24 Years in the Making: The Toronto Raptors Advance to 1st NBA Finals in Franchise History

The Toronto Raptors are headed to the NBA Finals, a basketball success story Canadians have been waiting on for 24 seasons.

The Toronto Raptors made history Saturday night by becoming the first Canadian team to reach the NBA finals after dominating past the Milwaukee Bucks 100-94 in Game 6. 

Throughout the entire 2019 playoffs, Leonard has been sensational. With a game 7 buzzer-beater, seven 35-point games, a 45-point game, a 17-rebound game, a nine-assist game and a generally-relentless attitude on defense, in particular while defending Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Kyle Lowry, played through relentless pain of a sprained thumb, had 17 points and eight assists, and grabbed the game ball after the final buzzer.

“It’s taken a long time to get here in my career, 13 years, seven years here,” he said, his baseball cap reading “NBA Finals” pulled down over his head. “I’m going to savour the moment, but I’m not satisfied. Our goal is to win the NBA championship.”

Thousands of people took to the streets of Toronto in celebration of the Raptors’ historic Eastern Conference championship win. Crowds erupted outside of Scotiabank Arena.

Other images posted online showed fans lighting off fireworks in the streets, crowds closing off roads and even people climbing on top of TTC buses and trucks outside of Union Station.

As celebrations were underway, Toronto police sent out a tweet asking everyone to be “mindful, courteous and safe” and on Sunday morning, a police spokesperson confirmed to that no arrests were made during the celebrations.

Raptors ambassador Drake was courtside during the game, cheering on the team and wearing a sweater that read, “Kawhi me a river,” hyping up the crowd. Drake hugged Kawhi Leonard and gave coach Nick Nurse another epic shoulder rub to shut down the haters.

Toronto had an incredible comeback in the series to win four straight games after trailing 2–0 to the Bucks. They will open the NBA finals at home on Thursday night against six-time champions Golden State Warriors. Until then, embrace and enjoy this moment Canada.

The Shot. The Bounce. The Win. Kawhi Leonard’s Epic Game 7 Buzzer Beater

Kawhi Leonard is a Superstar. In his first season with the Raptors, Leonard single-handedly made the most memorable moment in Franchise history.

Leonard hit the first game-winning, buzzer-beating shot in the history of NBA playoff Game 7s. Leonard’s buzzer-beater dagger bounced off the rim four times before going down to beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 92-90. The Raptors are headed to the conference finals to play against Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks.

WATCH: Relive the EPIC shot heard world-wide.

Bucks Sweep Pistons: Blake Griffin Checks Out to Standing Ovation & MVP Chants

The Pistons season came to an end Monday night as the Milwaukee Bucks took Game 4 127-104 and swept the first-round series.

A playoff run was the goal for the Pistons, and last year, when they made a blockbuster trade that brought Blake Griffin and his five-year, $171.2 million contract to Detroit, they put everything on the line in an effort to get there.

The 2018-19 season was a return to form for Griffin. He averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 75 appearances for the Pistons. He also continued to show off his improved scoring range.

Entering this year, Griffin had 191 made three-pointers over his first nine seasons. He connected on 189 threes in 2018-19 alone and shot 36.2 percent from beyond the arc.

The way he reinvented his game should’ve led to a more glorious ending. Instead, the end result is a huge letdown, for him and Detroit. The Pistons never came close in this series, and Griffin wasn’t even able to play at full health, missing the first two games with a knee injury before playing through the pain in Game 3 and 4.

In true sports warrior fashion, Blake Griffin who fouled out near the closing of Game 4, received a standing ovation and MVP chants from the Pistons fans. He was visibly hurt and still played through the pain. In a league where players frequently rest due to load management, Griffin has won over every fan.

Amir Khan: “A win here would top everything”

Amir Khan says he will live out a dream in the “last chapter” of his career when he challenges Terence Crawford at New York’s Madison Square Garden, this Saturday (9 p.m. ET).

Amir Khan, one of boxing’s biggest names and an immensely talented fighter, is known for his speed and power as well as a crowd-pleasing style. Khan, who has never lost at welterweight, is an ideal opponent for Crawford, the Welterweight world titleholder and ESPN’s 2017 Fighter of the Year.

Crawford (34-0, 25 KO) is the big favorite against the talented Khan (33-4, 20 KO), who will be looking to shock the world against one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport today, a three-division titleholder in his prime.

To Khan, who never did get potential fights that were talked about with Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather, the bigger the risk, the greater reward.

“I wanted this fight because I wanted to fight the best,” Khan said. “Terence Crawford presented the greatest challenge to me at this point in my career…fighting Terence gives me the opportunity to show I am a pound-for-pound fighter.”

“I am confident I can win this fight because he has never fought anyone like me. I have power, speed and movement, and he has certainly never fought a welterweight like me. I’m not just another number on Crawford’s record.”

As for Crawford, who will be making his second title defense, he said he has one thing on his mind as he continues to make his case that it is he who should be viewed as boxing’s pound-for-pound No. 1.

“I’m just here to seek and destroy,” Crawford said.

Tiger Woods Wins the 2019 Masters: Reaction to one of the Greatest Comebacks in Sport

The most thrilling comeback in American sports history. Tiger Woods, at the age of 43, has won the 2019 Masters at Augusta for the first time since 2005.

