Game 3 Analysis: Pascal Siakam carries the weight for Toronto

Despite a couple of close calls, the Raptors hung on in Orlando to win Game 3 against the Magic. And the story this time has to be the superlative play of Pascal Siakam. For the Raptors, their Game 3 had some eerie similarities to the opening match-up against the Orlando Magic — a struggling star, some disastrous bench minutes, a close game down the stretch. But this one had a happy ending.
Let’s take a look at what went well for Toronto, and what went wrong, as they now sit with a 2-1 series lead over the Magic in the opening round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs.
That Bench
Another game, another short stretch of the sort of lineup that is always going to lose you a lead.
Nearing the end of the first quarter, the Raptors had leapt out to a big lead. In the process, the Magic had started their counter punch, with a solid few minutes strung together to bring the lead down from 11 to 8 with three minutes left in the quarter.
Coach Nick Nurse decided to close out the quarter with the following look: Fred VanVleet, Jodie Meeks, Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka.
Frankly, it’s a pleasant …

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Author: Daniel Hackett / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays earn first series victory of 2019 in rainy Minneapolis

After several close calls, the Blue Jays have finally won their first series of 2019. Thanks chiefly to some timely hitting and solid pitching, the team was able to beat out the Twins in a rainy and tightly fought four-game series.
With that, the Blue Jays have improved their record to 8-12, and now sit in third place of the American League East. Here’s a look at the good, the bad, and the weird from the team’s first battle with the Minnesota Twins:
The Good
Newly recalled infielder Eric Sogard (6-for-12, 3 RBI, 2 2B, .667 SLG) was on fire in his first series with the club, while Teoscar Hernandez (6-for-15, 6 RBI, BB, HR) and Justin Smoak (5-for-14, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 3 R) continued to contribute at their regular rates. Randal Grichuk had himself a great set as well, going 6-for-14, adding a home run, three walks, and four runs scored.
In the field, Hernandez was surprisingly solid with the glove and arm, while Freddy Galvis and Sogard looked smooth up the middle, despite the former’s oddly quiet offensive series.
On the mound, Matt Shoemaker (6.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 4 SO) and Aaron Sanchez (6.0 IP, 4 ER, 4 H, 5 SO, W) turned in decent outings once again, …

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Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation