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Toronto Raptors Claw Memphis On Grizzlies Return To Canada

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DeMar DeRozan, Andrew Harrison

Did you know a lot has changed in Toronto, Canada over the last 10 years? Such as it has in life. Par exemple, did you know that the old Cuba Gooding Jr ‘Jerry Maguire’ cry of “YOU KNOW” is something the kids refer to now as “yanno” you know?! I’m sorry…I mean ‘yanno’.

And don’t even get me started on ‘YOLO’…this isn’t ‘Drake Night’, even if I am wearing a ‘We The North’ t-shirt whilst writing this like the tourist I am.

Sure these may be the ramblings of a thirtysomething realising he’s “too old” for this generation even if he is a millennial. More ‘Friends’ than BFF’s. Word to Chandler and Joey, the definiton of those initials. A 31 year old to be exact. Probably moaning about the fact he’s returning to a city and country he once lived in a decade back for the first time in 10 years now he’s no longer eligible for a working visa here again and how everything has changed. How the blue backpacker hostel house he first stayed and made memories in is now a “trendy” coffee shop painted all white and it’s not all right. Or how many a place that made Toronto the T-Dot is gone like the ‘Much’ music garage doors that opened up so fans could get autographs and pictures (before they were called ‘Selfies) with interviewed superstars from Gwen Stefani to Chris Bosh and T.J. Ford.

Am I showing my age again?!

Damn!

The city that we now know as the 6 is on the rise and is coming on in leaps and bounds. Developing at an even faster rate than neighbour country America’s world famous New York, outshining them multi-culturally at a Tokyo neon rate. Old sky-lines are being dwarfed by new ones and countless condominium’s to deal with the pulsing population that has made this once calm city cluttered.

Even the Air Canada Centre’s former clear runway from the Roges Centre’s skydome has lots of restaurant and apartment traffic in this refurbished city which brings us to why we are here…Basketball.

Basketball Buzz was home for this writers holiday for a game during Toronto’s homestand after the Sixers fell by the 6 on Monday. And what better game to take in with all this chatter as the Raptors hosted a familiar beast of a foe. And what a place to find us in.

Because if you want to talk about how things have changed in this country. Toronto faced off with the Memphis Grizzlies. And if you know anything about blue suede nation you know there’s no bears there. Here’s a throwback hoops history lesson for your snapback, forget a snapchat story. Back in the clean cut Gasol days the Grizz found a home in Vancouver, Canada where they were founded alongside the Toronto Raptors for the leagues ultimate expansion pack in 1995. But whilst the Raptors survived big market extinction, the Grizzlies left the building for Elvis town in the new milleniuum quicker than a distraught Steve Francis on draft day.

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Coming into town however the Grizz were armed with another former dunk champ in Vince Carter, a Raptor dino legend like cousin Tracy McGrady, or traitor like Chris Bosh…depending on who you talk to. Even though former Mr. Air Canada can still get up, at 40 it looks like this is the last call and curtain for the Vinsanity flight path. So what a storybook ending, Canada homecoming last night made. Except Toronto didn’t get Carter despite their chants as even though he wasn’t in a suit he didn’t sweat as his hip kept him in check. He joined Memphis’ elite of Mike Conley Jr, Chandler Parsons and Zach Randolph (for personal reasons) on the inactive list as Memphis came into town with more imposters than Presley.

But the Grizzlies can still grind even without all their true grit. Did you forget about the new Gasol making his mark (Marc) or defensive dog Tony Allen? It seemed like the Raps almost did turning the ball over a season high 20 times…what was Coach Casey just getting on your case about regarding defence?

Thankfully the Raptors wing slashers kept the team in it and everyone getting a slice of pizza for the new 100 point plus Taco tip (although you know real fans would never trade in their souvenir stubs for a portion worth a couple of bucks). DeMar DeRozan’s line of 24 points, 6 assists and 9 rebounds was right there with the league best like this underrated franchise face should be up north. Playing leader hot potato with just as underrated sidekick Kyle Lowry again who continued his Steph Curry impression against the Sixers with 29 points including a salty four threes from Spadina and King. Add native Cory Jospeh and Patrick Patterson connecting from distance for a combined 30 and it was enough for the Raptors to wrap up the Grizz 120-105 and send them packing from Canada again.

Sure it’s not a 5-2 win like Toronto FC (with most Raptor fans checking the soccer game on the concession stand T.V.’ as the Raptors were still playing downstairs), but after it was all said and done the north is still there’s.

No matter how much this Brit wearing the t-shirt says everything has changed.

Some things still stay the same.

NBA

Is Isaiah Thomas IT For The Lakers?

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Usa Today 10601289.0
IT Came On A Hollywood Night

It’s All-Star break this weekend in Los Angeles, but the Lakers already have a new one since the trade deadline to lead their young core in the heart of the city. Even if Team LeBron didn’t pick him for Sundays pick up.

But how long will IT last?

Right now in the NBA the amount of movers is really putting the shakers on teams. So much so that in regards to loyalty in this league it’s even colder than the Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea right now. But then again it is the Winter after all. Recently Cleveland cleaned house and LeBron’s land for some Cavalier moves. Jettisoning several All-Star points for their changing of the guard. Including former MVP Derrick Rose, ‘Bron brodie Dwyane Wade back to the Heat of Miami, South Beach and even the guy they traded Kyrie for.

Yep that’s right after summer swapping Irving for Isaiah, the Cavs sent Thomas along with versatile big-man vet Channing Frye to Lakerland. In return they got the buckets of ‘Sixth Man’ sure thing Jordan Clarkson and another Akron hometown hero in the form of Larry Nance Jr.

And although the Lakers picked-up a certified All-Star with Iverson kill at will, little man syndrome scoring a lot of fans where left tweeting negative emojis and gifs following the deadline deal. And not because their new number seven seal was a former Boston Celtic great only a season ago. Or that the former tooth chipper is now a befallen superstar by way of injury. More that the Lake Show loved the young Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Randle and Zubac core that has lost it’s first big time players of the future since the de-loading trade of D’Angelo Russell last summer.

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Clarkson was a class act and there from the luck of the late round steal start. Whereas when Nance Jr. ran the floor like his pops all the bleachers snapped shut, tilted up. Lakerland finally thought they would see their own slamming son represent them in the Slam Dunk Contest he should surely win now like father, like dunk today. But now he’ll be doing it all for one and one for all.

But with the fast tracked pace of the Lakers new speedy dynamite dynamo it could still be Showtime again for Magic’s men like when Earvin Johnson was kissing another Isiah Thomas hello in the golden era 80’s. But this Isaiah Thomas-so long as he can ball in the same backcourt as Ball once injury time gives way to the Lavar…excuse me the Lonzo Angeles Lakers-could attract even more free agents like the expected homecoming of Paul George from the Thunder to the purple reign this offseason. Even if rumour has a Black Panther/Killmonger like relationship between this point prince and the King of the Ohio land.

But if it’s between LeBron as a Laker or another one of James’ sidekicks than who do you think will hold the headlines for tomorrows Los Angeles Times? Especially as Isaiah could aim higher than coming off the bench this summer as a free agent without restriction himself. His big contract coming off the books with Channing’s (Frye not Hollywood’s Tatum), another big three big in Brook Lopez and another former All-Star in Luol Deng (yep…he’s still here).

All these multiples of millions would surely make for a kings ransom.

This could be it, so lets enjoy I.T. whilst he lasts.

