Ben Simmons in Melbourne

Did you miss it? Ben Simmons conducted his third annual Basketball Camp Melbourne – 2019 on July 28th out at Mullum Mullum Stadium in Donvale. Here’s a boy returning to his roots – he went to Secondary College at nearby Whitefriars College.

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With 4.3 million Instagram followers, it’s obvious this guy is numero uno with the fans right now. For their entertainment he toured the Melbourne Zoo, the Street Art Alleyways (Hey! Let’s call it what it is – Graffiti – but oh so high quality. Real art. Remember Banksy has done Melbourne). Photo ops with kiddies and koalas, Ben and a dingo – it’s all very human and very cool.

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Then the press has jumped on him for opting out of the FIBA World Cup scheduled for China in a months time. But perhaps it’s timely to consider what Boomers Coach Andrej Lemanis has to say on the matter.

Boomers hit back at Simmons backlash ‘doing a disservice’ to World Cup team

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis says the noise around the withdrawal of Ben Simmons for the World Cup warm-up games is “doing a disservice” to the same squad that captivated the country at the 2016 Olympics.

The Boomers, powered by Patty Mills and Andrew Bogut, were denied bronze in Brazil in an agonising one-point loss to Spain that is still raw with the players.

The addition of NBA All-Star Ben Simmons was touted as the missing piece as Australia hunt a maiden international medal at the World Cup in China from September 1.

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The Philadelphia 76ers talent was forced to twice retreat from his initial Boomers commitment though, first pulling out of the World Cup and last week excusing himself from Australia’s four lead-up games against the USA and Canada in Melbourne and Perth.

That, along with multiple high-profile US withdrawals, earned the ire of some fans, who Lemanis said would soon be reminded of the Australian squad’s depth.

“It’s doing a disservice to the talent available to us,” Lemanis said of the grumbles.

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“We’ve got four NBA champions (Aron Baynes, Matthew Dellavedova, Bogut and Mills) plus Joe Ingles who starts on a great NBA team (Utah Jazz) and a core of the group that did well in Rio and captured the imagination of the Australian public,” he said.

“We’ve got a talented team that is perhaps being undersold by the tension put on Ben not playing.

“Hopefully we can digest and think ‘we’ve still got a good team and they share the ball, it’ll be fun to watch’ and that is what people enjoyed about Rio.”

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A 17-man squad will gather in Melbourne on Friday, with the final 12-man World Cup roster due to be announced next week.

Australia will face Canada, Senegal and Lithuania in their World Cup pool games, with the final in Beijing on September 15.

“To have players on hand with the talent required (to win the World Cup) is just awesome,” Lemanis said.

“You don’t need the stars and planets to align to have a chance of winning and that’s a good feeling.

“It’s not even a feeling of pressure or extra pressure; it’s your own self-motivation.”

Source: wwos.nine.com.au

For premium quality Timber Sports Flooring all year round championship quality surfaces, always rely on Victoria’s leading experts in Sports Flooring, Nellakir. From full construction and installation to regular professional cleaning, protect your valuable Sports Flooring. Call Nellakir on 03 9467 6126 or leave your details here for a prompt response.

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Ben Simmons – A Vision of the Future.

It’s Friday night and the kids are loaded in the car and we are off to their junior Basketball competition at the local stadium. It’s a premium competition surface – timber sports flooring. Each week the boys and their sister seem to be getting better, more proficient.

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And then you remember what your youngest said to your mum (their grandma).

“Are you going to study and become a doctor? Maybe a Lawyer? Or perhaps an Architect?” she asked.

“No Grandma – I’m going to keep growing and I’m going to practice until I make the NBA draft when I leave school!” he answered enthusiastically.

“But Tyrone, you’ll need a good education to make a living” said my mum.

“Nah – I’ll be like Ben Simmons. He used to play footy but then he played Basketball for the Knox Raiders – just out there near Knox City Grandma. Yeah I want to do what he’s doing!”

“What’s that darling?” asked my mum.

“Playing the hoops and getting $46 million (A) a year! He’s going to make $242 million in five years Grandma!”

“Oh my goodness” says my mum.

But the kid has a point. So whatever it takes hey?

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Now Australian kids right across the country have an inspirational path to follow. With new schools (and older ones) all being included in the State Government scheme to provide superior facilities for all schools and communities, most kids these days get to play on a premium competition court – with sprung timber sports flooring of the highest standard. So the dream of many young men and women is no longer improbable.

Read about Ben Simmons contract here. Unfortunately we will miss his services during the World Cup in August/September but he has reiterated he will play for the Boomers at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

Ben Simmons has agreed to a five-year, $US170 million ($A242 million) contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers in the richest deal ever by an Australian athlete.

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The Athletic, citing Simmons’ agent Rich Paul, was the first to report on Monday (Tuesday AEST) that he had accepted the offer.

Ben Simmons has signed a $A242 million five-year contract extension with his NBA team, the Philadelphia 76ers.

The team and Paul have been working out details since July 2. The maximum extension was originally believed to be $US168.2 million, yet it’s actually higher than $US170 million due to the new salary cap projections.

The extension, which begins during the 2020-21 season, could pass $US200 million if Simmons makes the All-NBA team this season.

Simmons is a triple-double machine and one of the NBA’s young superstars, so extending his contract was an easy decision for the ownership group and front office, despite criticism from some over elements of his game, predominantly the lack of a reliable jumpshot.

The 22-year-old averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists last season as the Sixers lost in the second round of the playoffs to eventual champions Toronto. He had 10 triple-doubles this past season and now has 22 for his career.

Ben Simmons has formally agreed to a record-breaking contract extension, according to his agent.

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He joins Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson as the only NBA players with at least 10 triple-double in each of their first two seasons.

Doubt still hangs over whether the Melbourne-born NBA All-Star will play for Australia later this year at the World Cup in China and in Melbourne and Perth exhibition games.

It was Paul who shocked Australian sports fans on the weekend when he told ESPN that Simmons was “doubtful” to play for Australia at the World Cup in August-September.

His absence would be a major blow to the Boomers’ hopes of claiming a medal in China in September and to huge crowds of Australian fans planning to watch him play exhibition games with the Boomers.

The Boomers will play a powerful US squad twice in front of more than a combined 100,000 fans at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne in August.

Simmons was also set to play for the Boomers twice in Perth against a strong Canadian squad before jetting out to China.

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The Boomers are yet to win a medal at a World Cup or Olympics, but with Simmons spearheading a team laden with Australian NBA players including Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut, Joe Ingles, Matthew Dellavedova, Aron Baynes and Jonah Bolden, the drought appeared set to be broken.

On June 23, 2016, Simmons became the first No. 1 pick taken by the Sixers since 1996, when they took Allen Iverson out of Georgetown.

Source: www.smh.com.au

Nellakir are Victoria and Tasmania’s leading experts in the Construction, Maintenance and Cleaning of all Timber Sports Flooring. Nellakir have exclusive access to the FIBA approved ASF/Horner Sports Flooring systems.

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For a premium sports surface and all your Timber Sports Flooring requirements, call 03 9467 6126 to arrange an obligation free consultation and quotation. Or leave your details here for a prompt reply.

Whether it’s regular court cleaning, annual maintenance (including resurfacing and linemarking) or a full reconstruction of your competition court, call Nellakir for premium performance and genuine service.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

The Winners and Losers 2019 NBA Free Agency Period.

After the play-offs, probably the most interesting time in the NBA competition calendar is the free agency period preceeding the annual players draft. This year there have been, as always, some big surprises, and some big disappointments.

Winners and Losers thus far in 2019 after the first wave of contracts are as follows…

2019 NBA free agency winners and losers after first wave of contracts

NBA free agency 2019 began Sunday night at 6 p.m. ET, and there was a flurry of activity that will shape the balance of power in the league for many years to come.
Several superstars changed teams, creating a wide open 2019-20 NBA title race that should produce lots of compelling drama. As of Monday morning, more than $3 billion in new contracts had been agreed to.

Let’s take a look at the early winners and losers from NBA free agency.


Winner: Philadelphia 76ers, Al Horford

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Additions:
–Tobias Harris (five years, $180M)
–Al Horford (four years, $109M)
–Josh Richardson (sign-and-trade)

Departures:
–J.J. Redick
–Jimmy Butler

The 76ers kept Harris and signed one of the best defensive and 3-point shooting big men in the league in Horford. They also are expected to add a solid young player in Richardson as part of a sign-and-trade with the Heat involving Butler. The Sixers are now the likely favorites in the Eastern Conference title race entering the 2019-20 campaign. Philly’s starting five of Ben Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford and Joel Embiid probably is the best in the league.


Loser: New York Knicks

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The Knicks took so much of a beating on social media and television for not being able to sign Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving that the team actually had to put out a press release explaining the situation. After that, the Knicks agreed to contracts with role players such as Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock. These additions could prevent the Knicks from being the worst team in the NBA again and thus decreasing their chances of winning the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Sunday was a total disaster for the Knicks, and to make matters worse, Durant and Irving agreed to join New York’s cross-town rival, the Brooklyn Nets.

Ouch.


Winner: Utah Jazz

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The Jazz were bounced in the first of the playoffs this past season partly because second-year guard Donovan Mitchell was forced to shoulder too much of the burden offensively. Well, the Jazz went out and acquired star point guard Mike Conley in a trade before the draft, then agreed to sign Bojan Bogdanovic (four years, $73 million) and Ed Davis (two years, $10 million) in free agency Sunday. Utah’s depth has improved quite a bit, and it wouldn’t be shocking if they made a deep playoff run next season.


Loser: Charlotte Hornets

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Kemba Walker was the greatest player in Charlotte Hornets history (this iteration, of course), but they weren’t willing to pay him enough and he instead went to the Boston Celtics on a four-year max contract. The Hornets lost their franchise point guard for nothing and tried to make up for it by overpaying for Celtics backup Terry Rozier (three years, $58 million). If the Hornets weren’t willing to pay up (and/or go into the luxury tax) to keep Walker, they should have traded him before the deadline in February. This was horrendous asset management by Charlotte, a franchise likely doomed to a lengthy rebuild.


Winner: Brooklyn Nets

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Sunday was the greatest day in the history of the Brooklyn Nets. They agreed to four-year near-max contracts with superstar free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie irving, ensuring the Nets are the marquee basketball team in New York for the next couple of seasons. Durant isn’t likely to play until the 2020-21 season after suffering a ruptured Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, but the long-term outlook for the Nets is as bright as any team.


Loser: Orlando Magic

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Does anyone know what the Magic are trying to accomplish?

Overpaying to keep veteran center Nikola Vucevic (four years, $100 million) was bad enough, and then they agreed to an even worse contract with veteran role player Al-Farouq Aminu (three years, $29 million). Terrence Ross also re-signed with the Magic for four years and $54 million! Orlando is close to the luxury tax despite being nowhere near a legit contender in the Eastern Conference. We haven’t even talked about the team’s poor drafting over the last decade, including 2018 first-round Mo Bamba, who had a very poor rookie campaign.

The Magic better hope they earn a playoff spot next season because they’ve spent a ton of money for a roster with zero players with superstar potential.


Winner: Golden State Warriors

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The Warriors lost Kevin Durant to the Nets, but they were able to re-sign Klay Thompson (five years, $190 million) and acquire All-Star point guard D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade with Brooklyn. Russell, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green should help the Warriors stay near the top of the Western Conference while Thompson recovers from an ACL tear suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals. Golden State also was able to dump veteran forward Andre Iguodala’s contract on the Memphis Grizzlies.


