McHale shows frustrations in Rockets’ loss to Raptors

TORONTO, April 2 (Xinhua) — Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale showed his frustrations on and off the court in the team’s 107-103 loss to Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night in NBA action.

This was Houston’s third consecutive loss, tying the team’s worst losing streak of the season when they lost against Oklahoma City, Chicago and Miami between March 11 and March 16.

“We were terrible, letting them (Toronto) do whatever they wanted to do and gave them a big lead,” said McHale during the post-game press conference with reporters.

During the press briefing, a dejected McHale responded to reporters with brief replies.

“We didn’t play hard. We took it too easy,” said McHale.

As the briefing wrapped up, a Houston reporter asked about injuries and their effect on the losing streak.

“I have no idea,” answered McHale in a sarcastic tone.

A typical post-game press conference with a coach lasts three minutes, sometimes as long as ten minutes. Wednesday night’s conference with McHale lasted 70 seconds.

During the game, McHale also displayed his frustrations.

In the final seconds of the game, Houston closed a Toronto lead to 106-103 after a Jeremy Lin three-pointer.

On the ensuing inbound, Lin stole the ball from Toronto but Toronto regained control after committing a potential foul.

The officials did not call a foul against Toronto, costing Houston a chance to tie the game.

McHale was in disgust as he crumpled the piece of paper he was holding in his hand and tossed it on the floor.

Despite the negative attitude displayed by McHale on Wednesday evening, he did share with reporters his thoughts on how his team can finish the season strong.

“We got to go play, play harder for 48 minutes. That’s a good start.”

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论

Jeremy Lin returns to Toronto two years following “Linsanity”

TORONTO, April 2 (Xinhua) — In Houston Rockets’ 107-103 loss to Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night, guard Jeremy Lin returned to Toronto, the city that witnessed the peak of the phenomenon known as “Linsanity.”

Two years prior, Lin visited Toronto as a member of the New York Knicks and hit a game-winning three-pointer against Toronto on Feb. 14, 2012.

Fast forward two seasons and Lin has proved to the league that Linsanity was not an accident.

The 1.91 meters guard signed a lucrative three-year, 25 million U.S. dollar contract with Houston in the summer of 2012 and has averaged 13.0 points and 5.2 assists in 146 games in two seasons.

“I think I’m in a different role. I have to learn how to play off the ball a lot more, how to run a team,” Lin told Xinhua after Wednesday game. “I’m definitely on every scouting report now.”

As a playoff-bound team with All-Stars in James Harden and Dwight Howard, the burden has been lifted off Lin’s shoulders and he is able to develop without being in the spotlight each game.

“It’s not nearly as crazy as it was a couple of years ago,” said Lin.

The Knicks have one of the largest reporter group during road games while Wednesday saw three Rockets reporters in Toronto.

Lin hopes that the nurturing environment with the Rockets will help him develop as a player.

“Progress and develop as a player. Become more multi-faceted,” Lin said. “Those are things I’m working on.”

While Linsanity is no longer at the level of two years ago, Lin appreciates of the city of Toronto.

“I get excited playing Toronto because the fans here are pretty awesome, even though I don’t play for the Raptors,” said Lin. “Toronto definitely is. A lot of people show up, I know a lot of fans come out and they’re wearing my Knicks stuff.”

With eight games remaining on the season, Lin’s Rockets have lost three in a row and hold a 49-25 record to sit in fourth place in the Western Conference.

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论

Canada hockey league says “Hello China” in NHL game

TORONTO, March 29 (Xinhua) — In Toronto Maple Leafs’ 4-2 loss to Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night, the National Hockey League (NHL) team and their advertising partners shared a series of special messages to viewers in China to acknowledge the rapid growth of hockey in the market.

During the first period of the game, eleven rinkboards (used for advertisement) at Air Canada Centre featured special messages in Chinese simplified to recognize the sports’ recent popularity in China.