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Nuggets Jamal Murray breaks Steven Adams Ankles with Filthy Handles

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Nuggets Jamal Murray Breaks Steven Adams Ankles Filthy Handles

Denver Nuggets Guard Jamal Murray breaks OKC Thunder center Steven Adams ankles with his filthy and deadly combination of handles and three-point shooting. Murray was sensational finishing with 33 points, 5 assists and 3 rebounds in a thrilling 127-124 victory. The Canadian guard (Kitchener, ON) is having the best year of his NBA career and has arguably become best Canadian basketball player in the NBA. The 6’4″, 207 lbs guard is flourishing under Head  Coach Mike Malone’s system and is averaging a respectable 16 points per game, 3.6 rebounds and 3 assists per game through 50 regular season games including a career-high 38-point outburst against the Portland Trail Blazers.

BTW. I can watch this all day!

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Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History

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Like Father, Like Glove…Gary Payton II Makes Family Franchise History
The Gloves Are On For The Lakers.

From L.A. to South Bay the storied Lakers franchise has growing family ties rooted in their ever evolving modern history.

There’s the Walton. Son of Bill, former player and now coach Luuuuke. The Slam Dunk king he runs lay-up line plays for Larry Nance Jr. like his 80’s dunk champ dad. And even former player and D-League, South Bay coach Coby Karl, son of the legendary George Karl.

And then there’s the Glove story.

All trash talking, stop you from scoring, Seattle Supersonics NBA legend Gary Payton joined the Lakers with fellow golden era 90’s great post mailman, Karl Malone to try to get one more ring at the end of the Shaq and Kobe era. Payton ended up getting one with Shaq in the talented South Beach pool of Miami before the G retired. But now the gloves son and fellow Beaver, Gary Payton II (there’s a Tim Hardaway Jr. trend for NBA legend fathers to name their sons after themselves) is putting on the gold for the future of this franchises youth revolution.

After starting his unbelievably undrafted career with the young Milwaukee Bucks led by the alphabet Giannis Antetokounmpo, it wasn’t all A-B-C. But now he’s looking to put up numbers with the purple Lake Show off alphabet street like 1-2-3. Now number 23 (three more than his dad…but that isn’t the reason that number should p### the retire No. 20 off) is looking at a fresh start with Luke and Lonzo’s (not to mention Lavar’s) Lakers like no other.

The two-way guard has signed a two-way contract with both the Los Angeles Lakers and their NBDL team the South Bay Lakers (now more official than their former Los Angeles D-Fenders affiliate name, even if not in city). So now G.P. II will play for both Coach Walton and Coach Karl. How’s that for some family ties!?

Young Gary Payton the second had some impressive debuts off the bench for L.A. But now Payton mark II is assigned to South Bay like fellow two-way dunking Alex Caruso (he really does have a detective grade surname and a game that does not go with his frame) he’s ready to ball. Messing around in his debut and getting a triple double of 14, 11 and 12.

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Payton II could be a big part of the Lakers youth movement too like many of his current teammates going from South Bay to L.A. like Hollywood fans and script-writers can only hope LeBron will decide to this free agent offseason like he did South Beach all those last summers ago. Just like another rookie with a familiar surname in Thomas Bryant (no…Kobe isn’t THAT old) and of course Zupac.

Lead by the Ball family, the even better rookie and in no way number two Kyle Kuzma (who even goes one better in the Twitter troll back and forth with Ball brother LiMelo. “Fire your stylist”?! Oh yeah? “Fire your dentist”! Damn…can we smell a Shaq and Kobe beef cooking?!), three times a great rookie selection in the defensive Hart, big Brandon Ingram, of course Nance junior and the original future Julius Randle and his late round draft genius Jordan Clarkson (who’s not only balling like he’s the Sixth Man of the Year but like he should start too) this young Showtime, purp Laker legacy are making their own, unique legend in Mamba moment black.

This season it looked like the chance for an outside eight seed was thinner than the backlight on a retro Casio, but now the future is brighter than the South Bay sun from downtown L.A.

And with the Payton patent making Lakers history by becoming the first father and son duo to suit up for the franchise, it might just take a glove to hold this young core together.

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