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Sunday, March 29, 2015

JLB ELECTRIC RECAP: PATS UP 2-0

Keith Hershmiller Photography
REGINA (CP) - Adam Brooks scored the winner at 6:34 of the third period as the Pats took a 2-0 series lead by edging Swift Current 3-2 Saturday in their first-round playoff series.

Taylor Cooper and Jesse Gabrielle had goals in the first period for Regina.

Brett Lernout and Tyler Steenbergen found the back of the net for the Broncos.

The Pats outshot the Broncos 40-31.  The attendance was 5377.

The series shifts to Swift Current, Sask., for Game 3 on Tuesday at 7:00 on 620 CKRM (Press Box Sports Bar Pregame Show at 6:35 pm).

TITAN AUTO SUNDAY SPORTS

The Regina Pat Canadians are SMAAAHL champions.  Owen Sillinger scored the winner in the third period as the Pat C's won 2-1 in North Battleford Saturday evening, capturing the provincial midget hockey championship in a four game series.  Regina now moves on to the regionals with a trip to the Telus Cup in Quebec on the line.

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A second-straight loss for the Canucks. John Klingberg had the OT winner as the Dallas Stars rallied to beat Vancouver 4-3. Patrick Eaves and Tyler Seguin scored in the third for Dallas. The Stars trailed 2-1 going into the period. Radim Vrbata forced overtime for Vancouver.

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Playoff implications were on the line for a pair of Canadian NHL teams tonight. The Montreal Canadiens clinched a post-season berth with a 3-2 overtime win over the Florida Panthers. Max Pacioretty had the winner. The Ottawa Senators, however, are faltering. They fell 4-3 to the Toronto Maple Leafs in OT. After the loss and Boston's win earlier in the day, the Sens are out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

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An impressive debut for Robert Earnshaw. He scored in the 90th minute for the Vancouver Whitecaps as they opened their defence of the Cascadia Cup by edging rival Portland 2-1. Earnshaw was subbed into the match in the 86th. In Montreal, the Impact played to a 2-2 draw with Orlando City. Ignacio Piatti and Jack McInerney gave Montreal a two-goal lead before an Orlando City rally.

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A third-straight win for the Portland Trail Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge had 32 points and 11 rebounds as they beat the Denver Nuggets 120-114. They are now six-and-a-half games up on second place Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division. Earlier, the Thunder fell 94-89 to Utah.

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A March Madness thriller. Number 1 Kentucky is still unbeaten after hanging on to a 68-66 win over Notre Dame in the NCAA's Midwest Regional final. Andrew Harrison made two free throws with six seconds remaining to help secure the win.

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A good start for Canada at the world men's curling championship in Halifax. Pat Simmons guided the Canadians to an exciting 11-10 win over American John Shuster in their opening game of the tournament. He took advantage of the hammer in the extra end and hit a daw to the button for the win.

(CP)

Friday, March 27, 2015

JLB ELECTRIC GAME RECAP: PATS UP 1-0

Keith Hershmiller Photography
REGINA -- The Regina Pats grabbed a 1-0 lead in their WHL Eastern Conference Final with Swift Current thanks to a 4-2 victory over the Broncos Friday night in the Brandt Centre.

The Broncos had the jump early, outshooting the Pats to the tune of 10-3 in the opening half of the first period and Glenn Gawdin gave the visitors a 1-0 lead just 2:01 into the contest.  However the Pats found their legs around the midway point of the opening frame and goals by Patrick D'Amico and a pair from Pavel Padakin gave Regina a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Swift Current made it a one goal game in the second period courtesy of an even strength goal by Jay Merkley at the 10:53 mark.

There was only one goal scored in the third period and it was an empty-netter by Pats captain Braden Christoffer with 18 seconds remaining to put the game on ice.

The Broncos outshot the Pats 37-33 overall but Regina goalie Daniel Wapple was named the game's #1 star after turning in a 35 save performance.  Swift Current's Landon Bow took the loss making 29 saves.

