Toronto Raptors News, Rumors, Injuries & Recruiting
The Star: Marc Gasol's biggest rebound with the Raptors has come in the last two games
Marc Gasol was striding purposefully after Game 4. He had been asked to talk to Stephen A. Smith of ESPN, a man who plays a cartoon on radio and TV, and doing interviews is not something Gasol particularly enjoys. The Spaniard is good at it, yes. But it's not his thing. Still, it was part of the job. And Gasol does all parts of the job.
"What I hated most about (Game 2) is that I allowed my frustrations offensively, and my misses, affect me defensively," said Gasol, going back two games in an interview on the way to his interview after Toronto's 120-102 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final, tying the series at two games each.
ESPN.com: FIFA scraps plans for 48-team World Cup in 2022
FIFA has given up on its efforts to expand the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams, football's world governing body announced on Wednesday.
"In line with the conclusions of the feasibility study approved by the FIFA Council at its last meeting, FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighbouring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022," a FIFA statement read on Thursday. "Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.
Ma Fuzzy + Playoff Powell + The BY = 48 Pts | 19 Reb | 11 Ast | 3 Stl #WeTheNorth https://t.co/ydP6k2z5mG
.@Klow7 - A man on a mission25 Pts | 6 Ast | 5 Reb https://t.co/GWrtrcXwsG
Raptors HQ: Raptors vs. Bucks Game 4 Thread: Updates, TV info, and more
Frankly, it could be worse for the Raptors. Tonight is Game 4, and Toronto is down 2-1 in their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Milwaukee Bucks; this, despite a knock-down, drag-it-out fight in Game 3 that took two overtimes to resolve and may or may not have undid all of Toronto's load management schemes with their star Kawhi Leonard. Still, still, the Raptors could be down 3-0. Silver linings, and all that.
In more positive news, this is just about the largest amount of media attention the Raptors have ever garnered in their franchise's history.
Moment: EvenOpen Gym presented by @Bell https://t.co/PBthVibEx7
The Star: Drake, Charles Barkley spice up action off the court in Raptors win over Bucks
There was plenty of excitement on the court Tuesday night for the Raptors' 120-102 win over the Milwaukee Bucks to even the series at 2-2. Off the court, fans and media were having plenty of fun as well.
A look at some of our favourite off-court moments surrounding Game 4:
It's always fun when Charles Barkley and the TNT crew come to Toronto for a game. Sir Charles, the Round Mound of Rebound, has long proclaimed Toronto his "favourite city to visit." Fans at Jurassic Park outside Scotiabank Arena were pretty hyped to see his prediction prior to the game.
Fansided: Three Takeaways: Raptors bench comes up huge in Game 4 win
The Toronto Raptors, after winning a must-win Game 3, faced another must-win scenario Tuesday. The Milwaukee Bucks, who had only lost two games in a row once this season, were expected to be motivated after a tough loss in its previous game.
The game started with an early 12-5 run by the visitors, featuring multiple rim-rocking slams by Giannis Antetokounmpo. Nick Nurse was forced into taking the game's first timeout, something no coach wants to have to do.
But whatever Nurse said to his team worked, as Toronto would outscore the Bucks 27-19 over the final 9:09 of the first and take a 32-31 lead into the second quarter.
Fansided: Player grades from Toronto Raptors blowout win vs Milwaukee Bucks
After saving their season on Sunday night, the Toronto Raptors needed to win once again in Game 4. A win would tie the series at two games apiece and push the momentum clearly in the favor of the Raptors.
With the exception of Game 2, both teams have played high octane, quality basketball and we saw much of that in the first quarter. Kyle Lowry got out to a flying start, scoring 12 of the Raptors first 24 points, knocking down a couple of threes in the process. His double of triples was shortly followed by Marc Gasol, who hit two of his own.
The Star: Raptors come to Kawhi's rescue, even series with Bucks
Kawhi Leonard looked like your dad, creaking and slow, first thing in the morning. Who wouldn't, really? He had taken everything, eaten all that he could, gone past what he probably thought were his limits. Finally, Kawhi looked tired. Carry a team long enough, and it wears on the legs. And that's before you really start to limp.
And finally, the Toronto Raptors had to be the ones to pick him up. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final against the Milwaukee Bucks was basically the season. Might as well be a team. With so much on the line, the Raptors finally showed up in full, blowing out the Bucks 120-102 to even the series at two games.
Raptors HQ: Raptors run wild in Game 4, beat the Bucks 120-102
After Game 3's end-of-days marathon, the Raptors had to know they'd need more from every player on the roster not named Kawhi Leonard. That's not to say others on the team weren't tired too, but Toronto's squad likely knew it had to respond in kind after Kawhi kept their season alive on Sunday night. As Game 4 against the Bucks carried on, it was clear Leonard was definitely not at 100 percent -- but it was also clear he didn't have to do it all on the night.
Instead, it suddenly felt like a stroke of genius for Kyle Lowry to, say, foul out with so much time left in Game 3, and for Toronto's bench to play poorly for long stretches of the playoffs, both in this series and earlier on, so as to sock away some minutes on the bench.
Welcome to the world, Freddy Jr.@FredVanVleet | #WeTheNorth https://t.co/xt8ZNyc1Xz
The Star: Suddenly, there's no reason for Raptors to fear these Deer
It was one of the remarkable achievements by the NBA's best team this season: En route to winning 60 regular-season games and venturing within two wins of a berth in the NBA final thanks to a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference final, the Milwaukee Bucks had lost back-to-back games just once heading into Tuesday's Game 4.
Er, make that twice. And don't underestimate the significance of Toronto's back-to-back wins over the Bucks at Scotiabank Arena. Tuesday's 120-102 victory, after all, didn't just transform this battle for the East into an actual, viable series. It placed a microscope on a question that hasn't yet been exhaustively explored in these playoffs -- specifically, how will the Bucks respond now that they're seriously being tested?