Cavs’ Sexton on loss to Raptors: ‘It was embarrassing what took place in the first half’

On Saturday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a golden opportunity to move up in the Eastern Conference’s standings against the Toronto Raptors. Toronto was without their top two leading scorers in Pascal Siakam(rest), Fred VanVleet(hip), and they were without Kyle Lowry(foot).  However, Cleveland picked the wrong time to play one of its worst games of the season.

Cleveland allowed a franchise-worst 47 points in the first quarter and a franchise-worst 87 points in the first half on Saturday night. The Raptors shot 85% from the field in the first quarter. Toronto finished the first half shooting 71% from the field and would lead by as much as 38 points. Ultimately, Toronto would snap Cleveland’s two-game winning streak and win 135-115 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Gary Trent Jr. was sizzling for the Raptors. He shot 17/19 from the field, including 7/9 from three-point range, and had a career-high 44 points.

Collin Sexton, who led the Cavs with 29 points, was embarrassed by what he saw in the first half against Toronto.

“It was embarrassing what took place in the first half tonight,” Sexton said. “We pretty much just came out being soft. They just pretty much got whatever they wanted when they wanted it.”

Cavs head coach J.B Bickerstaff was clearly disappointed after the game and thought the team lacked toughness in the first half.

“We just didn’t have any grit,” Bickerstaff said. “I thought we let them do what they wanted to do. They were beating us up one-on-one. We weren’t good helping one another. It was a bunch of different things, but it starts with the fight and the toughness that I don’t think we started with.”

This will be one of those games Cleveland wishes it could have back. If they would have defeated Toronto on Saturday night, the Cavs would have had sole possession of the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference and would have put them one step closer to the 10th-seeded Bulls(final spot in playoffs).

However, this is what young teams do. They look great at times, and they look bad at times. Saturday night was that “bad at times.” Fortunately for Cleveland, they get back at it on Sunday night when they host the New Orleans Pelicans.

Notes:

Cleveland was again without Jarrett Allen(concussion) and Larry Nance Jr.(illness).

The team announced on Saturday that they’ve signed Mfiondu Kabengele to a 10-day contract. Kabengele was a first round pick of the Nets in 2019. He is the nephew of NBA legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo.

Report: Cavs will sit Drummond as team looks to trade him

It appears that Cavaliers C Andre Drummond’s time in Cleveland is done. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Cleveland is no longer planning to play Drummond as they work to trade the two-time All-Star prior to the NBA’s March 25th trade deadline.

Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman discussed the move with Drummond and his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, and decided together that Drummond would remain with the team but would no longer be active for games, according to the report.

Drummond(rest) did not play in the team’s 128-111 loss to the Clippers on Sunday night.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Cavaliers are engaged in talks with the Toronto Raptors on a potential Drummond trade. 

The 27-year-old Drummond is averaging 17.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game this season.  He played well earlier this season and helped the Cavs get off to a good start. However, Drummond and the team have struggled of late. The Cavaliers(10-18) have lost seven straight and nine of their last 10. In his last three games, Drummond is averaging 9.0 points and 8.3 rebounds.

The nine-year veteran, who acquired by the Cavs from the Pistons last February, is making $28.7 million this season in the final year of his contract. It was clear that once Cleveland acquired the 22-year-old Jarrett Allen from Brooklyn that Drummond’s days with the team were numbered, so what’s happening now is not surprising.

76ers’ Ennis on GM 7 against Raps: We would be champions if we win that game(VIDEO)

Basketball is a game inches. A couple bounces here, and a bounces couple there can change everything. Just ask the Philadelphia 76ers. With the game tied at 90, Kawhi Leonard made one of the most improbable shots to send the Raptors past the 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The ball bounced up, down, and into the basket. An inch to the left or an inch to the right could have changed the course history, so says Sixers F James Ennis.

“Lucky shot,” Ennis told Paul Gant on Friday after the introductory press conference to announce his signing with the 76ers. “He’s a good player, though. Kawhi’s one of the best players in the league, but it hit the rim like four times. I felt like if we would have won that game, we would have won the whole thing…

“If we would have won that game, we would have beat Milwaukee, and we would have won a championship because I think we matched up well against Milwaukee. We gave Toronto a run for their money.”

Ennis recently said that the Sixers would “walk to the Finals” now that Kawhi Leonard is out of the Eastern Conference. On Friday, he still sounded very confident in his team.

The East is up for grabs,” he said. “The West is a lot tougher, but I think we have a team that is elite still. We have a good coaching staff here, good coach, good players. I think we are determined to go farther than we did last year, and I know we will.”

The way Milwaukee flamed out against the Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals, losing the final four games of the series after being up 2-0, Ennis might have a point. Also, after how the Warriors broke down physically(Durant, Thompson injuries), all the top teams in the East should be kicking themselves right now, and with the West getting even stronger, the top teams in the East might be kicking themselves for a long time!

Listen to complete interview with Ennis below as he discusses why he came back to Philly, how much money he left on the table, the playoffs, and more:

 

 

 

Clips’ Frank: ‘We are grateful and honored that Kawhi Leonard has decided to come home’

Kawhi Leonard is coming home, and fortunately for the Los Angeles Clippers, it will be with them. The Moreno Valley, California-native has officially signed with the Clippers, the team announced today.

According to ESPN, Leonard signed a three-year, $103.1 million deal that includes a player option for the 2021-22 season, the source said. He will make $32.74 million next season, $34.37 million in 2020-21 and $36.01 million in the player-option season.

“This is a historic moment for our organization and our fans,” said Frank. “We are grateful and honored that Kawhi Leonard has decided to come home and join the L.A. Clippers. Kawhi is a peerless two-way player, a relentless worker and a natural fit for the serious, professional culture our group has established. He wins everywhere he goes, and he always has, from King High School to San Diego State to the NBA. Having him on our side is a tremendous privilege and a massive responsibility, one we will take very seriously. His expectation, and ours, is to contend for championships.”

Leonard, 28, averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists for the Toronto Raptors last season in 24 playoff games en route to an NBA Championship and Finals MVP honor. During the 2018-19 regular season, the three-time All-Star averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

In his career, the two-time defensive Player of the Year (2016, 2015) has averaged 17.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists over 467 games with the Raptors and San Antonio Spurs. Leonard also won an NBA Championship and captured Finals MVP with the Spurs in 2013-14. The 6’7″ forward has been voted All-NBA First Team twice (2017, 2016), All-NBA Second Team once (2019), and All-Defensive First Team three times (2017, 2016, 2015).

Report: Leonard, George to the Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers have just broken the internet. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers will sign free agent Kawhi Leonard, but it does not stop there. The Clippers have acquired OKC’s Paul George in exchange for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick, and two pick swaps, according to Wojnarowski.

This is a stunner. Many believed Leonard was going to sign with either the Lakers or Raptors, but in the end, the Clippers got it done.

There is going to be a lot of great basketball at Staples Center next season.

Kenny Smith on Kawhi Leonard: ‘Without question, he’s gotta take his time’

The first day of free agency in the NBA saw a lot of big names come off the board. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving went to Brooklyn, Jimmy Butler went to Miami, and Kemba Walker went to Boston, but there is still one big name out there, and that is NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and according to reports, it seems it will come down to the Clippers, Lakers, and Raptors. Where will he go? Who knows, but according to TNT NBA analyst Kenny Smith, Leonard needs to take his time.

“I think he really has to take his time, honestly because he doesn’t have the opportunity to make this decision again,” Smith told TMZ Sports about Leonard. “This is the biggest decision for him at this stage of his life and his career that he can’t just make that decision that quickly. Kevin Durant and all those guys have had big contracts before. This is his first huge, mega contract, so, without question, he’s gotta take his time.”