The Augusta National Golf Club is where Tiger Woods, 22 years ago, first burst into the sports world, like no one we had seen before: golf’s first black superstar, a player who everyone figured would rewrite his sport’s record book. He won by a dozen strokes that day in 1997, as a 21-year-old, and that was just the beginning. By the time he was 32, Woods had won 14 major championships, even taking four in a row. He gave a fans a reason to stay in on Sundays, and watch men walk on grass and swing at a little white ball.

Fast forward to the making of an epic win, Woods and one of his playing partners in the final group, Francesco Molinari, would go shot for shot down the stretch. But on the 15th hole Molinari, last year’s British Open champion, hit a shot in the water, essentially knocking him out of the tournament. Woods stuck his tee shot on 16, giving him another birdie and more breathing room. Brooks Koepka — winner of three majors since 2017, and playing in the group ahead of Woods — could have cut Woods’ lead to a single stroke on 18, but he missed a make-able birdie putt. All Woods needed was a bogey 5 on 18 to clinch it.

Tiger had been inching towards his moment. He contended in the last two majors, which enabled him to refresh his memory of how to win one: stay calm, keep on and let the other guys make mistakes.

When he tapped in the winning putt, for his 15th career major, Woods screamed and flipped his club. He hugged his son Charlie and daughter Sam, who was about to turn one. Woods grew hoarse from all his cheering, and rightfully so, he refused to hide his emotions.

“I had serious doubts after what transpired a couple years ago,” Woods explained. “I could barely walk. I couldn’t sit, couldn’t lay down. I really couldn’t do much of anything. This is just unreal, to be honest with you. This has meant so much to me and my family, this tournament, and to have everyone here, it’s something I’ll never, ever forget.”

Twenty-three time Grand Slam tennis champion Serena Williams joined in to congratulate Woods on his victory.

I am literally in tears watching @TigerWoods this is Greatness like no other. Knowing all you have been through physically to come back and do what you just did today? Wow Congrats a million times! I am so inspired thank you buddy.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) April 14, 2019

Former LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant also sent his praise.

The victory is a major comeback for Woods who faced a series of setbacks in his personal and professional life. This inspiring win has shown the unique powers of redemption that sport offers to anybody willing to work hard enough for it.

Hockey Over Hate

WATCH: A young black boy’s love for hockey proves to be greater than the racism that exists in the rink.

Divyne Apollon is a 13-year-old black boy with a passion for hockey — a sport he loves, but one that has exposed him to the ugliness of racism. During his latest encounter with intolerance, Divyne and his team came together to battle against hatred, while getting a surprise from Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.

BY LONNAE O’NEALLOIS NAM April 5, 2019

March Madness 2019: Bracket updates and highlights from Sweet 16 Friday

The round of 16 has come and gone, and with it, the part of the NCAA tournament where we’re blessed with multiple games happening at the same time. But weep not, fellow hoop heads. The next two days and the three games that will follow those are all shaping up to be pretty stellar.

Before we get to that, let’s relive all of the best and worst from what wound up being a highly eventful Friday night of Sweet 16 play.

Best Game

(1) Duke 75, (4) Virginia Tech 73 (East)

The march to the Elite Eight was supposed to be the easy part for Duke. Instead, the Blue Devils have struggled for a half with a 16-seed, and the been pushed to the final shot by both Central Florida and Virginia Tech.

The Hokies, who won the regular season meeting between these two in late February, executed Buzz Williams’ game plan to near perfection. They out-toughed Duke in the paint, they rode the offensive brilliance of Kerry Blackshear and Justin Robinson, and they forced the Blue Devils into shooting 6-of-20 from three (five of those coming from one surprising source, but more on that later).

In the end, Virginia Tech came up inches short of getting five extra minutes to take down the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed.

Also, Zion Williamson did a bunch of unreal stuff that furthered my suspicion that he might be an alien, but you already knew that. The unreal stuff, not the alien stuff. Maybe both.

Team That Won It Best

Auburn

At some point in the last three weeks, Auburn transitioned out of nowhere from underachieving team destined for a first weekend exit, to the f—ing Playoff Warriors. The common thought heading into this weekend was that the Tigers would have to come back to earth at some point. Some point wasn’t Friday night.

Auburn rained 17 three-pointers on North Carolina and shot 54.5 percent from the field in a 97-80 thrashing of the top-seeded Tar Heels. The 17-point margin of victory was the largest ever by an SEC team over a No. 1 seed.

Just 18 months ago, Auburn was picked to finish ninth in the SEC and appeared to be on the verge of firing Bruce Pearl in the middle of the season. Now the Tigers are in the Elite Eight for just the second time in program history, and one win away from their first trip to the Final Four.

One piece of history that bodes well for Auburn: A regional final pitting a 2-seed against a 5-seed (which will be the case when the Tigers play Kentucky on Sunday) has only happened three times. The 5-seed has won all three of those games (Mississippi State over Cincinnati in 1996, Michigan State over Kentucky in 2005, and Butler over Kansas State in 2010).

A second piece of history that is less encouraging: Every seed line from 1-8 has produced at least one national champion, except for the 5-seed line. No. 5 seeds have made it to the national title game three times, but have never been able to be the last team standing.

Biggest Disappointment

North Carolina

I’d love to have the biggest disappointment come from a game other than the one we just discussed, but the Tar Heels being the first No. 1 seed to fall and doing so in an extremely graceless fashion make that impossible.

This was UNC’s most lopsided loss in the NCAA tournament since … well, since they lost to Texas A&M by 21 last season. So not that long ago. But it was still bad. Really bad.