he is an inspiration to many of us back at home.

“What we want is for him to also help to transfer that quality into the organisation of basketball in Nigeria, where players and coaches, administrators can benefit immensely,’’ Oyedeji said.

Sports writer Pius Ayinor described Ujiri as a man of steel who over the years had been involved in developing players.

He said that he got to know him in 2003 , while he was a support coach of the junior national team where he worked tirelessly to bring the best out of players.

Ayinor said that he was not surprised about the Toronto Raptors victory, adding that it was an achievement that followed hard work and tough decisions.

“It was not something that worked in one year or in two years, it has been there all along; he has always been a goal-setter that takes his time to do his job well.

“He knows how to push players the right ways to get the best results from them.  He is a man that knows what he is  doing.

“He has achieved so much in basketball, especially when he was at Denver Nuggets where he rose from a scout to become the General Manger.

“His Top Fifty Giant of Africa Foundation has also continued to discover players and given the younger generations the right to believe in themselves,’’ Ayinor said.

Similarly, Coach Chris Okoh described the victory as a good one for Toronto Raptors and for Nigeria.

He said that what he did was unbelievable with the changes of coaches and players he made that were not welcome by majority of the Toronto Raptors fans.

“Nobody rated Raptors to win, especially against a star-studded opposition in Golden State Warriors; they proved all their doubters wrong.

“He can continue to build on his success story because now his team is no more an underdog and his style of leadership has now become known to the world of basketball.

“We hope he can contribute these unique qualities to the development of Nigeria’s basketball that is currently faced with a lot of challenges.

“What Ujiri has also proved is that in where there are no infighting or rivalries, great things can be achieved,’’ Okoh said.

Biola Shomala also said that Ujiri had made the entire basketball family in Nigeria and abroad very proud, and that he had succeeded in making Toronto Raptors the team to beat in the coming season.

“His philosophy and ways of doing things is remarkable; indeed his track records over the years prove that he was a man with a vision.

“He has drawn the right attention for himself as he is now a hot cake in the U.S. where many other clubs desire his leadership and can pay huge sums of money to hire him.

“Indeed, I hope the stakeholders in Nigeria’s basketball can learn from this and learn from this outstanding personality.

“Because what we have presently is just unacceptable and it is not helping our basketball to grow, people should come together and let peace reign for the sake of the game,’’ Shomala said.

Continue Reading

General news

Raptors breakthrough as NBA champions represents shift in Canada’s identity



The Toronto Raptors completed a remarkable evolution from a laughingstock to NBA champions on Thursday, with a victory that could well shift the identity of a country long associated with ice hockey.

When they broke into the league in 1995, the Raptors were known more for the gimmicky basketball-playing cartoon dinosaur on their jerseys than for anything they did on the court, which in the early years was plenty of losing.

The team had only made the playoffs five times in their first 18 years before going on a six-season run of contention that culminated in a 4-2 NBA Finals victory over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

“And that’s how we do it in the North,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted after the Raptors’ triumph.

Ice hockey has long been seen by people from both inside and outside Canada as the sport that most defines the country, and when the national team competes in their red and white jerseys the nation comes to a near standstill.

But given the changing demographics of a population that grows more diverse with each day, many are seeking a national identity through basketball, which is more of a global game than hockey, and therefore more familiar to many new Canadians.

Even the Raptors’ fan base in Toronto, which is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, reflects Canada’s multi-cultural spirit greater than any other professional team in the country.

“We’ve been growing and trying to prove to the world that there is a meaning to having an NBA team, one NBA team, outside the U.S.,” said Raptors President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri.

“All of these guys, these players have been unbelievable. To our coaches, to our ownership and much respect to the Golden State Warriors… we love you as NBA players, but we wanted to win in Toronto and we have won in Toronto. Yeah!”

What put Toronto over the top this season was the arrival of Kawhi Leonard last July in a trade that split the fan base, given the team parted ways with a fan favourite for a player who was limited to nine games the previous season due to injury.

