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Leafs win away from eliminating Bruins after Game 5 triumph in Boston

BOSTON—Auston Matthews is coming to life at just the right time.Matthews scored his fourth goal of the post-season, leading the Maple Leafs to a heartstopping 2-1 win over the Boston Bruins on Friday.The Leafs lead the best-of-seven series three games to two and can take their first series since 2004 in Game 6 at home on Sunday.Matthews, who has scored in three straight games, scored a beauty in a tightly played game in which both sides played a conservative brand of heads-up defensive hockey.Playing on his off-wing, Matthews one-timed a pass from Jake Muzzin at 11:33 of the third to break the scoreless tie. The goal wasn’t without controversy, with the Bruins challenging for goaltender interference, arguing Zach Hyman had interfered with goalie Tuukku Rask.Kasperi Kapanen added an insurance goal at 13:45 as the winger shows signs of pulling out of his elongated slump. He assisted on Matthews’ goal. The Leafs needed the second goal when David Krejci scored with 44 seconds left.It was a pivotal game and both sides knew it. When a best-of-seven series is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 is 205-55 (78.8 per cent), according to the NHL.The biggest concern for the Leafs coming in was their penalty kill. It had a few breakdowns in Game 4, leading to two Boston goals in the Bruins’ win. Boston had won the special teams battle through the first four games, and the Leafs took time to work on their special teams at the morning skate.“Just be aware of everyone out there,” Mitch Marner said. “We talked a lot about how they score a lot off … dirty plays and they got a couple of those last game against us. We’ve just got to make sure we’re aware of everyone on the ice.”The Leafs needed the penalty killing brush-up, killing one penalty in the first and two in the second. Boston was not penalized at all through the scoreless first two periods.There wasn’t a lot of space out there, not a lot of risk taking, not a lot of mistakes. Players knew what the stakes were.A scoreless first, all things considered, was a pretty good result for the Maple Leafs. The Leafs had hope to get out to a fast start, get the lead and take the rowdy TD Garden crowd out of the game. That was the plan, anyway. Boston had scored first in three of the four games so far.The Leafs didn’t score, but neither did Boston. Instead, most of the period was played in the Boston end. The Leafs didn’t exactly get many scoring chances — a Matthews deflection was their best — but they did everything else right.Boston didn’t get much by way of sustained pressure until the 17-minute mark, given a power play when Zach Hyman was called for tripping. The Bruins looked good moving the puck, but Frederik Andersen made the stops, while the likes of Frederik Gauthier and Marner made plays to break up Boston’s attack. In a way, it was the period coach Mike Babcock had envisioned.“You want to have the puck as much as you possibly can. You want to spend as much time in the offensive zone as you can,” said Babcock. “That’s having the puck, that’s executing, that’s being heavy when you have it and keeping it and spending time in the offensive zone. I think in particular when you go on the road, the first 10 minutes is even more critical. Good poise and execution early and be ready to play at a level that’s worthy of a game like this.”The second was also scoreless, though there was goal celebration when Krejci thought he’d scored. He hit the iron.The second period belonged to the Bruins, again thanks to two power plays, but again Andersen was there to stop what was coming his way. The best scoring chance for the Leafs belonged to Kapanen, a short-handed breakaway with Marner off for delay of game.The Bruins got a pre-game boost when Sean Kuraly, who had been out with a fractured hand, returned after five weeks. He played the fourth line.The crowd of 17,565 at TD Garden marked the 429th straight sellout.Kevin McGran is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @kevin_mcgran

19th, April 2019, 08:57pm

Raptors dig in for Game 3 win over Magic

ORLANDO, FLA.—Now three games into a playoff series, as the Raptors and Orlando Magic find themselves at the moment, the time for serious or stark strategic change has come and gone.It is now about will and toughness, both mental and physical, and the Raptors showed more than enough of it here Friday night.Fighting foul trouble and a rare off-night offensively from Kawhi Leonard, Toronto’s ability to “impose its will” on the game at the most significant moments was the difference in a spellbinding 98-93 victory over the Magic at an electric Amway Center.The win gives Toronto a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that resumes here Sunday night. Game 5 is in Toronto on Tuesday with Game 6, if necessary, back in Florida on Thursday night.For all the time between games to think about adjustments and make them, as a playoff series progresses it’s often just a matter of working harder, concentrating more, playing with a consistently high level of intensity. Players tendencies are almost immediately apparent. The counters to counters to specific moves aren’t all that hard for smart professionals to understand. It’s just doing it.“Play harder,” was how Kyle Lowry put it Friday morning. “Play harder than we played last game. I’m not even trying to be cliche. I’m really, like, we have to play harder than we played last game, and play harder on every possession. Just go out there and play at a pace, at a frequency where we’re playing hard and not (just) being aggressive — just playing hard — and make sure we know where we are on coverages, what we’re doing game plan wise, and make sure we execute everything.”And stay composed, as the Raptors did when Orlando — backed by a crowd of 19,367, which was the second-largest in the building’s history — took a one-point lead midway through the third quarter.The veteran Toronto team, steadfast in its belief in itself, went on an 18-2 run as if to say, “Sorry, you youngsters aren’t quite ready yet.”The run came with centre Marc Gasol on the bench with four personal fouls and with Pascal Siakam scoring half of Toronto’s points. The scoring was impressive, but no more so than the shutout defence that killed any Orlando momentum.“You just have to play, man,” coach Nick Nurse had said early Friday morning. “We’ve got to be able to play through that (opposing team runs and hostile environments) by now.“A lot of these guys have played in a lot of games like this, so they’re ready. We’ve just got to make sure we understand it’s a 48-minute game, right? And go into it with that mindset. Playing basically an eight-man rotation — Jodie Meeks filled a three-minute gap in the first half — the Raptors managed their energy as well as the game. The players and Nurse knew when it was time for someone to catch their breath and they massaged the playing time nearly perfectly, another must at playoff time.“The main thing is, I would say, you’ve gotta exert of mental and physical effort,” Nurse said. “You’ve got to understand, if there’s something or some reason, why you can’t run as hard as you can, or get down and move, then you need to come down and rest until you’re ready to do that, because I just think each possessions becomes so magnified. And it isn’t just guarding your guy. It’s providing team defence, and team blocking-out, and chasing loose balls, and cutting hard on offence, and all those things that take a lot of energy.”Siakam ended up playing nearly 43 minutes and poured in 30 points for the Raptors, while Nikola Vucevic bounced back from two awful games to scored 22 for the Magic.Raptors tormentor Terrence Ross dropped 24 for Orlando, while Leonard was just 5-for-19 from the floor and had 16 points for Toronto.Nurse had been asked before the game whether Siakam had done enough to solidify his spot as Toronto’s “third option,” and that brought a wry smile to the coach’s face.“If he has, he’s maybe dropped down one from the second option,” the coach joked. “He’s been great, he really has. That’s almost a serious answer. He’s probably our second option, to be honest. Kyle’s running the offence. He’s doing a zillion things, and we’re certainly doing some things for him as well.“Similar to Kawhi, he does it in a lot of ways. He does it in transition, he does it on the block, driving from the perimeter and he can shoot.”