Loser: Sacramento Kings

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The Kings exceeded expectations last season and contended for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Instead of preserving their salary cap space or spending it wisely, they wasted it on veterans such as Harrison Barnes (four years, $85 million), Trevor Ariza (two years, $25 million) and Dewayne Dedmon (three years, $40 million). Spending $150 million and not adding one established star to a very talented young core of De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles was a huge mistake.


Winner: Milwaukee Bucks

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Losing talented guard Malcolm Brogdon hurts, but the Bucks were smart not to pay the four-year, $85 million contract the Indiana Pacers offered him. Milwaukee did preserve its championship-caliber roster by agreeing to deals with guards Khris Middleton (five years, $178 million) and George Hill (three years, $29 million), as well as center Brook Lopez (four years, $52 million) to surround franchise cornerstone and reigning league MVP winner Giannis Antetokounmpo with enough talent. The Bucks had to maintain a quality roster in an effort to convince Antetokounmpo to re-sign in 2021 (or sooner).


Loser: Boston Celtics

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Replacing Kyrie Irving with Kemba Walker could be a plus for Boston. Walker isn’t as talented as Irving, but he’s a better leader and should create a stronger team chemistry than what we saw from the Celtics this past season.

Losing Al Horford really hurts, though. You could justify the C’s not paying Horford the four-year, $109 million contract he too from the 76ers, but losing him to a division rival such as Philly is a tough pill to swallow. Horford’s leadership, defense and 3-point shooting should make him a great fit on a Sixers team that likely will be the favorite to win the Eastern Conference next season.

Horford’s departure is made worse by the fact veteran center Aron Baynes also isn’t returning, leaving the Celtics with a frontcourt lacking both depth and experience. Boston reportedly has agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with veteran center Enes Kanter. He’s a great rebounder and can provide some inside scoring, but he’s a poor defender and won’t stretch the floor as a 3-point shooter.

The Celtics still have a really good roster, but they’ve definitely taken a step back to this point in free agency.

Source: nbcsports.com

This year it’s time for your team and your facilities, your premium sprung timber basketball court to get on the winners list. A premium Timber Sports Floor needs specialist care and attention. It’s a massive investment and the smartest thing to do is engage Nellakir, the industry’s leading experts in Timber Sports Flooring in Victoria and Tasmania – for regular professional expert cleaning and maintenance, annual maintenance (resurfacing, re-lining) and for the full construction and assembly of all Sprung Timber Sports Floors.

Call now on 03 9467 6126 to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation, or leave your details here for a prompt reply.

Nellakir – Sports Flooring for Champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Thurs 22nd and Sat 24th of August – Boomers Vs USA at Marvel Stadium – Don’t miss it!

It’s the Australian Boomers Vs USA Basketball. Two games – Thursday 22nd of August and Saturday the 24th of August. Tickets are still available now and for the general public in late July, but the games are nearly sold out.

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The games are ‘friendly’s’ as a build up to the FIBA World Cup to be played in China during August.

Australia has named a 17 man squad for the upcoming World Cup. With nine current NBA players, six from the NBL and two from Europe it promises to be a formidable team.

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Playing from the NBA for Australia will be:

  • Ben Simmons – Philadelphia 76ers
  • Jonah Bolden – Philadelphia 76ers
  • Aron Baynes – Boston Celtics
  • Matthew Dellavedova – Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Deng Adel – Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Joe Ingles – Utah Jazz
  • Patty Mills – San Antonio Spurs
  • Andrew Bogut – Golden State Warriors
  • Isaac Humphries – Atlanta Hawks
  • Mitch Creek – Minnesota Timberwolves

The USA squad has yet to be announced.

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Basketball has been played in Australia for over a century. The first recorded game was played in Adelaide between OBI (Our Boys Institute) and YMCA in 1897, six years after the sport was ‘invented’ The early development of the game was originally in Adelaide and its surrounding suburbs, unlike most other sports which saw establishment in and around Melbourne. The sport quickly spread nationally. The first recorded game in Melbourne was played at the YMCA in 1905.

Over 161,200 people play basketball in Australia. With Australian Sports Commission and Government (State and Federal) promoting the game, this number will increase exponentially over time. About 3/4 of all participants are under 35 years of age.

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It’s not surprising that each game scheduled for the Boomers Vs USA will carry capacity audiences at Marvel Stadium of over 50,000 people. It’s a game with relatively similar gender preference for the game. Males lead in participation (58.5%) but this is gradually heading in a 50/50 direction.

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If you play basketball, you may find that these days you’re almost certainly playing on proper Timber Sports Flooring. With more and more Sprung Timber Sports Flooring being supplied to joint school/community facilities, the improved playing surfaces are resulting in a much higher quality of competition.

To ensure your playing surface is always offered in premium condition, contact Nellakir for pre and post event court cleaning, regular scheduled cleaning and annual cyclical maintenance (resurfacing and line marking).

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Nellakir are the leading experts in the construction and maintenance of Timber Sports Flooring. Using the ASF/Horner Sports Flooring Systems exclusively, Nellakir provide excellent end to end service – Construction, Court Cleaning and Annual Maintenance. Call 03 9467 6126 now for a free no-obligation quotation and consultation on all your Timber Sports Flooring requirements. Or leave your details here for a prompt reply.

Nellakir – The Sports Flooring for Champions.

The perfect surface – every time.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

Nearly a clean sweep! Raptors take the title 4-2

For the first time a team from outside the US has taken the NBA Championships – the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors won the last game – game 6 – 114/110. So it was still a close result. But winners are grinners!

Ok so it wasn’t really close to a clean sweep, but a clean sweep is what you get when you decide to engage Nellakir for your regular maintenance on your premium Timber Sports Flooring.

Engage Victoria’s leading experts to ensure you provide the perfect playing surface for every game.

Nellakir are the leading experts in the Construction and Maintenance of all Timber Sports Flooring, using ASF/Horner timber flooring for all Timber Sports Flooring it constructs and installs. Ensure end to end service with the leading experts in the field – Nellakir.

For regular maintenance pre and post game or event, for annual maintenance including resurfacing and relining, call Nellakir on 03 9467 6126.

Schedule a free consultation and ensure your facility presents its Timber Sports Flooring in premium condition.

Meanwhile, here is a full report on the Raptors big win, the last game of the series and that title.

Toronto Raptors Win the NBA Championship

With a victory in Game 6, the Raptors dethrone the league’s reigning dynasty and claim the first title in franchise history

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OAKLAND, Calif.—Before the first NBA team outside the U.S. ever played a game, the new franchise in Toronto needed a name. The owners asked the entire nation of Canada for ideas. Some were good. Some were bad. Some were terrible. And one was the Raptors. It was 1994. “Jurassic Park” was big. That was reason enough for this basketball team to be named after dinosaurs.

Now the Toronto Raptors can be called something else: NBA champions.

The Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors, 114-110, in Game 6 of the Finals on Thursday to win the series, 4-2, with a commanding performance on the road in Oracle Arena’s last game to dethrone the league’s reigning dynasty and win the Raptors’ first title.

To hear “Toronto Raptors” and “NBA champions” in the same breath would’ve sounded like a hallucination to most fans for most of the franchise’s existence. This is the same team that once played in purple dinosaur uniforms. They couldn’t keep star players and couldn’t attract free agents. Toronto was too cold, too Canadian, too much unlike any other team in the league to compete at this level.

But now they have to declare the Larry O’Brien trophy at customs because of someone who has always been different himself.

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There is no one in the NBA like Kawhi Leonard. He is quieter than every other player. He is also better. And he just put together one of the greatest playoff runs in the history of the league.

But it wasn’t just him in a Game 6 that was both a classic and a fittingly insane send-off to this arena. Kyle Lowry scored 26 points. Pascal Siakam, who was studying to be a Catholic priest in Cameroon less than a decade ago, also scored 26 points. Fred VanVleet, an undrafted guard who is very generously listed at 6 feet tall, had 22 points and hit some of the biggest shots in the game.

Still, it was barely enough. The Warriors were the champions for a reason and they refused to go down without a fight. They didn’t have Kevin Durant, who ruptured his Achilles tendon in Game 5. Then they lost Klay Thompson, who was having a brilliant game when he went up for a dunk attempt in the third quarter and went down with a torn ACL. He tried to stay in the game anyway.

But after 47 minutes of pandemonium, there was one last minute of craziness and the Warriors had a shot that everyone in the Bay Area would’ve sold their houses for: a Stephen Curry 3-pointer for the win. “I just thought it was in,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “I always think every shot Steph takes is going in.”

This one didn’t. Curry missed. The Warriors called a timeout that they didn’t have. And the Raptors won the championship.

They are one of the strangest championship teams the NBA has ever seen. This is a team without a lottery pick but with a foundational superstar player who might be gone after just one season. It’s a team with a rookie coach who spent decades in the G League and Great Britain. It’s a team that took a long, winding road to get here and couldn’t be exactly sure where it was going.

But this is also a team that pursued a surprisingly rare strategy: the Raptors did everything in their power to win a championship this year.

Toronto’s season that ended in confetti began nearly a year ago in a hotel room in Kenya. That’s where Raptors President Masai Ujiri pulled the trigger on the trade that would change the future of his franchise.

His team was coming off the two winningest seasons in its history, but the Raptors kept crashing into a ceiling with an odd resemblance to LeBron James, and their city had become known by another name: LeBronto. Ujiri needed to make drastic changes. He’d already fired the league’s reigning coach of the year and hired Nick Nurse. Now it was time for him to get rid of the face of the franchise. By trading DeMar DeRozan for Leonard, the Raptors gambled on getting an even better player, and maybe even the best player in the world.

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It would be the most successful bet they ever made.

But first they had to make another one. Leonard was coming off a mysterious injury that sidelined him for most of last season, and nobody seemed to know what kind of player he would be when he returned. As if that weren’t enough uncertainty, Leonard was also in the final year of his contract, meaning the Raptors might not have enough time to find out.

That was plenty of incentive for them to prioritize Leonard’s health above everything. They needed to do everything in their power to make sure he peaked in the playoffs.

Under the care of Alex McKechnie, a Scottish sports scientist with a shock of white hair, the Raptors crafted a radical plan for their star player: They played him less. He only played in 60 of 82 games and didn’t play on consecutive days all season. But it worked. By pacing him in the regular season, they positioned him to be incredible in the postseason.

He was. But he also needed to be.

The Raptors were down 1-0 to the Orlando Magic in the first round and 2-1 to the 76ers the next round in front of a crowd of polite, exceedingly civil Philadelphians. They required a buzzer-beating shot from Leonard to bounce four times to win Game 7 of that series, and their reward was a matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the NBA’s best record and likely Most Valuable Player. This time they were down 2-0 before ripping off four straight wins to get to the Finals.

And then the Raptors had to play the Warriors.

NBA teams tend to live unhappily ever after once that happens. The Warriors were chasing a three-peat and their fourth title in five years. They were two more wins away from a place among the game’s all-time great dynasties.

By the time they crossed the border, though, they were no longer capable of their particular brand of basketball terror. Durant missed four games with a calf injury and then went out in Game 5—a devastating blow that cast a pall on the series and changed the complexity of the entire league.

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It slowly became clear over the course of the series that the Raptors were simply better than a team making its bid to be one of the best ever.

This was Ujiri’s vision. He urged Toronto to believe in itself at the beginning of the season. He repeated that message after the Raptors won the Eastern Conference and what felt like the great misfortune of playing the Warriors.

“We came all this way to compete, and we want to win in Toronto,” Ujiri said. “And we will win in Toronto.”