But Leonard, who was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player for the second time in his career, put the team on his back and carried them to heights few thought possible given the talent-laden team that awaited them in the Finals.

And while Leonard will become a free agent in a couple weeks and can sign elsewhere, the impact he has had on the sport of basketball in Canada over the course of one NBA season will surely be felt for years to come.

“Basketball fans across the world know now what ‘We The North’ really means as out Canadian team finally raises the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy!” Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement.


Continue Reading

General news

Siakam answers Canadian prayers as Raptors down Warriors





The turbo-charged Cameroonian had a near perfect night from the field, hitting on 14-of-17 shots for 32 points, while pulling down eight rebounds and dishing out five assists to help Toronto stake a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The Raptors had a country on the edge of their seat as they took on a Golden State juggernaut playing in their fifth consecutive Finals and chasing a third straight title.

If Canada had a case of the jitters with their only NBA team making their first Finals appearance, Siakam had none, particularly in the third quarter when he was perfect hitting on all six of his shots.

“It’s amazing and it just proves that if you put the work in, man, and it’s something that it’s so cliche, but that’s the story of my life,” said Siakam, nicknamed Spicy P.

“Just going out there every single night, working hard to get to this level, and knowing that I have so much to learn and I have so much room to improve and grow.

“I think that’s what make its fun. And for me just kind of falling in love with the game and wanting to get better and wanting to learn.”

Siakam was a skinny kid from a Cameroon Seminary studying to become Catholic priest when he caught the eye of former NBA player Luc Mbah a Moute and was chosen to attend a Basketball Without Borders camp.

The improbable journey continued with a basketball scholarship to New Mexico State University and then selection by the Raptors in the first round of the 2016 draft with the 27th pick.

Ask coaches or team mates about Siakam and the first thing they mention is his drive to become a better player, which is reflected in his, being a finalist for this season’s Most Improved Player award.

Continue Reading

General news

Embiid lifts Sixers to 2-1 edge on Raptors



Embiid lifts Sixers to 2-1 edge on Raptors


May 2, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) drives for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers guard Jimmy Butler (23) during the first quarter in game three of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It was Embiid’s 12th double-double in 15 career playoff games.

Jimmy Butler added 22 points, nine assists and nine rebounds while JJ Redick contributed 15 points for the third-seeded Sixers. Game 4 will be played in Philadelphia on Sunday.

Kawhi Leonard paced the second-seeded Raptors with 33 points, while Pascal Siakam added 20.

Leonard has scored at least 30 points in five of Toronto’s eight playoff games this season, including all three games against Philadelphia.

An early 8-0 run in the second quarter pushed the Sixers to a 40-29 lead.

Leonard made a difficult jumper from the wing and Kyle Lowry followed with a layup to close Toronto within 52-46 with 3:22 remaining in the second.

Thanks in large part to Embiid’s 18 points and the team shooting 8 of 14 from beyond the 3-point arc, the Sixers held a 64-53 lead at halftime.

Leonard paced Toronto with 17 points in the first half.

Butler drove into the lane and dropped in a floater for a 75-57 Sixers advantage with 8:14 left in the third.

The Raptors stayed close because Leonard scored 14 points in the third, and they trailed 89-81 at the end of the quarter. Siakam had a wide open look on a 3-pointer but hit the front rim as time expired.

Embiid knocked down his third 3-pointer and the Sixers bolted to a 94-82 lead early in the fourth.

On Toronto’s next possession, Siakam had his shot blocked by Embiid. Siakam then appeared to trip Embiid and he sprawled to the floor.

Siakam was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul, and Embiid made both free throws for a 96-82 advantage.

Consecutive baskets from Butler gave the Sixers a 100-82 edge with 9:01 remaining.

Butler later threw down a dunk, got fouled and put the Sixers ahead 108-84 with 5:51 left.


Continue Reading

General news

NBA roundup: Nuggets, Raptors even series





Nikola Jokic had 21 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists, Gary Harris scored 23 points, and Paul Millsap had 20 points for Denver.

The Nuggets tied the series 1-1 and ended San Antonio’s seven-game playoff winning streak in Denver.

DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points and LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points for the Spurs.

Murray, who missed his first eight shots, hit five consecutive shots in the fourth quarter, including two straight and a pair of free throws that gave Denver a 99-97 lead, its first advantage since 17-16.

The Nuggets were ahead by three before Murray drained two 3-pointers to make it 110-101.

Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points on 15-for-22 shooting from the field, and Toronto defeated visiting Orlando to even its first-round Eastern Conference playoff series at one game apiece.

Pascal Siakam added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who never trailed. Kyle Lowry contributed 22 points and seven assists for Toronto while Serge Ibaka chipped in with 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench.

Aaron Gordon scored 20 points for the Magic, who split the regular-season series 2-2 with the Raptors. Terrence Ross added 15 points for Orlando while Evan Fournier scored 10 points.

Final scores Raptors 111, Magic 82.

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard combined for 62 points as Portland swept to a victory over visiting Oklahoma City.

McCollum scored 33 points and Lillard added 29 as the Trail Blazers seized a 2-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

Maurice Harkless chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds for Portland, which led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter.

Paul George tallied 27 points with eight rebounds for the Thunder, who led by as many as 10 points in the first half.

Russell Westbrook collected 14 points, 11 assists and nine boards for Oklahoma City but shot only 5 of 20 from the field.

Continue Reading


Report: NBA gaining ‘momentum’ toward return



Following a Board of Governors call with commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday, the NBA is “increasingly positive about the league’s momentum” toward resuming the 2019-20 season, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver-300×225.jpg 300w,×577.jpg 768w, 800w” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px” data-lazy-src=”×225.jpg”>NBA-Commissioner-Adam-Silver-300×225.jpg” alt=”” width=”300″ height=”225″ srcset=”×225.jpg 300w,×577.jpg 768w, 800w” sizes=”(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px”>
FILE PHOTO: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks during a news conference before the NBA preseason basketball game between Houston Rockets and Toronto Raptors at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan October 8, 2019, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

Per the report, owners and executives were encouraged about the league’s steps toward returning safely amid the coronavirus pandemic and about positive conversations with the National Basketball Players Association.

The report added that Silver emphasised that in order for a return to occur, all parties would need to accept that a single positive test for COVID-19 would not derail the season.

If a positive test would “shut us down, we probably shouldn’t go down this path,” Silver said, per Wojnarowski.

The report added that it remains unclear at what point numerous positive tests would impact the schedule.

Wojnarowski also reported that the format for the return play remains unknown, in terms of regular-season or playoff structure.

The NBA also reportedly continues to vet the possibility of holding all games in neutral sites, with Orlando and Las Vegas the leading candidates, in what Silver referred to as a “campus environment.”

Both Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the NBA aims to decide within two to four weeks whether to restart the season.

A potential roadblock to the proposed resumption is that the league doesn’t believe “rapid response testing” will be readily available inside of a month.

Earlier Tuesday, the NBPA informally polled players to gauge where they stand on restarting the season, Wojnarowski reported.

NBPA regional representatives began asking players to respond to a “yes or no” question about their desire to return to the court during the coronavirus pandemic, sources told Wojnarowski.

Some teams were asked the question in group texts, per the report, and names of the players and their individual responses will be kept confidential.

However, in a statement to The Athletic, the NBPA said it “is not engaging in and has not authorized any formal poll of its players.”

NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, executive committee members including President Chris Paul and other players held a conference call Friday with Silver to discuss various topics related to resuming play, chiefly health and finances.

Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported Paul held a private conference call with superstars across the league on Tuesday, with all wanting to resume the season at some point.

Per the report, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Russell Westbrook were all on the call, and “all parties were in agreement to take the court with proper safety measures” once that proves possible.

The NBA suspended the regular season on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha (NAN)


Continue Reading

Contact US: editor, nnnnews247

Read Also