19th, April 2019, 08:42pm

Raptors impose their will in Game 3 road win over Magic

ORLANDO, FLA.—Now three games into a playoff series, as the Raptors and Orlando Magic find themselves at the moment, the time for serious or stark strategic change has come and gone.It is now about will and toughness, both mental and physical, and the Raptors showed more than enough of it here Friday night.Fighting foul trouble and a rare off-night offensively from Kawhi Leonard, Toronto’s ability to “impose its will” on the game at the most significant moments was the difference in a spellbinding 98-93 victory over the Magic at an electric Amway Center.The win gives Toronto a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series that resumes here Sunday night. Game 5 is in Toronto on Tuesday with Game 6, if necessary, back in Florida on Thursday night.For all the time between games to think about adjustments and make them, as a playoff series progresses it’s often just a matter of working harder, concentrating more, playing with a consistently high level of intensity. Players tendencies are almost immediately apparent. The counters to counters to specific moves aren’t all that hard for smart professionals to understand. It’s just doing it.“Play harder,” was how Kyle Lowry put it Friday morning. “Play harder than we played last game. I’m not even trying to be cliche. I’m really, like, we have to play harder than we played last game, and play harder on every possession. Just go out there and play at a pace, at a frequency where we’re playing hard and not (just) being aggressive — just playing hard — and make sure we know where we are on coverages, what we’re doing game plan wise, and make sure we execute everything.”Read more: Opinion | The Raptors are becoming experts at the transition game Raptors take 2-1 series lead against the Magic with 98-93 victoryLess has turned out to be more for Raptors big man Serge IbakaAnd stay composed, as the Raptors did when Orlando — backed by a crowd of 19,367, which was the second-largest in the building’s history — took a one-point lead midway through the third quarter.The veteran Toronto team, steadfast in its belief in itself, went on an 18-2 run as if to say, “Sorry, you youngsters aren’t quite ready yet.”The run came with centre Marc Gasol on the bench with four personal fouls and with Pascal Siakam scoring half of Toronto’s points and Serge Ibaka, who had been dreadful in the first half was wonderful in the second.“I just think he kind of does that a little bit,” coach Nick Nurse said of Ibaka. “As the game goes on, he usually gets better and better sometimes. It’s just kind of been his history a bit, but I also just give him the credit. He came in there, he knew we needed him and he just played really determined. I don’t think he had any points when he checked in. He just decided to go out and help the team the best he could. He started that on defence and I think it carried over to his offence, because he made some nice moves down there, too.”The scoring was impressive, but no more so than the shutout defence that killed any Orlando momentum.“I think it showed some toughness for us,” Nurse said of the performance. “It was really what I thought it was going to be tonight. I really thought this was going to be a tough atmosphere to play in.“I just liked the way we came out originally — like, we’ve got to impose our will in this game. And then I liked us, how we answered. We went down a couple of times and we answered right back immediately, I think, both times. And then we put a string of stops together and showed some great toughness there, as well.”Siakam ended up playing nearly 43 minutes and poured in 30 points for the Raptors, while Nikola Vucevic bounced back from two awful games to score 22 for the Magic. Raptors tormentor Terrence Ross dropped 24 for Orlando, while Leonard was just 5-for-19 from the floor and had 16 points for Toronto.“He didn’t practise the last couple days. He hadn’t been feeling that well, and for him to go out there and fight through that and still play 37 minutes … I’m most proud of his 10 rebounds,” Nurse said of Leonard. “He was just battling. It wasn’t easy for him out there tonight.”Nurse had been asked before the game whether Siakam had done enough to solidify his spot as Toronto’s “third option” and that brought a wry smile to the coach’s face.“If he has, he’s maybe dropped down one from the second option,” the coach joked. “He’s been great, he really has. That’s almost a serious answer. He’s probably our second option, to be honest.”Doug Smith is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @smithraps