“The popularity of hockey continues to increase globally and we wanted a way to acknowledge the fast-growing audience in China and say thank you to the fans that have helped the sport grow in such an influential nation,” said Dave Hopkinson, Maple Leafs sports & entertainment (MLSE) commercial officer.

Messages contained a company’s name or simple Chinese characters such as “Hello China” were visible to the 20,070 capacity crowd and television viewers.

“We are fortunate to have like-minded partners that felt the same and wanted to participate,” Hopkinson said.

The eleven partners that participated consists of local Canadian corporations and global multinational ones. Avis, BlackBerry, Casino Rama, Dairy Queen, Hero Certified Burgers, Purolator, MasterCard, Norton Rose Fulbright,, Scotiabank and Sun Life Financial all participated in the promotion.

During the first commercial break, Toronto announcer acknowledged the promotion to the fans and also mentioned that the game was being simulcast to viewers in China on CCTV5, the sports channel of China Central Television.

This NHL season is the first to be broadcasted in China. In total, 87 games will be broadcasted live in high-definition and replayed during prime time to account for the time zone difference.

To date, CCTV5 average 300,000 households watching the event during the live broadcast and an additional 450,000 to 600,000 households during the re-broadcast during 7 to 9 p.m.

Since last month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, the live audience numbers have spiked to 800,000 per households per game.

As the most valuable NHL franchise at 1.1 billion, Toronto Maple Leafs hopes to capitalize on the emerging Chinese market and replicate the global success of the NBA.

“It’s no secret we’re looking to grow the company,” says Hopkinson. “Tim (Hopkinson’s president and CEO) has challenged us to think globally.”

Prior to the game, MLSE executive members flew to China to negotiate a partnership between the team and CCTV.

“Revenue and growth opportunities really are maxed out,” says Hopkinson of the North American market. “This truly gives the Leafs a totally new market and can really increase the value of the brand because it’s so accessible through digital technology.”

Of the 87 games broadcasted in China, 12 feature the Maple Leafs. Saturday night’s game against Detroit was the eleventh and final home game of the season to be shown on CCTV5.

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论

Raptors top Celtics, clinch NBA playoff berth

TORONTO, March 28 (Xinhua) — Toronto Raptors defeated Boston Celtics 105-103 to clinch a berth in the playoffs in NBA action on Friday night.

In front of a sold-out Air Canada Centre crowd, Toronto clinched their first playoff appearance since 2008 and sixth in the franchise’s 19-year history.

“We’re excited about it. It’s gratifying,” said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey following the game. “I’m more satisfied for the organization. This organization has been through a lot in a lot of years.”

Casey is also thankful for the continued fan support during recent years of rebuilding.

“To the fans: for understanding and being patient. I know they didn’t see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but again it’s a process,” said Casey. “You don’t build Rome overnight in this league. Rebuilding is a hard gig.”

With the victory, Toronto improves to 41-31 on the season with 10 games remaining.

While Toronto currently lead the Atlantic Division and sit in third place in the NBA Eastern Conference, the distance between the third and sixth seed is only four games.

“We can’t be satisfied. We want to continue our goal to fight for the division,” said Casey. “We saw tonight how the physicality in the game was. That’s the way the playoffs are going to be; a meat grinder. We got to be able to participate and compete in that environment.”

Toronto will have to battle for the division with Brooklyn (2.5 games behind) and conference with Chicago (1 game behind) and Washington (4 games behind) over the final stretch of the season.

For Casey, reaching the playoffs is not the end goal for his team. He believes the team has the right pieces to be a perennial championship contender.

“This franchise is built for a championship environment. It takes time to do that. It’s not going to happen overnight,” said Casey. “It takes the right pieces, the right luck, but the right culture is so important to know what it feels like to win a championship.”

The pieces brought in by General Manager Masai Ujiri consists of a starting line-up with an average age of 24.2 with 24 games of combined playoff experience.

The playoff experience will be a critical step for their personal growth and understanding of Casey’s defence-first vision.

“I know what it takes to win in this league. Defence wins and we’re building that culture here,” said Casey, who won the NBA championship in 2006 with Dallas. “That’s the culture I want to bring from Dallas when we won the championship.”

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论

Raptors rally over Hawks to snap home losing streak

TORONTO, March 23 (Xinhua) — Toronto Raptors scored 36 points in the fourth quarter in a 96-86 victory over Atlanta Hawks to snap their two-game losing streak at home in a Sunday afternoon NBA game.

Down 71-60 after three quarters, Toronto shook off their earlier struggles to outscore Atlanta 36-15 in the final frame.

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was concerned with his team’s early-game struggles.

“For whatever reason, we got to get energy with our team,” said Casey following the win. “We got energy in the building and got to get ourselves going. We can’t start games like that.”

Late quarter comebacks are familiar for Casey’s squad, as they trailed in 36 out of 71 games played this season. Today’s victory was the team’s 10th one when trailing after three quarters.

“We have a good team and a group of guys who are very resilient,” said Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who had a game-high 25 points. “When you’ve found the recipe to win in the fourth, you have to stick with it.”

Despite the team’s success when trailing after three quarters, their record when leading is more impressive. Toronto holds a record of 28-2 when leading at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

With the victory, Toronto also improves their home record to 21-14 in games played at the Air Canada Centre.

Since Jan. 1, Raptors are tied with Clippers for most home wins with 16. They trail Pacers only and Nets who have 17 each.

During the same period, Toronto has only managed consecutive losses at home once. They lost March 16 against Phoenix and March 21 against Oklahoma City.

Earlier in the season, the team had a two-game losing streak between Nov. 15 and Nov. 17 and a four-game losing streak from Nov. 26 to Nov. 10.

“We got to take advantage of those fans. They are our sixth man,” said Raptors forward DeMar DeRozan. “They get us going and give us the confidence to win.”

With 13 games remaining on the season, DeRozan and the Raptors have six home games left take advantage of the fans’ energy.

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论

Durant scores 51 including game-winner in 2OT

TORONTO, March 21 (Xinhua) — Forward Kevin Durant hit a game-winning three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to cap off a 51-point effort to lead his Oklahoma City Thunder 119-118 over Toronto Raptors in a double overtime NBA game on Friday night.

With 49 seconds remaining in the second overtime, Oklahoma City was down 118-110. Durant and teammate Derek Fisher hit two key three-pointers to reduce Toronto’s lead to two at 118-116.

After Raptors forward John Salmons missed two free throws, the Thunder controlled possession with nine seconds remaining.

Following a Thunder timeout to advance the ball, Durant received the inbound pass and calmly hit a three-pointer while heavily defended by Raptors forward Amir Johnson to put his team up 119-118.

Toronto’s was unable to score in the remaining 1.7 seconds of the game against the Oklahoma City defence.

Thunder head coach Scott Brooks was extremely proud of his team’s perseverance in the final minute of the game.

“The way our team is made up, the way they fight for each other it’s never over,” Brooks said after the game. “The defence and spirit of our team gave us the chance to win this game.”

Brooks is also proud of his team’s willingness to go the extra mile when necessary.

“I talked to the guys. It’s not about doing your best; it’s doing whatever it takes. There’s a subtle difference and I believe in that difference.” said Brooks. “That’s what makes you a good team. You have to be able to have that mentality every day, you can’t just turn it on, and that’s what we do as a group.”

One of the biggest advocates of Brooks’ philosophy is All-Star Kevin Durant.

Durant’s 51-point effort against the Raptors was his second 50-plus effort this season, and fourth of his career. His other effort this season was a career-high 54-point performance against Golden State on Jan. 17.

Despite not surpassing his career-high in the victory against Toronto, Durant was overwhelmed with the emotional swings at the end of the game.

“Down eight with less than a minute to go, two guys fouled out, Russ (Westbrook) was out, (being a) back-to-back, just a crazy game,” said Durant after the game. “We had to get out of there. I wasn’t trying to go to another overtime. That was the craziest game I have ever been a part of.”

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论

Raptors’ bench dominated in loss to Suns

TORONTO, March 16 (Xinhua) — Toronto Raptors’ bench was outscored 59-11 in the team’s 121-113 loss against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday afternoon.

Toronto’s bench combined to shoot 4 for 14 (28.6%) from the field with one three-point basket made and two free throws made. In contrast, Phoenix’s second unit shot the ball at a 50% clip (21 for 42) with seven three-pointers and ten free throws.

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey believes the large disparity in bench scoring was a result of his team’s inability to contain Phoenix’s fast-tempo offence.

“They are one of the fastest teams in the league, especially when you have (Goran) Dragic and (Eric) Bledsoe coming at you,” said Casey following the game. “Speed does that. Speed kills. That is the bottom line.”

Dragic finished with 19 points while Bledsoe added 14. While their 33 combined points do not make an overwhelming impact on the stat sheet, Casey feels they were the source of Toronto’s defensive struggles throughout the game.

“Bledsoe and Dragic starts it. Everybody else is a by-product, breaking us down,” said Casey. “Guys are out of position to help and we just didn’t do a good job.”

Despite the poor bench result, Casey is optimistic about the remaining 17 games in the season.

“It’s not a systemic problem or a situation to panic. It’s one game. We knew we were not going to go undefeated the rest of the way,” said Casey. “I don’t think we’re going to see that kind of speed and quickness the rest of the way.”

Entering the game, Toronto’s second-unit ranked 26th in the league with 26.5 points per game. Toronto ranked ahead of Minnesota (26.3), Indiana (26.3), Washington (24.8) and Portland (24.0).

In contrast, Phoenix’s second-unit ranked fifth best in the league with 37.5 points per game. They trail San Antonio (45.5), Los Angeles Lakers (41.2), Denver (39.0) and Brooklyn (38.4).

The 11-point production by Toronto’s bench was the second-worst of the season. Their lowest production occurred on Nov. 15 against the Chicago Bulls when the bench scored 10 points.

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论

Raptors ‘physical’ defence prevails against Grizzlies

TORONTO, March 14 (Xinhua) — Toronto Raptors fought off the physicality of the Memphis Grizzlies in a 99-86 victory on Friday night in NBA action.

With the victory, Toronto improves to 37-27 on the season with 18 games remaining before the playoffs.

Head coach Dwane Casey was very pleased with the physical mindset his team competed with in the game.

“I don’t mean this in a bad way because I love the style of defence they play, but the only way you challenge bullies is you hit them first,” said Casey respectfully of Memphis’ playing style after the game. “You got to have a physical mentality against a team like that.”

With an All-Star front court of Zach Randolph and reigning defensive player of the year, Marc Gasol, Toronto struggled at the beginning of the game against the duo.

Down by as many as nine points in the early part of the second quarter, Toronto’s increased physicality took over and never looked back in the rest of the game.

“I don’t think we did (challenge Memphis’ physicality) in the first quarter, but we did in the second and they didn’t respond,” said Casey. ” We competed on offence, we were physical offensively. That’s the style of basketball we’ve been growing and playing as a team.”

In the end, Toronto’s front court of Jonas Valanciunas and Amir Johnson outscored Randolph and Gasol 35 to 24. Valanciunas recorded a season and game-high 23 points and 9 rebounds.

“It was not easy,” said Valanciunas after the game. “We battled really hard and showed that we can win.”

With Friday victory, Toronto improves to 31-7 on the season in games where opponents have scored less than 100 points.

Toronto’s defence ranks fifth in the league in holding opponents under the century mark with 38. Chicago leads the way with 51 while Indiana (49), Memphis (44) and Charlotte (43) round out the top four.

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论

Playoff-bound Raptors ‘take care of business’ against Pistons

TORONTO, Mar. 12 (Xinhua) —Toronto Raptors defeated the Detroit Pistons 101-87 to maintain their third place seed in the Eastern conference in NBA action on Wednesday night.

