Toronto Raptors: Three keys to beating the Boston Celtics in semi-finals

The Toronto Raptors have continued their dominance in the NBA’s Eastern Conference sweeping the Brooklyn Nets out of the playoffs Sunday night winning 150-122.  Now, after completing their first-ever playoff series sweep, the Toronto Raptors face another first, the Boston Celtics starting Thursday in the Eastern Conference semi-finals. The reigning NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors, […]
Toronto Raptors: Three keys to beating the Boston Celtics in semi-finals – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Jason Mills / Raptors HQ

Top Leafs Outside the NHL: #8 Teemu Kivihalme

Last summer the Leafs continued to explore the European free agent market by bringing in a young Finnish defenseman by the name of Teemu Kivihalme. I won’t pretend I knew much about Kivihalme then but put similar expectations on him as Andreas Borgman and Calle Rosen. Those expectations appear to be spot on as Kivihalme demonstrated himself to be a solid Marlies defender with a good chance of stepping up into a depth role on the Leafs or being an injury callup in 2020-21.
Kivihalme is a left shooting defenseman, so he’s bound to face some interesting challenges with the Leafs depth on that side, as Rielly, Muzzin, Sandin, Dermott, Marincin, Rosen is pretty solid depth, even if one or two are expected to move over to play on the right side. Cracking the NHL lineup for Kivihalme without the Leafs making a trade will be a challenge, unless he’s the lefty who steps up and becomes comfortable on the right side, which seemingly is just Justin Holl and possibly Timothy Liljegren at this point. Clearly the Leafs will have some upgrading that needs to be done.
Teemu is turning 25 this summer, and is …

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Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation

Grades following Toronto Raptors’ hard-fought win over Brooklyn

The Toronto Raptors continued their record-setting run, picking up their 14th straight victory on Saturday night, with a 119-118 win over the Brooklyn Nets. The Toronto Raptors are on a roll for the ages. The Raptors dominated the Brooklyn Nets through three quarters before the Nets really put a scare into them down the stretch. […]
Grades following Toronto Raptors’ hard-fought win over Brooklyn – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Michael Walton / Raptors HQ

Toronto Raptors: Stock Take, plus Terence Davis turns it around

The Toronto Raptors trudged to a 2-1 week as injuries continued to ravage the team. Whose stock rose and who fell this week? If you can believe it, the Toronto Raptors are still fighting after a tough week of basketball. Injuries still have a grip of the team and, unbelievably, the Raptors now have another […]
Toronto Raptors: Stock Take, plus Terence Davis turns it around – Raptors Rapture – Raptors Rapture – A Toronto Raptors Fan Site – News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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Author: Thomas Valentine / Raptors HQ

Series Preview: Welcoming in old rivals

The Blue Jays have continued to play good baseball ever since Bo Bichette joined the team in Kansas City. Since then, the Blue Jays have won nine of their last 14 games and haven’t lost any of their series as well. Coming into this series, the Rangers have played extremely poorly as of recently. They have lost four of their last five games and have produced the 4th-fewest amount of runs in the AL since the all-star break.
They’ve also recorded the 2nd-fewest walks and 4th-fewest extra-base hits in the AL since the break as well. The Rangers recent lack of offensive production should give the Blue Jays’ pitchers a great opportunity to lower their 4th-best ERA in the AL since the break even further.
Monday at 7:07 ET
The Blue Jays have decided to go with a bullpen day to begin this series against the Rangers. Once again, the lack of quality depth at triple-A has forced the Blue Jays to utilize their bullpen for an entire game. Newly acquired arm, Neil Ramirez is slated to open this game against the Rangers. Ramirez currently owns a 5.40 ERA, 1.620 WHIP, 4.9 BB/9 and a 9.7 SO/9 through his 16 appearances this season with the …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Series Preview: Down to the Trop