19th, April 2019, 08:42pm

Jordan Peterson, Slavoj Zizek each draw fans at sold-out debate

While Toronto sports fans were glued to screens to see how their beloved Leafs and Raptors did in playoff games Friday evening, a contest of intellectual heavyweights captivated a packed crowd at the Sony Centre.Bestselling author Jordan Peterson was debating “Happiness: Capitalism vs. Marxism” with Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, in an event that was more than a year in the making.In February 2018, Zizek penned a piece in the Independent, titled: “Why do people find Jordan Peterson so convincing?” in which he lambasted the University of Toronto professor, writing: “His crazy conspiracy theory about LGBT+ rights and #MeToo as the final offshoots of the Marxist project to destroy the West is, of course, ridiculous.”In response, Peterson challenged Zizek on Twitter to a debate, saying: “If you wish to debate the validity of my ‘apparently’ scientific theories — or any of my other claims — then let me know, and we’ll arrange it ...” Though Zizek is not on the social media platform, he accepted the challenge.The tickets went on sale in March and quickly sold out, with resellers charging exorbitant fees — as much as $950 for a seat — and the debate was made available online at a cost of $14.95. Peterson, a professor of psychology who is taking an unpaid leave from U of T, most recently authored 12 Rules for Life. He has become a cause célèbre for his many controversial opinions, and has been called a favourite of the alt-right. The format of the debate was not announced in advance, but Peterson was to argue for capitalism being the path to happiness. Zizek, a celebrated author and philosopher, has written three books on Marxism and four on French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Like Peterson, has been a public intellectual whose many utterances have been parsed and discussed over the years. Many Peterson events — particularly on campuses — have sparked anger and protests, but there were none at the start of Friday’s debate. Most of the people outside the venue were excited to see the two thinkers go head to head, and while some came with a favourite, many were keeping an open mind. “I would say that I’m a fan of both, and I’d like to hear their different perspectives,” said Anna Martin, 26, a teacher. “I’m really interested in seeing how they disagree, and how they deal with each other’s disagreements, and what happens from there.”“This is a pretty historic moment, here, so much change happening, and there’s just a lot to learn in this debate between Peterson and Zizek,” said Sam Mandalawi, 31. “There’s a big crisis of meaning, so far as happiness is concerned, and when we are trying to expand our minds and see different ways of thinking ... I’m really interested in where happiness will come out more visible, in capitalism or Marxism.”Despite Zizek being on the visiting team, he definitely had his fans, and many wondered how he would fare against his popular counterpart. “As a Zizekian myself, I thought it was important for me to come out and support (him), as well as for entertainment,” said Firaz Khan, a 19-year-old U of T student. “I do fear that some people might not understand Zizek, because he’s not as articulate, and you have to have a base in philosopher thinkers — Heidegger, Hegel — to understand him, whereas Peterson is far more accessible.”The debate opened 20 minutes behind schedule with an introduction by moderator Stephen Blackwood, who pointed out how unusual it is for “the country’s largest theatre (to be) packed for an intellectual debate.” Blackwood said Peterson and Zizek are “not principally political thinkers” but they were interested in higher thinking on subjects such as “meaning, truth and freedom.”Blackwood promised “real thinking about hard questions.”Based on early reaction from the sold-out crowd, Peterson enjoyed a hometown advantage as the fan favourite. He opened the night by saying a “stagehand” had just informed him that tickets for the night’s event were being sold by scalpers for a higher price than Friday’s Leafs-Bruins playoff game. “I don’t know what to make of that.”Raju Mudhar is a Toronto-based reporter covering popular culture at the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @rajumudharBrendan Kennedy is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @BKennedyStar

19th, April 2019, 07:45pm

LIVE: Raptors take on the Magic in Game 3, hope to reclaim homecourt advantage

ORLANDO, FLA.—If there’s one thing the Raptors and Orlando Magic know after two games of their NBA playoff series, it’s that they may have no bearing on Friday’s Game 3.“My answer is probably each game takes on its own identity,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said here Friday night. “I think series can change quickly one game to the next. But I think there’s also something to imposing your will on another team.”The Raptors will be seeking to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and reclaim the homecourt advantage they gave away when the lost Game 1.But after playing poorly in Game 1 and so well in Game 2, it’s impossible to know for certain how the third game might unfold.The Magic were playing their first home playoff game since Game 4 of a first-round series in May, 2012. Game 4 in the series with the Raptors is Sunday here and Game 5 is in Toronto on Tuesday.More to come. More on the Raptors: Opinion | Dave Feschuk: Raptors are waiting for their shots to fall against the MagicPascal Siakam’s breakout season is carrying into the playoffs for RaptorsRaptors are winning the battle of centres with a defence that has stifled Orlando’s Vucevic

19th, April 2019, 05:34pm

LIVE: Raptors kick off Game 3 with a strong start against the Magic’s robust defence

ORLANDO, FLA.—If there’s one thing the Raptors and Orlando Magic know after two games of their NBA playoff series, it’s that they may have no bearing on Friday’s Game 3.“My answer is probably each game takes on its own identity,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said here Friday night. “I think series can change quickly one game to the next. But I think there’s also something to imposing your will on another team.”The Raptors will be seeking to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and reclaim the homecourt advantage they gave away when the lost Game 1.But after playing poorly in Game 1 and so well in Game 2, it’s impossible to know for certain how the third game might unfold.The Magic were playing their first home playoff game since Game 4 of a first-round series in May, 2012. Game 4 in the series with the Raptors is Sunday here and Game 5 is in Toronto on Tuesday.More to come. More on the Raptors: Opinion | Dave Feschuk: Raptors are waiting for their shots to fall against the MagicPascal Siakam’s breakout season is carrying into the playoffs for RaptorsRaptors are winning the battle of centres with a defence that has stifled Orlando’s Vucevic

19th, April 2019, 05:34pm

LIVE: Raptors turn up the intensity against the Magic in Game 3

ORLANDO, FLA.—If there’s one thing the Raptors and Orlando Magic know after two games of their NBA playoff series, it’s that they may have no bearing on Friday’s Game 3.“My answer is probably each game takes on its own identity,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said here Friday night. “I think series can change quickly one game to the next. But I think there’s also something to imposing your will on another team.”The Raptors will be seeking to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and reclaim the homecourt advantage they gave away when they lost Game 1.But after playing poorly in Game 1 and so well in Game 2, it’s impossible to know for certain how the third game might unfold.The Magic were playing their first home playoff game since Game 4 of a first-round series in May, 2012. Game 4 in the series with the Raptors is Sunday here and Game 5 is in Toronto on Tuesday.More to come. More on the Raptors: Opinion | Dave Feschuk: Raptors are waiting for their shots to fall against the MagicOpinion | The Raptors are becoming experts at the transition gameRaptors are winning the battle of centres with a defence that has stifled Orlando’s Vucevic

19th, April 2019, 05:34pm

LIVE: Leafs back in Boston for crucial Game 5 vs. Bruins

BOSTON—The Leafs are in Boston for Game 5, the series tied at two games apiece. The Leafs hope to get out to a fast start, get the lead and take the rowdy TD Garden crowd out of the game.That’s the plan, anyway. But Boston has scored first in three of the four games so far, and now the Bruins big guns are waking from their slumber.And how pivotal is this game? When a best-of-seven series is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 owns an all-time series record of 205-55 (78.8 per cent), according to the NHL.More to come. More on the Leafs: Leafs ready to roll against Bruins in Game 5The key for Toronto against Boston is more of the sameOpinion | Bruce Arthur: Leafs-Bruins not too close to call when you’re dealing with a landmark Boston bar

19th, April 2019, 05:33pm

LIVE: Leafs kick off the battle against the Bruins in a tight start to crucial Game 5

BOSTON—The Leafs are in Boston for Game 5, the series tied at two games apiece. The Leafs hope to get out to a fast start, get the lead and take the rowdy TD Garden crowd out of the game.That’s the plan, anyway. But Boston has scored first in three of the four games so far, and now the Bruins big guns are waking from their slumber.And how pivotal is this game? When a best-of-seven series is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 owns an all-time series record of 205-55 (78.8 per cent), according to the NHL.More to come. More on the Leafs: Leafs ready to roll against Bruins in Game 5The key for Toronto against Boston is more of the sameOpinion | Bruce Arthur: Leafs-Bruins not too close to call when you’re dealing with a landmark Boston bar

19th, April 2019, 05:33pm

LIVE: Leafs kick off the final frame against the Bruins in a tight battle in Game 5

BOSTON—The Leafs are in Boston for Game 5, the series tied at two games apiece. The Leafs hope to get out to a fast start, get the lead and take the rowdy TD Garden crowd out of the game.That’s the plan, anyway. But Boston has scored first in three of the four games so far, and now the Bruins big guns are waking from their slumber.And how pivotal is this game? When a best-of-seven series is tied 2-2, the winner of Game 5 owns an all-time series record of 205-55 (78.8 per cent), according to the NHL.More to come. More on the Leafs: Leafs ready to roll against Bruins in Game 5The key for Toronto against Boston is more of the sameOpinion | Bruce Arthur: Leafs-Bruins not too close to call when you’re dealing with a landmark Boston bar

19th, April 2019, 05:33pm
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