Subban not only ex-Canadiens to move to 2nd round

The former Montreal Canadiens who are playing in the second round while the current Canadiens players season is over. P.K. Subban (Nashville Predators), Lars Eller (Washington Capitals), David Desharnais and Zack Kassian (Edmonton Oilers) were all traded by general manager Marc Bergevin tried to improve the roster to take the next step towards a Stanley Cup Finals. Bergevin Head coach Michel Therrien before season ended once Claude Julien was available after losing his Boston Bruins job.

Bergevin had the worst season in the Canadiens organization. Shea Webber giving his consent to sign Alexander Radulov kept the Canadiens at top of the Atlantic Division. Radulov amazing play couldn’t lead his team past the New York Rangers. Webber brought what he could to the team, but offensively he is no Subban.

Name Games Goals Assists Point Plus – minus
Webber 78 17 25 42 + 20
Subban 66 10 30 40  -8

 

The Canadiens can’t expect to win 1 – 0 games with Carey Price being spectacular every night. The Canadiens roster only had two players score more than 20 goals (Max Pacioretty and Paul Byron) compared to the Ottawa Senators (3), Toronto Maple Leafs (5), Winnipeg Jets (5), Calgary Flames (2) and Edmonton Oilers (5). All the other Canadian team have young talented players that they drafted.

Bergevin has been at helm of the Montreal Canadiens since 2012 and has nothing to show for it. The Canadiens should seriously consider changing their general manager while Price is still with the organization. The nucleus is Price (29), Max Pacioretty (28), Radulov (30), Webber (31), Tomas Plekanec (34) and Andrei Markov (38). This group got a year older and closer to a window closing on how far the team can go in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Should the Canadiens clean house from top to bottom?

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Raptors lack size against Bucks

The Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey loves to play his small line-up and their dynamic duo (DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry) haven’t been able to dominate the series. The Milwaukee Bucks seem to have more desire than the Raptors, played better defense and have balance scoring.

Bucks coach Jason Kidd sat Mirza Teletovic and used Michael Beasley of the bench instead to offer more offense. Beasley rewarded his coach with 13 points, The Bucks have dominated the series at the center position. Monroe once again played a great game with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. He is averaging 16 points a game so far. Thon Maker contributed 11, 2 rebounds and assists last night. The Bucks get 20 points a game average from their 2 centers combined.

It will be interesting to see which adjustments Coach Casey will make for Game 4. He must decide who should play more minutes, trying to find the hot hand and create an offense that is not dependent on only one person dribbling to create their shot.

Lowry (31 years) is playing for their next big contract because he will opt out to test free agency. Lowry needs to show everybody he is franchise player despite being a two-time all-star. He has been outplayed by Malcolm Brogdon in the Bucks two victories. Lowry is one–half of the Raptors dynamic duo. The three games average are too close for Raptors fans.

Name PTS Rebounds Assists
Lowry 13 3.6 4.3
Brogdon 9 5.6 4.6

 

The Raptors win Game 4 and the series will be 2 with the next game in Toronto. The fact they were blown-out by 27 or lose by 1 it is still only one lost that is the good news for Raptors fans. The future make-up of the team depends of the evaluation of the coaches and roster after the playoffs are over.

Can the Raptors bounce back like they usually do?

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Can Maple Leafs win Game 4?

The Toronto Maple Leafs are up 2 – 1 and I still don’t believe they will win series against the Washington Capitals. The Maple Leafs responded to being down 3 – 1 at home by killing a 5 on 3 power play and dominated the rest of the game at home.

The Leafs defensive core, which has been their Achilles heel throughout the season have played like a solid unit. The three straight overtime games injuries to Roman Polak and Martin Marincin will put more pressure on Morgan Reilly, Jake Gardner, Matt Hunwick and Connor Carrick to play more minutes than they usually do. Nikita Zaitsev returned from injury and was a minus 2.