NOTES:  Regina was 0/1 on the powerplay and 1/1 killing penalties ... The attendance was 5361 ... Former Pats captain Chris Schlenker was one of the game's two referees.

The Pats will take a 1-0 lead into Game 2 of the first round series Saturday evening at 7:00 on 620 CKRM (Press Box Sports Bar Pregame Show at 6:35 pm).

DAYTONA HOMES FRIDAY RODSERVATIONS


1 - BUCK THE BRONCOS:  Well it's finally here.  The curtain rises on the 2015 WHL Playoffs in these parts tonight when the Regina Pats host the Swift Current Broncos in Game 1 of their WHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series (7:00 pm, 620 CKRM).  Much has been made, and said, about this series all week long once the Pats' first round opponent was determined Saturday night.

The records, the season series, and the top scorers have all been bantied about at length but once the puck goes down tonight in the Brandt Centre, none of that will matter.  However as SportsCage junior hockey analyst Kelly Remple pointed out on Thursday, the Pats are statistically the much better 5-on-5 team while the Broncos have the edge in special teams.  Other than that, there's not much to choose between the two squads.

The series really is a pick 'em but I'll stick with my prediction of Regina in six.  Saskatoon Blades broadcaster Les Lazurak predicted on the SportsCage last night that it'll be Swift Current who emerges from a six game series.  Time will tell.

We'll be broadcasting the SportsCage live from the Brandt Centre Friday with special guests Dave Struch of the Pats and Jamie Heward of the Broncos.  But don't worry football fans -- we'll have plenty of pigskin talk too with co-host Scott Schultz.

The gamesmanship of this series began on Monday when Broncos assistant coach Jamie Heward was asked to leave the Brandt Centre after witnessing a portion of Pats practice.  In typical "Hewie" fashion, he said he was simply in the rink looking for his son's lost shinpad and didn't realize his presence was a no-no.

We asked Broncos Coach & GM Mark Lamb about it on the SportsCage on Wednesday and he said with a chuckle, "As an employee of the Broncos, Jamie shouldn't have been in there."

I thought perhaps the story would gain some legs in the local media but it died as quickly as it arose.

We've tried our best to whip up interest in the series but it's been tough sledding.  As of 5:00 pm Thursday there were 4400 tickets sold for Game 1 and 4100 sold for Game 2.  That's not bad, but there's still a long ways to go to hit a sellout.

I also hope tonight - since it's a special occasion - that the Pats play the GameChangers video before the Pats' introduction.  They've only showed it twice since the unveiling of the new clock but it's moving, stirring and inspirational.  Perfect for the playoffs!

2 - THE HISTORY:  The Pats and Broncos have only met a handful of times over the years in the WHL Playoffs but one of the most storied series was the 1974 semifinal which the Pats claimed in six games.  The series was notable because Broncos tough guy Dave "Tiger" Williams infamously climbed out of the penalty box and into the Regina Exhibition Stadium stands to start swinging his stick at Pats fans.  The accompanying assault charge remains on Tiger's record to this day but as he revealed to me a couple of years ago, Pats fans actually instigated the situation by throwing peppermint mints at Tiger in the penalty box.  And thus began the time-honoured tradition of Regina fans being blamed for everything.

3 - THE PEST:  Regina forward Jesse Gabrielle led all Pats scorers against Swift Current with seven points in seven games, according to WHL stats.  Did they actually meet seven times after the trade deadline?  No matter.  Gabrielle figures to be a major factor in this series and the Moosomin, SK product was a hot topic all week long.  I was vocal in my criticism of Gabrielle's recent play because he seemed more concerned with his "agitator" role rather than filling the net, of which he's more-than-capable of doing.  Someone compared him to Boston Bruins pest Brad Marchand but, to me, that couldn't be further from the truth.  For now.

Gabrielle is a dazzling hockey player and seems to be just scratching the surface of his potential.  However he can't reach it from the penalty box, serving 10-minute misconducts.  However Pats coach John Paddock told the SportsCage this week he'd rather have Gabrielle taking "10's" than "2's".  Far be it for me to question the WHL's Eastern Conference Coach of the Year who's proven to be worth every penny the new Pats owners spent to lure him here.  However my comments seemed to have reached Gabrielle, who told reporters this week there's a method to his madness.  Hey, I'd rather fire up the Pats than fire up the Broncos.

4 - HAIL TO THE KINGS:  The Memorial Cup champion Edmonton Oil Kings got everyone's attention by going into Brandon and upsetting the Wheat Kings 4-1 Thursday night in Game 1 of their first round WHL series.  I caught a bit of the Edmonton radio broadcast and was quite impressed with the play-by-play call of Corey Graham, however found it somewhat confusing when he said, "And the Kings are up 1-0!"  Both teams are the Kings!

Brandon will go on to win this series, but Thursday was a wake-up call and coach Kelly McCrimmon probably didn't sleep too well after the game.  Remember the Pats-Warriors series a few years back when Regina won Game 1 handily at Mosaic Place only to lose the next four straight?  The same could happen here but kudos to Oil Kings coach Steve Hamilton who talked the talk before the series and then saw his players walk the walk in Game 1.

Incidentally the crowd in Brandon last night was a paltry 3086.

5 - THE PAT C'S:  This city seems to have sat up and noticed the impressive run of the Midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians.  The Cooperators Centre was sold out for Wednesday's 3-0 victory over the Battlefords Stars which gave Regina a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five provincial final.  Al Dumba and I had the distinct pleasure of broadcasting the game province-wide on Access and, judging by the reaction, the game had plenty of viewers.  I even received a nice email from Stars coach Martin Smith complimenting us on our non-biased commentary.  What a change!

Game 4 goes Saturday night in North Battleford and if necessary, the fifth and deciding game will go Sunday at 7:30 pm in Regina.  Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to call the final game if it comes to fruition.

6 - THAT'S JUST SILLY:  Regina Pats great Mike Sillinger's son Owen is the captain of the Regina Pat Canadians and is the league's leading scorer.  It's infinitely head-scratching to me that Owen hasn't been able to find a home in the WHL.  We've been following his career closely and after being drafted by the Vancouver Giants, traded to the Saskatoon Blades, then dropped, invited to Regina Pats camp but not offered a spot, his WHL rights have finally been picked up by the Portland Winterhawks.

The knock on Owen Sillinger has always been his size but in Wednesday's Game 3 he threw his weight around and generated a ton of scoring chances.  He was great on draws and he always finds a way to sneak onto the scoresheet in some capacity.

Besides, no one hits in the WHL anymore and fights are as rare as a $3 bill. It would seem Sillinger is ideal for this new phase of the league.

It would be a glowing marketing opportunity to have Owen play for the Pats given the fact his father is the franchise's second all-time leading scorer.  However it would be an insult to the kid to add him for that reason.  Are the Pats fearful of the perception of nepotism?

Perhaps, in the final analysis, as Kelly Remple said off-air on Thursday, "Maybe he's just not good enough to play in the WHL?"

The story is still being written.

7 - CFL RULE CHANGES:  Early Thursday evening the CFL sent out a news release detailing its list of proposed rule changes for the 2015 season.  The full list appears in the post below this one.

It'll take some time to digest the inventory of changes because some of them are quite radical, including moving the single point convert from 12 yards to 32 yards.  CFL GMs are also proposing two point convert attempts be scrimmaged from the three yard line rather than the five.

They're tinkering with the no yards rule, illegal kickoffs, challenging offensive pass interference and many more.

All I can think of is what American viewers will think when they tune into CFL broadcasts down south.  They're still confused by the rouge so what will they think now?  And special teams coaches better get a raise because they'll be in round-the-clock classroom sessions with players getting everyone up to speed.

A lot of this is unsettling to me.  It seems the league is going a little overboard in an effort to increase scoring and open up the game.  Perhaps they should've released this proposal on April 1.  Granted scoring was way down in 2014 but are we throwing the baby out with the bathwater?  I tend to agree with former CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon who surmised the 2014 CFL season was more of a phase than a trend.

And I've never been a fan of knee-jerk reactions.

TSN's Duane Forde clearly isn't a fan of the proposed changes.  Forde wrote on Twitter this morning: @DuaneFordeTSN: Dear #CFL Rules Committee, Vince McMahon called. He said, "Great job on 'fixing' the game." #sarcasm

8 - BACK TO SCHOOL:  CFL great Joe Paopao is going back to the university football ranks.  The Vancouver Province reported Thursday that Paopao has joined Kelly Bates' SFU Clan football staff as offensive coordinator.  The "Throwin' Samoan" spent 11 seasons as a quarterback in the CFL and now has 25 seasons as a coach under his belt including seven years at Waterloo in the CIS.  He's also been the head coach or an assistant with five CFL teams.  Perhaps just as importantly, Joe is regarded as an all-around great guy.

9 - FREE WILLY:  That's what Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Drew Willy is saying as far as his contract is concerned.  News out of Winnipeg suggests the former Rider pivot wants his current contract negotiated to put him up in the salary stratosphere with the likes of Darian Durant, Ricky Ray and Henry Burris.  One problem: all of those guys have won a Grey Cup.  In the CFL, quarterbacks are generally paid according to their resume, not their potential and as much as I really like Drew, he hasn't done anything.  Willy has one year left on his current deal and judging by what I've read, he could hold out to start the season.  That got me to-thinking, who's the last big name CFL player to hold out due to contract demands?  For some reason the names of Charles Roberts and Mike Pringle come to mind but I can't remember anything specific.  Incidentally those two are in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

10 - UNFINISHED BUSINESS:  We finish today's column with a movie review!  Last night we took in Vince Vaughn's latest flick Unfinished Business at Southland Cinemas.  We're going to have to give it one thumb up.  Usually Vaughn's movies are a slam dunk but this one leaves you wanting more.  The storyline isn't too deep - which is great for me - but it ventures into the 'goofy' side a little too often for my liking.  I would suggest it's a renter.

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THAT'S ALL! TALK TO YOU FROM THE BRANDT CENTRE AT 4 PM
RP
@sportscage
Instagram: ridervoice

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2015 CFL RULE CHANGES

TORONTO -- The convert would be less automatic, receivers would have more space, and the game would speed up.

Those are the projected outcomes if rules changes proposed Thursday by the Canadian Football League's Rules Committee are approved later this Spring by its Board of Governors.

"We have sought to be innovative while protecting the integrity of the game with a focus on player safety," said Glen Johnson, the CFL's Vice-President of Officiating and its representative on the Rules Committee.

"We believe we are recommending to our Board of Governors responsible ways to improve the tempo and flow of the game, reduce the number of stoppages including penalties, increase opportunities for scoring and excitement, and simplify our rules."

The Rules Committee is recommending modifying the convert that follows a touchdown.

A kick for a single point, which now comes from the 12-yard line, would come instead from the 32-yard line.

Last year, 99.4 per cent of kicks for a single point following a touchdown were successful. For field goal attempts from between 31 and 33 yards, 81 per cent were successful.

In fact, there have only been 24 converts missed in 15 seasons, a frequency of just once in every 232 attempts or 47 games.

Under the proposal, a kicked convert that is wide would remain live and can be run back for a two-point score.

If a team opts to run or pass the ball into the end zone for a two point convert following a touchdown, the ball would be scrimmaged from the three-yard line, instead of the current five-yard line, which may entice more coaches to "go for two".

Last year, there were only 23 two-point convert attempts, and seven, or 30 per cent, were successful.

The Governors also have the option of choosing to test a more radical approach during pre-season games: a convert worth three points when a team chooses to run or pass the ball over the goal line from the ten-yard-line.

To open up the passing game, the Rules Committee is suggesting a change designed to create more room for the offence.

It would allow a defensive player to contact a receiver that is in front of him within five yards of the line of scrimmage, but would not allow either player to create or initiate contact that impedes or redirects an opponent beyond five yards.

The Rules Committee recommends that on a punt play, when the ball bounces on the ground and a five yard no yards penalty is called, the penalty will automatically be added to the end of the return, or from the point the ball was first touched by the return team, whichever is better.

Currently, the receiving team has to choose between the five-yard penalty or the yards gained on the return.
It is believed that making the penalty more punitive may reduce the number of no yards penalties.

To increase the tempo of the game, the Rules Committee suggests that at any time in the game the offence be allowed to signal to the Referee that it doesn't want to substitute and it wants to use a tempo offence.

The officials would then blow the play in immediately upon the ball and yardsticks being set for play.

This new protocol will be combined with a rule change made last year - which meant the offence no longer had to wait for the defense to substitute before initiating a play if the offence had not substituted.

Together, the changes create an opportunity for the offence to dictate the pace of the game.

On punts, the Rules Committee recommends prohibiting the five interior linemen on the kicking team from leaving the line of scrimmage until the ball is kicked.

This should reduce the number of illegal blocking and perhaps no yards penalties, while increasing the amount of room the receiving team has to set up a return.

There would be a ten-yard penalty for violating this proposed new rule.

Also to improve game flow, the Rules Committee wants to remove the ability of a coach to request a measurement, leaving it to the Referee to measure when he is unsure if a first down has been made or not.

The Rules Committee recommends maintaining the ability for a coach to challenge Defensive Pass Interference, an innovation introduced last year. But it goes one step further this year, suggesting that Offensive Pass Interference also be made subject to video review.

It also recommends no longer giving the receiving team the option of demanding that a team kick again after one of its kick offs goes out of bounds. The receiving team will either take the ball where it went out of bounds, or at a point 30 yards in advance of where the ball was kicked off, whichever is better.

"Our governors are charged with the special responsibility of ensuring our product is fast and exciting for our fans and we treat our great game and players with the utmost respect," Johnson said.

"The changes we're putting forward for their consideration represent our best advice in meeting these objectives."

The Rules Committee includes several CFL coaches and general managers as well as representatives of the CFL, CFL Players' Association and CFL Officials.

All of its recommendations are subject to review and approval by the CFL's Board of Governors.

PATS VS BRONCOS SERIES PREVIEW

Keith Hershmiller Photography
REGINA PATS vs SWIFT CURRENT BRONCOS
2014-15 regular season record 
Regina: 37-24-5-6, 85pts (L10: 4-4-0-2)
Swift Current: 34-33-1-4, 73pts (L10: 4-6-0-0)

2014-15 head-to-head record
Regina: 3-5-0-0, 6pts
Swift Current: 5-2-0-1, 11pts

2014-15 head-to-head top scorers
Regina:
Jesse Gabrielle 7gp-3g-4a-7pts
Adam Brooks 7gp-3g-1a-4pts

Swift Current: 
Jake DeBrusk 8gp-5g-7a-12pts
Colby Cave 8gp-7g-3a-10pts

The Regina Pats come into the WHL Playoffs as the second seed in the East Division and finished with 85 points for the second straight year. Led by Adam Brooks’ 30 goals, the Pats boasted four players who topped the 25-goal mark and another four who hit the 20-goal plateau. Pats’ defenceman Colby Williams is coming off a productive season that saw him collect 41 points (11g-30a) to go along with a team-best plus-45 rating. Rookie Sam Steel enjoyed a fine season with the Pats scoring 54 points (17g-37a) in 61 games to finish fourth in WHL scoring amongst rookies. Goaltender Daniel Wapple collected 29 wins, posted a 3.03 goals against average along with a .906 save percentage and will likely get the start in the post-season.

