Your midday sports snack.
• Sports Illustrated has released its medal picks for all 102 Olympic events. Congratulations to Canadian ski-cross racer Georgia Simmerling, SI’s pick for the bronze medal despite the two broken legs she sustained in a race in January. A commenter on Twitter pointed out that SI also has a medal going to Russian Denis Yuskov in the 1,500-metre speed skating event, even though Yuskov did not pass the IOC’s vetting to earn an invitation to the Games. At last check, the magazine had yet to alter the piece online.
• In odds released this afternoon, Bodog is making the Olympic Athletes from Russia the even-money favourite to win the men’s hockey gold medal, with Canada and Sweden at 9-2. On the women’s side, the U.S. is the slight 10-13 favourite over Canada at 14-10.
• DeAndre Jordan, Marcin Gortat, Tyreke Evans and Marcus Smart are all semi-notable names said to be coveted ahead of tomorrow afternoon’s NBA trade deadline, but the biggest deal so far today involves Willy Hernangomez, the second-year centre the Knicks are trading to Charlotte for two second-round picks and Johnny O’Bryant. Hernangomez made the All-Rookie team last year, but has only played nine minutes a game this year behind Enes Kanter, whom New York acquired from Oklahoma City in September.
• Troublingly for the Knicks, the Hernangomez deal came on the same day Kristaps Porzingis was ruled out for the rest of the season with a torn left ACL, which he suffered in a fall last night against the Bucks. The seven-foot-three Latvian forward received an All-Star nod this season, his third in the NBA, and had been averaging 22.7 points and a league-leading 2.4 blocks per game. The Knicks are currently five games out of the playoffs at 23-32; Porzingis’ injury could dash their hopes of losing to the Raptors or Celtics in the first round.
• Now that Josh McDaniels has spurned the Colts to stay on as the Patriots’ offensive co-ordinator, the franchises’ dormant rivalry is officially “back on,” Indianapolis GM Chris Ballard told reporters today. McDaniels accepted an offer yesterday to succeed Chuck Pagano as head coach before backing out of the deal hours later.McDaniels has already lost one relationship over his waffling: Agent Bob LaMonte, who also represents Ballard, has dropped him as a client, reports ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
Even if Ballard’s words prove true, the rivalry, as it stands, is pretty lopsided: New England finished 13-3 and made it to the Super Bowl this season, while the Colts went 4-12 and missed the playoffs for a third straight year. The Colts, of course, were New England’s opponent in the AFC Championship game following the 2014 season that launched the Deflategate saga.
• The suspected drunk driver who police say struck and killed Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver near Indianapolis last weekend was formally charged with causing death while driving intoxicated today. Prosecutors also charged Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, with leaving the scene of an accident. Court documents allege Orrego-Savala was driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.19 per cent when he hit Jackson, 26, and 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe with his pickup truck along Interstate 70 around 4 a.m. on Sunday.
The Raptors destroyed the Celtics on Tuesday 111-91, their seventh 20-point victory of the season.
That seems like a lot. Is it? Below is a chart of the Raptors seasons showing the number of 20-point wins and the percentage of such games in that season.
The 2007-08 Raptors were a .500 team, yet managed the club record for 20-point blowouts. They went on a crazy streak in 2008 between Jan. 16 and March 19 in which they blew out nine opponents by 20 or more points in a span of 30 games.
That Raptors team beat up on Miami three times, Minnesota twice, and Sacramento, Milwaukee, Washington and New York once apiece in that span. They also had an 18-point win over New Jersey and a 17-point win over Orlando in that stretch.
The largest margin was the last of the group of nine, a 96-54 defeat of the Heat. Yet despite all the blowouts, the Raptors started that 30-game stretch two games over .500 (20-18) and finished it in the same spot (35-33).
The impetus for those blowouts was defence, or perhaps their opponents’ ineptitude. The Raptors averaged 109 points in those games and allowed only 79. Four of those teams they destroyed failed to win 30 games that season: Miami only had 15 wins, Minnesota had 22, the Knicks 23 and Milwaukee 26. Orlando was the only winning team they blew out.
This season, the Raptors’ seven 20-point blowouts represent 13 per cent of their 53 games played so far, second only to the 2007-08 team. Only one of this season’s blowouts has come on the road; the 2007-08 team had seven blowouts at home and five on the road. And the Raptors’ big wins this season haven’t all come against pansies like Atlanta and Brooklyn. Philadelphia, Cleveland, Portland and Boston are all playoff teams currently.
It seems more likely that lopsided scores will happen in the current environment of volume three-point shooting, where one hot-shooting team could run roughshod over a cold-shooting team. And maybe the Raptors still will eclipse the 2007-08 team’s mark.
Photos of the day
The first mixed doubles curling matches will be played today in Gangneung, but the rest of the world’s Olympians have a bit more time to get ready.
On the day competition begin, here are a few standout stories from our Olympic reporters in South Korea.
• Christie Blatchford visited the DMZ and found remnants, tangible and otherwise, from a war that stalled but never really ended.
• Steve Simmons previews the Goodbye Games, writing that Pyeongchang will be the last hurrah for a generation of Canadian stars.
• Scott Stinson spoke to freestyle skiing king Mikael Kingsbury, a man trying to fill the only void in his matchless resume.
• And Erin Valois has a guide to everything you should know about figure skating: Patrick Chan’s quest for redemption, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir’s pursuit of another gold, all the bizarrely nice things Evgeni Plushenko is saying, and more.
All times Eastern
6:30 p.m. Olympic Primetime CBC
7:30 p.m. NHL: Nashville at Toronto Sportsnet, TVAS
7:30 p.m. NBA: Houston at Miami SN One
8 p.m. NBA: Minnesota at Cleveland TSN1,3-5
10:30 p.m. NHL: Edmonton at Los Angeles SN West
10:30 p.m. NBA: San Antonio at Phoenix TSN1,3
5:55 a.m. Olympics: Curling, mixed doubles, Canada vs. U.S. TSN1,3-5
7:30 a.m. Olympics: Ski jumping, men’s qualifying Sportsnet
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