With the victory, Toronto improves to 36-27 on the season with 19 games remaining on the season and have nearly assured themselves of a playoff berth.

With an 11.5 game lead over the ninth place New York Knicks, ESPN’s Hollinger’s Playoff Odds system currently projects Toronto to make the post-season 100.0 percent of the time given the current standings and each team’s remaining schedule.

“We have to take care of our business,” said Raptors head coach Dwane Casey following the game.” It’s good, it’s exciting. Great for our fans, something our fans haven’t been through for a while.”

An appearance in the playoffs would be the franchise’s first in six seasons. Toronto’s last appearance was in the 2007-08 season when All-Star Chris Bosh was on the roster.

“If we were fortunate enough to make the playoffs, a lot of our guys haven’t been there,” Casey added. “Like I’ve always preached, it’s a different animal. Understand how hard it is getting there first and once you get there, it’s even harder.”

All-Star forward DeMar DeRozan has come a long way since being drafted by Toronto in 2009. The five-year-veteran is eager to add a playoff appearance to his list of NBA accomplishments.

“That’s why I work so hard, it always push me even further ,” said DeRozan after the game when asked about the team’s likeliness of reaching the post-season. ” It always bugs me going home early. Just sitting there and doing nothing.”

A playoff appearance would be beneficial to the entire starting line-up. Toronto’s starting five of Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and DeRozan have played a combined 24 playoff games in three separate seasons.

For a line-up with an average age of 24.2, playoff experience will be invaluable for the team and each individual players’ development.

“Without a doubt,” DeRozan added. ” For myself and the organization, it definitely feels good that we’re moving in the right direction now.”

In the franchise’s 19-year history, Toronto has qualified for the playoffs in five of the previous eighteen seasons. They hold an all-time record of 11-20 in six total series played, with one series win in six attempts.

(not posted on Xinhua)

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论

Rudy Gay struggles in return to Toronto

TORONTO, Mar. 7 (Xinhua) — Sacramento Kings fell to the Toronto Raptors 99-87 on Friday night in forward Rudy Gay’s first return to Toronto since being traded three months ago.

Gay finished the game with 15 points (on 5-13 shooting) and five rebounds in 33 minutes.

“We weren’t making plays for each other and it showed on the stat sheet,” said Gay following the game. “Proof is in the pudding.”

The eight-year veteran from the University of Connecticut headlined a seven-player trade on Dec. 9 between Toronto and Sacramento.

Acquired in Jan. 2013 from Memphis, Gay played a total of 53 games with Toronto. Despite his short stay with Toronto, Gay was not well-received by the 18,188 Air Canada Centre crowd.

Gay was booed during the pre-game introductions. During the game, he was booed each time he had possession of the ball.

“Honestly I didn’t even pay attention to it. Boo or cheer either way I have to go out and do my job,” said Gay following the game.

Prior to the trade, Toronto held a record of 7-12 (.368) while Sacramento was 5-13 (.277).

Since the trade both teams have benefited. Sacramento holds a 17-27 (.386) record in 44 games while Toronto have thrived with a 27-14 (.656) record since the trade.

The trade has propelled Toronto to first place in the Atlantic division and are the verge of the franchise’s first playoff appearance in five seasons.

While Toronto is playoff bound, Sacramento is not. With a 22-40 (.355) overall record on the season, Gay and his teammates will use the remaining 20 games as an opportunity to develop the team’s prospects and also create cohesion within the team.

“It’s going to take a lot, a lot of time and experience,” said Gay. ” This is one of those things that is a learning experience with those young guys, going out there and playing while they’re young.”

For Gay personally, he has used the opportunity to increase his efficiency. Entering the game, Gay has improved his efficiency in the 37 games with the Kings. He has averaged career-bests in field goal percentage (50%), free throws attempts (4.4), free throws made (5.1), free throw percentage (86.2%) and assists (3.3).

发表在 未分类 | 留下评论