Head coach Mike Babcock has the Maple Leafs playing excellent playoff hockey and his team is two wins away from completing the biggest upset by upsetting number one seed Capitals. The Coach of the year candidate is earning his big contract to turn around Toronto’s fortune.

The Capitals won’t go down without a fight. They win game 4, the series is tied at 2 and Capitals have home ice advantage in two of the three remaining games. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom only played 15 and 17 minutes in Game 3, expect them to see a lot more minutes with the season on the line. Head coach Barry Trotz has to convince his team Game 4 is a sudden-death game.

The Maple Leafs have shown they won’t give up, handle adversity and are confident in each other. They are by far the better team and must not stop believing they can take this series. Game 4 will decide the series winner even though there is more games to play.

Good luck Maple Leafs.

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Raptors will respond to Bucks in Game 2

The Toronto Raptors once again lost the first game of a playoff series. The Milwaukee Bucks were the better team in all aspects of the game even though they lacked the playoff experience. The Raptors couldn’t make one of their great comebacks to win the game.

Head Coach Dwane Casey will have to find the players who can provide offensive production. Kyle Lowry only scored 4 points will be better in Game 2. DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points to match Giannis Antetokoumpo 28. The big difference the bucks had 5 players score more than 10 points, while the Raptors only had Serge Ibaka (19).

Coach Casey will have to change the defensive scheme towards Giannis because DeMarre Carroll doesn’t have enough size to slow down the Bucks All-star. Carroll has to make open three point shots and cutting to the rim. He played 24 minutes despite scoring 5 points and 4 rebounds with a minus 15. Norman Powell may see some minutes at small forward if Carroll or P.J. Tucker (7 points and 4 rebounds with a plus 1) don’t contribute more.

The Raptors will be fine as long as Lowry regains his scoring touch. The Bucks won’t let the Raptors dynamic duo score 20 points each. In the playoffs balance scoring is important for any team that want to win in the playoffs. Lowry may not score 20, but he can run the offense and distribute to open shooters. Lowry was a team worst minus 22 in the lost.

The Raptors roster have many players who have played more than 10 playoff games. It was inexcusable that they weren’t ready to match the Bucks intensity and youthful enthusiasm. The Raptors will be better in Game 2.

Will Raptors win Game 2?

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Raptors will make short work of Bucks

The Toronto Raptors will dispose of the Milwaukee Bucks in 5 games. The Raptors experience roster and two all-stars (Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan) will handle a long playoff run.  The Bucks are only the beginning not a danger to the Raptors.

Coach Dwane Casey’s roster is healthy and ready to make quick work of the Bucks. Coach Casey has a solid eight man rotation where every player has to earn their minutes and gives the coach the flexibility to play big or small. The eight man rotation doesn’t include Norman Powell and Delon Wright; players who played big minutes due to injuries to Lowry and DeRozan. Their 4 game winning streak, they are the hottest team in the last 10 games (8-2) in the Eastern Conference and have a very good dynamic duo (Lowry and DeRozan).

The Greek Freak is the only All-star on the Bucks roster. Head coach Jason Kidd will have his players play fast and try to use their youthful exuberance to give themselves a chance to get an upset. The Bucks want low scoring and physical games, which the Raptors are ready for this year with the additions of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker.

The Raptors were 3 – 1 against the Bucks this season with only win coming by less than double digits. Expect a dominating victories by the Raptors. They won’t look ahead to their match-up with the Cleveland Cavaliers because Coach Casey’s team have too much experience for that to happen.

The Raptors need to win this season with 4 free agents on the roster. The Raptors president Masai Ujiri is going for a championship and the Cavaliers showing vulnerability this season.

Can the Raptors sweep the Bucks?

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The Maple Leafs and Raptors protecting Blue Jays

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors playoff seasons are protecting the Toronto Blue Jays from the media and fans. The Maple Leafs are the number one sports team in Ontario and making the playoffs will keep them there until their season ends. The Raptors are guaranteed a third seed in the Eastern Conference and another 50 win season will take over the number one spot in Toronto fans hearts once the Maple Leafs lose in the first round.