Leonard is more than likely going to get a max contract wherever he goes, but he can get an extra year and more guaranteed money if he decides to stay in Toronto. Also, he will have a chance to help the Raptors defend their NBA title. If he does go to the Lakers and joins LeBron and Anthony Davis, obviously that would be a tough team to beat.

Leonard’s last big contract came in 2015 when he signed a max contract at five-years, $94 million with San Antonio. Leonard is always composed on the court and can get to all his spots while taking his time and staying under control, and he seems to be handling free agency in the same manner. He’ll make his decision, but only when he is ready to do so.

Nate Robinson on Kawhi: ‘He’s like a robotic Michael Jordan'(VIDEO)

The 2019 NBA playoffs showed the world that Kawhi Leonard is still one of the best players in the game. He had 14 games of 30 points or more, which is the most since LeBron James did it in 2017; he helped the Raptors win their first NBA title, and he walked away with his second Finals MVP.  Leonard now joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players to win Finals MVP with multiple teams.

Before playing in only nine games last season with the Spurs, due to injury, Leonard was considered by many to be the best two-way player in the game, but at this point, he might be the best player in the game, so says NBA free agent Nate Robinson.

“He’s definitely one of the best, if not the best,” Robinson told Paul Gant at the American Flag Football League Championship in New Jersey on Sunday.  “I’ve been telling people the whole time before this season when he came into the league he was like a Michael Jordan type player, but he’s like more of a robot,  so he’s like a robotic Michael Jordan. I call him “Terminator Jordan” for a reason. People were laughing, ‘All yeah, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Ok cool, now look at what he’s doing, you crazy.”

Leonard will be a free agent in the offseason, and at this point, no one knows where he will go. However, if it were up to Robinson, Leonard would stay in Toronto.

“I don’t know; I hope he stays in Toronto,” Robinson said. “Whatever team he’s on, is definitely gonna have a chance to win championships.”

These playoffs have definitely set Leonard apart, and he has a legitimate argument as the best player in the game. At times, he single-handily willed Toronto through the playoffs.

No matter where Leonard goes, the Raptors can be happy that they got a championship out of the deal.

Listen below as Robinson talks AFFL championship, Kawhi Leonard, and more:

 

Drake reacts to the Raptors winning an NBA title(VIDEO)

The Toronto Raptors have done it! Toronto did something that many thought seemed impossible.

Behind the play of Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the clutch shooting of Fred VanVleet, the Raptors were able to beat the Warriors 114-110 to capture the first title in franchise history.

After the game, rapper/actor and super fan Drake reacted.

Here is what he had to say:

 

Toronto boxer Steve Rolls: ‘Triple G is going to face boxing’s version of Kawhi Leonard on June 8’

Inspired by the Raptors run to the NBA Championship Finals, undefeated Top-10 contender Steve Rolls is determined to give his hometown of Toronto another reason to cheer.  Like the Raptors, who are ahead 1-0 in their challenge of the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors (Rolls attended Game 1), Rolls will be the underdog when he faces boxing’s pound-for-pound superstar attraction Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin, who successfully defended his middleweight titles a record 20 consecutive times — 18 by knockout.

Golovkin and Rolls will go mano a mano in a 12-round rumble, which will be contested at a maximum weight of 164  pounds and streamed live on DAZN, next Saturday, June 8, from the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden.

“You can look at me as an underdog but in my mind, I’m the best investment this side of Wall Street,” said Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs).  “Triple G is going to face boxing’s version of Kawhi Leonard on June 8.”

“Boxing is no game,” responded Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), from Karaganda, Kazakhstan.  “I want a war. I have trained for a war.  That’s why boxing fans enjoy the Big Drama Show.  I come to fight.”

The Raptors have a better chance of beating the Warriors than Rolls does of defeating Golovkin, but anything can happen.