Ujiri was right about so much this season. But he was wrong about that final prediction: they won in Oakland. And now it no longer sounds absurd to say the Raptors really are the NBA champions.

Source: wsj.com

So remember, provide the sports flooring that will produce the next Steve Curry – Timber Sports Flooring by Nellakir.

Sports Flooring for Champions.

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Nellakir helps young athletes reach their goals by providing the highest quality Sprung Timber Sports Floor playing surfaces.

A clean sweep with Nellakir, but Raptors Vs Warriors will go down to the wire.

Nellakir now offer regular court cleaning for all Timber Sports Flooring. Cut down on unnecessary wear and tear on your valuable sports floor surfaces. Nellakir offer expert service and advice on all Timber Sports Flooring – including regular cleaning, whether it’s weekly, pre event, post event or to you schedule. Call now on 03 9467 6126.

Meanwhile, the Raptors have struck back. Andrew Bogut injured in the third leaving an already decimated Warriors exposed. Here is the report.

Toronto has shot the lights out to blast the Warriors off their own court and steal back the NBA Finals with a 2-1 series lead.

The Raptors had six players score more than 10 points as they kept Golden State at arms length for almost the entire contest.

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They did it comfortably in the end with a 123-109 win to leave the Warriors’ dynasty on the brink. Toronto is now just two wins away from a first NBA championship.

An off-balance Fred VanVleet three-point dagger killed off the Warriors with 1.39mins remaining as the Raptors led 118-105.

Aussie Andrew Bogut played his biggest Playoffs game since returning to the Warriors earlier this year, putting up six points, seven rebounds and three assists while also proving to be a spark in defence.
Bogut’s nice left hook from the paint in the third quarter gave him a perfect three from three from the field at the time.

The move got ESPN analyst Jeff van Gundy a little too excited, with the American commentator getting mixed up between Sydney and Melbourne for Bogut’s first season back in the NBL.

“That was a flashback to Melbourne, where he was the MVP,” van Gundy said, clearly unaware the Victorian played for the Sydney Kings this season.

Unfortunately, Bogut was forced to the locker room at the end of the third quarter after appearing to suffer an injury. He returned to the game mid-way through the final quarter — but by then the game was all but over.

The Warriors closed to within seven points in the fourth quarter, but Toronto always found the bucket needed to stomp out any hope of a Golden State fightback.

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The home side simply had no answer to the Raptors’ superior shooting. The Raptors hit 17 or 38 from down town, while the Warriors hit 12 of 36. Without Steph Curry’s extraordinary haul of 47 points, the Raptors shot just six of 22 from beyond the arc.

Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 30 points, but Pascal Siakam (18 points), Marc Gasol (17), Danny Green (18) and Kyle Lowry (23) all had big moments.

The Warriors are now desperately hoping stars Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant will be able to return from injuries ahead of Game 4 on Saturday (AEST).

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said before the game it would be a game-time decision about injured shooter Klay Thompson, with the major concern being the possibility of the 29-year-old guard doing more damage to the hamstring if he played with the best-of-seven final level at 1-1.

“Our training staff will let us know the risk,” Kerr said before the decision was announced.

“It’s still early in the series, so if there’s risk, then we won’t play him.”

Thompson, a five-time NBA All-Star, had never missed a playoff game in his career, a streak of 120 in a row that ended with him being benched.

The only player with a longer active streak of playoff appearances for his team is Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James at 239.

Thompson was put onto the active roster and warmed up with his teammates before being benched.

Kevin Durant, Golden State’s top playoff scorer with 34.2 points a game, was ruled out of game three on Tuesday.

The 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player has been out for nearly a month with a right calf injury, the Warriors going 6-1 without him.

Kerr said Durant has had good workouts the past two days and he hopes to put him in scrimmage situations on Thursday with an eye to game four on Friday.

“He’s got to continue to improve and not have any setbacks,” Kerr said.

“That’s the main thing.”