The Maple Leafs have the Rookie of the Year in Austin Mathews and Mike Babcock will get strong consideration for NHL Coach of the Year. Their playoff run will be short-lived against the Washington Capitals who will dominate the young, inexperienced and injury plague Maple Leafs team. Toronto will go crazy for their beloved Maple Leafs despite being over-matched.

The Toronto Raptors will contend for the Eastern Conference Finals. They are presently the hottest team in the Eastern Conference with Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics struggling to finish the season. The Raptors have two all-stars and solid playoff veterans who aren’t afraid of pressure.

The Blue Jays 1 – 5 start hasn’t been noticed or talked about due to the great success of the Maple Leafs and Raptors. The Blue Jays nine game home stand will be huge if they want to compete for a playoff spot. They will play against Milwaukee Brewers (2), Baltimore Orioles (4) and Boston Red Sox (3). The Blue Jays can’t afford to reach the 20 game mark multiple games under .500. The Blue Jays will be able to fly under the radar until end of May before the media pressure will be on the management team to improve the roster.

It is a great time for sports fan in Toronto with the Maple Leafs and Raptors.

Can the Leafs beat the Capitals four times?

Will the Raptors take the next step?

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Blue Jays lost too much offense

The Toronto Blue Jays great starting rotation needs run support to win games. Edwin Encarnacion, Michael Saunders and Melvin Upton are gone and Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce are in. The Blue Jays lost 68 home runs, 200 RBIs and Upton’s seven stolen bases. As a G.M. would you trade the three out players for the two in players? No absolutely not. This is the first of many problems that the organization will try to hide from their fans.

The outfield has Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera and former All-star Jose Bautista. Carrera is a role player who shouldn’t be an everyday player who is a career average .257 hitter. Defensively he is solid, but offensively his number won’t be better than last year 270 at bats, .248 batting average, 6 home runs and 23 RBI. Bautista can no longer play over 100 games in the outfield, he will need is an occasional designated-hitter and maybe first base if Morales can no longer play defense. The Blue Jays aren’t carrying a fourth outfielder which doesn’t make sense when you look at the three starters.

Pearce is a platoon type player who has to share the first base job with Justin Smoak; they might put up enough home runs and RBIs to make a productive rotation. Pearce should only play outfield in case of emergency.

The only area the blue Jays improved is at back-up catcher with Jarrod Saltalacchia arrival. The light hitting Josh Thole is no longer on the roster. Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki must have great seasons offensively, defensively and be on field leaders. Can they handle the pressure for 162 games?

Morales is only a DH will hamper manager John Gibbons ability to rest his older players by letting them be the DH. Bautista (36), Tulowitzki (32) and Martin (34) health and how many games played will decide the Blue Jays success.

The Blue Jays won 89 games last season. Are the Blue Jays better this season? No. Expect the Blue Jays to struggle this season. The Boston Red Sox will win American League East Division title. Blue Jays pitching staff will keep them in the Wild Card hunt.

Are the Blue Jays true contenders?

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McGrady NBA H.O.F. before Webber?

Congratulation to Tracy McGrady for being part of the next Hall of Fame class. He had a nice a career, but I never would’ve thought that McGrady had a more influential basketball career than Chris Webber. McGrady through no fault of his own had no playoff success and put up great statistics despite lack of talent around him. McGrady only finals appearance was with the San Antonio Spurs in his last season when they lost to the Miami Heat.

The career statistics:

Name Games PPG RPG Assists Steals Blocks
McGrady 938 19.6 5.6 4.4 1.2 0.9
Webber 831 20.7 9.8 4.2 1.4 1.4

 

Webber led Country Day to three MHSAA State Championships in high school. He won the McDonald All-America MVP. Webber was the number one recruit in America when he graduated.

The area where I thought that Webber basketball career far exceeded McGrady was his years as a member of the FAB 5 (Michigan Wolverines). Webber and his fellow freshmen influenced many is the wearing of the black Nike basketball shoes, black socks, the over-sized baggy shorts and tops. I stopped wearing white basketball shoes and started wearing the black Nike shoes and double XX shorts to play ball.