The Blue Jays’ bats have continued to dominate since their meeting with the Rays back in Toronto just a few weeks ago. Since that series, the Blue Jays’ offense has scored five runs or more in five of their last seven games. Led by the kids, the Blue Jays offense continues to lead the entire league in home runs since June 16.
However, the Blue Jays’ lineup is about to face much better pitching when they arrive in Tampa Bay. The Rays’ starting rotation currently owns the 2nd-highest K/9 in the AL since the all-star break. The Blue Jays’ offense has also struck out the 6th-most among teams in the AL since the break as well. So, it’s hard to imagine the Blue Jays having the same success down at the ugliest stadium in baseball.
Monday at 7:10 ET
Jacob Waguespack certainly surprised many people with his latest outing against the Royals. The 25-year-old went six innings and allowed just one run on three hits. This was not only Waguespack’s longest outing as a starting pitcher but also the fewest amount of runs he’s surrendered in a single start.
The 37th-round pick in 2012 struggled at times with his command …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

Ryan Borucki expected to join the Blue Jays in the next few days

The roster dance continued this morning, as Nick Kingham was designated for assignment in order to open up a spot on the 25-man roster for Thomas Pannone to make a spot start Thursday afternoon in Boston. That transaction also opened up a spot on the 40-man roster, so what’s the plan?

Charlie Montoyo says that Ryan Borucki’s next start will be in the big leagues, either on Sunday or Monday. Waguespack could start in Detroit Sunday, giving Borucki and Sanchez an extra day off each. #Bluejays
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) July 18, 2019

According to Mike Wilner, it’ll be Ryan Borucki finally making his 2019 debut with the Blue Jays after missing the first half of the season due to injury. Borucki has made two rehab starts with Triple-A Buffalo, scattering seven earned runs over 11 innings, walking three and striking out nine.
Wilner suggests that Borucki could start either on Sunday in Detroit or on Monday at home against Cleveland. As of right now, the rotation is somewhat in flux, as it would be Clayton Richard’s turn to start the series opener Friday in Detroit, but he was recently placed on the Injured List. The Jays could do a bullpen …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation

Forgotten Raptors Playoffs: Can we blame the 2017 Cavs sweep on Lowry’s bum ankle?

The Cavs continued their dominance by sweeping Toronto in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. But… but Kyle! Welcome to Forgotten Raptors Playoffs! All throughout the 2019 NBA Playoffs, we’ll be looking back at past Raptors series — going all the way back to 2000 — and digging into the hidden, underrated, forgotten or straight-up wacky subplots and memories!
Today we’re looking back at the first of two consecutive 4-0 Cavs sweeps: The 2017 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals.
The Situation
Toronto Raptors (51-31, 3rd seed) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (51-31, 2nd seed)
The Outcome
Cleveland sweeps Toronto 4-0 in the best-of-seven series.
What Everyone Remembers
The birth of LeBronto, aka LeBron James averaging 36 points on 57/48/83 shooting splits — while drinking a beer on the court and spinning a basketball in Serge Ibaka’s face.
What You Should Probably Remember Instead
Kyle Lowry was hurt goddammit.
The other day I wrote about the on-the-fly construction of the 2017 Raptors, and how they never really gelled. Still, after emerging from the Bucks series at full strength, we as fans had some confidence that we could hang with the Cavaliers. We had (allegedly) the more mobile front court (with Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker) that could slow LeBron down, and Kyle Lowry …

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Author: Josh Kern / Raptors HQ

Blue Jays spank Athletics but lose Matt Shoemaker to injury

The Blue Jays continued their hot play, dominating the Athletics with a 10-1 win, but that was overshadowed by the fact Matt Shoemaker left the game after hurting himself while involved in a rundown in the third inning with Matt Chapman.

Things worth mentioning…

First and foremost, we’ll talk about Shoemaker. Shoemaker tossed three scoreless innings, scattering three hits while striking out one. The last out he recorded came in the third inning while involved in a rundown with Matt Chapman. Shoemaker was pulled from the game immediately and has since been diagnosed with a left knee sprain. His injury was much similar to the one Brett Cecil suffered back in Game 2 of the 2015 ALDS against Texas. This is a really, really shitty blow for Shoemaker, who has been incredible so far this season. Toronto’s off-season reclamation project has a sparkling 1.57 ERA through five starts and is pitching his best since he earned Rookie of the Year consideration back in 2014. There’s a heartbreaking video of a visibly angry Shoemaker getting treated by Blue Jays staff. Obviously, anybody is going to be pissed about getting hurt on a play like that, but it stings even more for Shoemaker …

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Author: Cam Lewis / Blue Jays Nation