Source: news.com.au

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The Playoffs – All squared up 3/3. Ben Simmonds finds his mojo

It looked like it was ‘all over red rover’ for the Philadelphia 76s in game 6 against the Toronto Raptors – Toronto was up 3 games to 2. Ben Simmonds, the Aussie reigning rookie of the year was in the doghouse – then this!

Philadelphia 76s 112, Toronto Raptors 101.

Now the playoff is squared at 3/3.

All five 76ers starters scored in double figures, including Jimmy Butler (25 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals), Ben Simmons (21 points, eight rebounds and six assists), Joel Embiid (17 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and a plus-minus of plus-40) and Tobias Harris (16 points, nine rebounds and five assists).

Ben Simmons answers the call as desperate Sixers defeat Raptors to force Game 7

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A Ben Simmons who plays downhill is one who makes the Philadelphia 76ers a contender.

Entering Game 6, there were questions, and rightfully so. How can the reigning Rookie of the Year make an impact against a team that was so expertly scheming him out of the game?

His answer began with an authoritative start, controlling the pace of the game, en route to 21 points, eight rebounds, and six assists; the Australian leading his 76ers to a 112-101 win against the Toronto Raptors.

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“I think it was making a point of actually doing it, and not talking about it,” Simmons said of his aggressive start. “Obviously I’m pretty quick, so I’m able to push the ball, just being aggressive downhill and playing my game.

It’s moreso, for me, just going out there and doing everything I can to win. The end result’s gonna be the end’s result. Everyone had that same mentality. I think it was just going out there and playing hard, and not regretting anything.”

With the win, the 76ers kept their postseason alive by tying the Eastern Conference semi-finals series at 3-3, forcing a decisive Game 7 is set for a tip-off on Monday (AEST) in Toronto.

Entering Friday’s game, Simmons had yet to make his mark in the second round of these NBA Playoffs. The 22-year-old was averaging just 9.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists a game, while being tasked with defending Kawhi Leonard, who’s convincingly making his case as a top-3 player in the world.

Instead of folding, Simmons answered the call. He was aggressive from the tip, playing like the point guard of a team with their backs on the wall. By the end of the first quarter, he had eight points and five assists, having asserted himself in a way we hadn’t seen all series.

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“He was our bell ringer tonight,” 76ers head coach, Brett Brown, said of Simmons.

“His no-turnovers, his attack mode, his four offensive rebounds. His push in pace on miss shots especially. All those things were what made him be an NBA All-Star at 22 years old. I thought he was excellent tonight, and we needed it all.”

By the half, the 76ers were up 58-43, and that lead extended even more by the end of the third.

Of course, it wasn’t just Simmons. Jimmy Butler played a significant role in the first half, ultimately finishing with 25 points and eight assists, while Joel Embiid’s relatively poor shooting night — 5-of-14 from the field — was irrelevant because of his dominant defensive performance; the centre finishing with an impressive +40.

Once again, it was Leonard who led the way for the Raptors — posting 29 points and 12 rebounds in his team’s loss — but the 76ers’ stifling defence made it difficult for his teammates to get going.

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After the game Raptors head coach Nick Nurse praised Simmons for breaking out of his recent slump, and making an impact on both ends of the floor.

“I think our poor shooting got him out in the open a lot. I think he was certainly aggressive,” Nurse said.

“Give him credit. I thought he made a lot more straight line, non-hesitant moves tonight. When he decided to go, he decided to go and he wasn’t thinking about passing. He was taking to the rim and we weren’t providing enough helps down there. And he hurt us on the glass early. We had a couple of good defensive possessions and then his big arms and hands came up and tipped them in.”

Simmons credited his teammates for his ability to play downhill: “Spacing,” he said. “Guys being in their spots, where they need to be, also allowed me to do that. Just me having that mindset of getting downhill, making plays.”

The series has gone back and forth, to the point where it’s tough to point to who’ll end up booking a spot in the conference finals. Both teams have shown the ability to dominate the other; it seems to just come down to what iteration of each roster shows up on any given night.

Source: foxsports.com.au

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