Many NCAA teams after the success of the FAB 5 were no longer afraid to start more than one freshmen in their starting five. Freshmen dominated the NCAA tournament from that point on ward. The Wolverines made 2 NCAA Finals and losing both times.

The Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers playoff battles were classics for a few years. Shaq, Kobe and Lakers prevented the Kings from winning at least one NBA Championship. Webber’s number 4 jersey was retired by the Kings.

Chris Webber is a Hall of Famer because of his overall basketball dominance throughout his career from High School, NCAA and NBA. I hope next class he does make it to the Hall of Fame.

Is Webber a NBA Hall of Fame player?

Have a fantastic day!

You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

Source:

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/m/mcgratr01.html

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/w/webbech01.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Webber

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracy_McGrady

Raptors loss to Hornets cost them Number 1

The Toronto Raptors loss to the Charlotte Hornets will cost them a shot at the Number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors half of the remaining games are against teams that are not going to the playoffs (Philadelphia Sixers, Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks). The Raptors are three games behind the Boston Celtics and two to the Cleveland Cavaliers with 6 games remaining. The Celtics and Cavs play each other April 5, 2017.

The Raptors were number two seed in the Eastern Conference last season. It would have been a huge statement to again be ranked in the top 2 instead they may have to settle for the third seed. Kyle Lowry injury didn’t help the situation, but they were 16 – 6 since All-star game without him.

The Raptors organization, players and fans understand the importance of having home court advantage last season when they defeated the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat. This season the Raptors are 26 – 13 with one home game remaining. The number 3 seed means they will be on the road if the Celtics or Cavs don’t get upset in the first round. The decisive game seven the Raptors are on the road.

Head coach Dwane Casey’s team is tougher and more experienced with the addition of Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker. The Raptors have DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas, Patrick Patterson and DeMarre Carroll who have played many playoff games together last season.

Three games to make-up with six games remaining will be too much for the Raptors.

Can the Raptors still make the Eastern Conference Finals?

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The Cavs roster has no tough role player

The Cleveland Cavaliers roster hasn’t had a tough role player who will play tough and sometimes cross over into dirty plays to help their team win since Matthew Dellavedova left to sign with the Milwaukee Bucks. Timofey Mozgov was also a big loss because he was a big man who can score the ball and alter shot even though statistically the numbers didn’t show as a blocked shot. The Cavaliers role players haven’t been able to fill the defensive toughness.

Iman Shumpert hasn’t been able to play the defensive stopper role and he has zero offensive ability. Tristan Thompson is second on the team in rebounding (9.3) hasn’t lived up to the ridiculous contract that he signed last year. The Cavs power-forward isn’t a double-double machine. Richard Jefferson is trying to fill the void by being the tough guy on the team, but he is 36 years old. The Cavs shouldn’t be depending on him for 20 minutes a game.

J.R. Smith offensively must recover his scoring tough and want to cover opponents’ wing scorers on defense if Cleveland want to have a long playoff run. Smith gives Cleveland a fourth scorer to go along with LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The new NBA is all about scoring the ball because only 2 teams give up less than 100 points a game: Utah Jazz (96.4) and San Antonio Spurs (98.2). Memphis Grizzlies give up exactly 100 a game. The Best defensive team in the Eastern Conference Miami Heat gives up 101.8 points a game.

The Cavs are 19th in opponents’ points per game (106.7) think they can magically improve in time for a NBA Finals run. They must improve the number if they want to be in the NBA Finals again.  They are 4th in points per game even though Smith and Love missed many games due to injuries also giving occasional reset to LeBron and Kyrie.

The April 5th game against the Boston Celtics the Cavs will show why they are the best team in the Eastern Conference again and keep the number one seed.

Who will be number one seed in the Eastern Conference?

Have a fabulous weekend!

You may comment or contact me on Twitter @AlixtheGambit or e-mail at Jadesronvil@gmail.com

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