DeRozan Scores 37, Raptors Win Game 2, Beat Wizards 130-111

first_imgTORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan’s big game put the Toronto Raptors in a place they’ve never been before: up 2-0 in a playoff series.DeRozan matched his career playoff-high with 37 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and 14 rebounds and the Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 130-119 on Tuesday night as Toronto took a 2-0 lead in a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.“I didn’t go out there planning to score 37 points, I went out there to be aggressive,” DeRozan said.Kyle Lowry had 13 points and a career playoff-high 12 assists as Toronto set team playoff records for points in a quarter, a half, and a game.C.J. Miles scored 18, Delon Wright had 11 and Serge Ibaka 10 for the Raptors, who snapped an NBA-worst 10-game losing streak in Game 1s with a 114-106 win on Saturday.DeRozan, whose 37th point came on a friendly roll on a fourth quarter free throw, equalled his total from Game 3 of the second round against Cleveland last year. It was his 12th career 30-point game in the postseason. The Raptors are 9-3 in those games.“I though DeMar was super on the offensive end,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “We needed every point. He did an excellent job of reading what the defense was doing to him and making them pay.”Lowry called DeRozan “an MVP-type caliber player.”Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots as Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) defends during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)DeRozan missed his first two shots but connected on 14 of his final 21 attempts, including three of six from long range. He also converted a four-point play.“When he’s making 3’s, he’s very tough to guard,” Washington’s John Wall said of DeRozan.Toronto, which made a team playoff record 16 3-pointers Saturday, connected on 13 of 35 from long range in Game 2, making only two in the second half.Wall scored 29 points, Mike Scott had a career playoff-high 20 and Ty Lawson 14 for the Wizards, who host Game 3 on Friday night.“We’re the team that’s in the hole, we’re the team that’s desperate, but we have a lot of confidence,” Wall said. “We’re not down on ourselves at all.”Wizards guard Bradley Beal missed eight of 11 shots and finished with nine points. Beal had more fouls in the first half (three) than made baskets (two).“We need him,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “We’re going to have trouble beating this team if he doesn’t play better.”Trailing 100-90 to begin the fourth quarter, the Wizards cut it to 108-103 with 7:52 left on back-to-back 3-pointers by Scott and Lawson, and a pair of free throws from Wall.Miles stopped the run with a long 3, Toronto’s first of the second half, and the Raptors put it away with a 17-4 spurt over the next four minutes. The sellout crowd roared when DeRozan forced a turnover and saved the ball from going out of bounds, then passed to Lowry who fed Wright for an alley-oop dunk with 3:38 left, putting Toronto up 125-107.Raptors guard Fred VanVleet returned after sitting out Game 1 because of a bruised right shoulder, but looked rusty in three minutes of action at the start of the second quarter, airballing a shot and mishandling a pass before being replaced by Lowry. VanVleet did not play in the second half.“He was tentative, he was just too tentative,” Casey said. “I felt like we had to get him out and let him rest a little bit more. He just wasn’t ready.”Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) slips with the ball in hand as Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (3) defends during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Tuesday, April 17, 2018, in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)Toronto set a team playoff record with 44 points in the first quarter, including 13 from DeRozan, and led 44-27 after one. All five starters made at least one 3-pointer as the Raptors shot 7 for 13 from long range.“Seven 3s in a quarter, that got the momentum going,” Brooks said.Brooks called two timeouts to try and slow Toronto, to little effect, while Wizards guards Wall and Beal each picked up two early fouls, forcing them to the bench.“That kind of hurt us and they took full advantage of that,” Wall said.Miles made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points in the second and DeRozan added seven as Toronto broke its playoff record for points in a half by taking a 76-58 lead at halftime.Wall scored 14 points in the third while Toronto shot 0 for 7 from 3-point range, allowing the Wizards to cut it to 100-90 heading to the fourth.TIP-INSWizards: Wall went 11 for 11 at the free throw line. … Ian Mahinmi was called for a flagrant foul on a driving Ibaka in the second. … Lawson made his Wizards debut in the first, replacing Wall.Raptors: The Raptors used 13 players, including G-League MVP Lorenzo Brown. … Toronto’s previous high for points in a quarter of a playoff game was 39, set against Orlando in 2008. Their previous high for points in a half was 63, set against Miami in 2016. … The Raptors had 10 assists on 16 made baskets in the first. … Valanciunas had eight rebounds in the opening quarter. … The Raptors also took a double-digit lead in the first quarter of Game 1. … Coach Dwane Casey celebrated his 61st birthday.VOTER FRAUDBrooks had this to say about DeRozan and Lowry: “Both of those guards are All-Stars for a reason. Maybe next year I won’t vote for them.”DOUBLE FEATUREValanciunas had 12 points and 12 rebounds in the first half. It was his 12th playoff double-double, matching Antonio Davis for the most in Raptors history.EXPENSIVE SPILLThe game was briefly halted in the second after a vendor spilled several cans of beer along the sideline opposite Toronto’s bench.UP NEXTGame 3 is Friday night in Washington.—By IAN HARRISON , Associated PressTweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more

Eye for Goal: Firmino Recovers to Seal Liverpool Win vs PSG

first_imgLIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Celebrating Liverpool’s stoppage-time winner by covering his left eye, Roberto Firmino was finally able to jest about the injury that nearly denied him a chance to face Paris Saint-Germain.Assurances the scratch on the cornea had cleared up only came hours before kickoff in the Champions League on Tuesday.“I can open the eye again,” Firmino told Juergen Klopp, according to his manager after the 3-2 victory.Firmino still had to bide his time to play, starting on the bench and watching as Liverpool threw away a two-goal lead. Firmino had been on the pitch 11 minutes by the time Kylian Mbappe equalized for the French champions in the 83rd minute.But the French World Cup winner’s carelessness at the other end allowed Firmino to provide a thrilling climax to a pulsating night at Anfield to open Group C.Mbappe was dispossessed by James Milner and Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk combined to feed the ball to Firmino. The Brazil forward, who injured his eye against Tottenham on Saturday, now had the vision to find the space to weave through the defense and strike the ball low into the net.“The day before yesterday there was no chance (he could play) and yesterday it didn’t look well,” Klopp said. “This morning he came in and said ‘I’m fine.’”A PSG fan wears a mask depicting US President Donald Trump in the stands ahead of the Champions League Group C soccer match between Liverpool and Paris-Saint-Germain at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)It all made for painful viewing for PSG coach Thomas Tuchel in his first Champions League game with the French champions. Conceding in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of an electrifying encounter at Liverpool is just what happened when Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund was beaten 4-3 by Klopp’s side in the Europa League quarterfinals in 2016.“This is what Liverpool do,” Tuchel said. “They press you and they make it hard for you in possession.”Four months after the five-time European champions lost last season’s final to Real Madrid, Liverpool showed its credentials to challenge for the title again by finding a way to tame Neymar and Mbappe for much of the game.“He’s got to work hard to try to improve,” Tuchel said of Mbappe.Left back Andy Robertson, who repelled Mbappe’s forays down the right, also showed his attacking ability by setting up the opener. A cross from Robertson was headed in by Daniel Sturridge 30 minutes into his first Champions League start since playing for Chelsea in 2012.“We are good at getting in people’s faces,” Robertson said, “especially at home to make it uncomfortable.”Milner, who was Liverpool’s tireless engine in midfield, then stepped up to the penalty spot when Georginio Wijnaldum was tripped by Juan Bern, doubling the lead in the 36th minute.“We conceded goals in the first half,” Tuchel said, “but we never lost our confidence.”That was evident when Thomas Meunier sliced into the net in the 40th minute, and PSG avoided a bigger deficit when Mohamed Salah’s goal in the 67th was ruled out for Sturridge sinking his studs into goalkeeper Alphonse Areola in the buildup.PSG’s Thomas Meunier, left, scores his sides first goal during the Champions League Group C soccer match between Liverpool and Paris-Saint-Germain at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)Salah, Liverpool’s top scorer last season, had a low-key game and it was his misplaced pass that gifted PSG a chance to equalize. Substitute Julian Draxler took the ball forward and released Neymar, who was challenged by van Dijk as he broke into the area. Mbappe seized on the loose ball and fired into the bottom corner.“In the second half I think we showed a bit more personality,” PSG defender Thiago Silva said. “But in a match like this, where the level is high, you always have to be focused, because the other team can score at any given moment.”As Firmino showed after Liverpool seized on Mbappe’s misfortune to make it six wins out of six in all competitions this season.“We lost a ball that usually we don’t lose,” Thiago Silva said, “and we were punished for that mistake.”PSG is rarely so troubled at home, already sitting five points clear by winning the opening five games of its French title defense. The harder task is wining the Champions League for the first time.“Maybe today we could have displayed a little bit more aggression,” Tuchel said. “Maybe we need to improve in our intensity in some areas of the field.”—By ROB HARRIS , AP Global Soccer WriterLiverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, right, competes for the ball with PSG’s Neymar during the Champions League Group C soccer match between Liverpool and Paris-Saint-Germain at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img read more