The Swift Current Broncos battled their way into the 2015 WHL Playoffs after winning their regular season finale. Broncos’ leading scorer, and NHL draft-eligible forward, Jake DeBrusk scored a team-leading 42 goals along with 39 assists for 81 points while playing in all 72 games this season. Colby Cave is the only Broncos skater who closed out the 2014-15 regular season with a plus rating in the plus-minus category. The Swift Current Broncos have an outstanding ability in closing out games as they posted a record of 25-0-0-1 when leading after two periods of play this season. Expect Team Canada gold medalist Dillon Heatherington to play the lead role on the Broncos blueline. Goaltender Landon Bow had a strong season, but will get his first taste of playoff hockey.

(WHL.ca)

PADDOCK NAMED EAST CONFERENCE COACH OF THE YEAR

The Western Hockey League announced its award nominees and conference all-star teams Wednesday afternoon.

Regina Pats Sr. VP of Hockey Operations and Head Coach John Paddock is the Eastern Conference nominee for the Dunc McCallum Memorial Trophy as the Coach of the Year.  Coach Paddock is up against Western Conference nominee Dan Lambert of the Kelowna Rockets for the award.  The winner will be announced May 6, 2015 at the WHL Awards Luncheon in Calgary, AB.

“I think (the nomination) means you have really good support around you,” said Paddock.  “I obviously have that in Dave (Struch) as far as knowledge, an excellent coach and expertise.  Everything we tried to sell the players was accepted willingly.  I think they were searching for that.”

John Paddock was hired by the team August 6, 2014 and guided the Blue and White to a 37-24-5-6 record on the season.  The 2014-15 regular season was Paddock’s first in junior hockey since he played for the Brandon Wheat Kings in 1973-74.

“As an organization, we are very pleased to see John receive this much deserved nomination,” commented Regina Pats President Todd Lumbard.  “He combines his vast experience with an open minded, modern day approach that translates into great leadership for our team!”

The Queen City Kids were represented on the Eastern Conference Second All-Star Team by defenceman Colby Williams.  The Regina native led Pats blue-liners with 41 points (11G, 30A) and finished second in the WHL with a +45 plus/minus rating.  Williams was named the Pats Player of the Year.

“We also congratulate Colby on a great season, both on and off the ice.  Colby took his game to another level and is a real force for our hockey club,” continued Lumbard.

The Pats open the WHL Playoffs on Friday, March 27 against the Swift Current Broncos at the Brandt Centre in a 7 p.m. puck drop.  Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.ca, the Brandt Centre Box Office and Regina Safeway locations.

PAT C'S UP 2-1

REGINA -- The Regina Pat Canadians are one win away from the Telus Cup Regionals.  Wednesday night at a soldout Cooperators Arena, Riley Woods scored twice including an empty-netter as the Pat C's defeated the Battlefords Stars 3-0.

In front of the stellar goaltending of Clarke Flegel who turned aside 29 shots to record the shutout, Regina led 1-0 after the first period on Woods' powerplay goal.  The teams blanked the second period but Regina's Arthur Miller gave his club some breathing room making it 2-0 with 3:51 remaining in the third when he converted a goal-mouth feed from linemate Bryce Platt.  Woods sealed the game into an empty net with less than a minute to go.

Regina can close out the best-of-five series with a win in North Battleford on Saturday night.  Game 5, if necessary, would go Sunday in the Cooperators Arena at 7:30 pm.

LIGHTNING SIGN WARRIORS' POINT

Moose Jaw Warriors Captain Brayden Point has signed a three year NHL entry-level contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning who selected him in the third round, 79th overall, in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Point completed his third WHL season with the Warriors, he scored a career high 38 goals and finished ninth in the WHL in scoring with 87 points.  
The Calgary product was selected 14thoverall by the Warriors in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft, in three years in Moose Jaw he has played in 204 regular season games and has 99 goal and 236 points, and ranks 10th all-time in team scoring.

This season Point played in both games for Team WHL in the Subway Super Series and went on to capture gold with Canada at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.

Additionally, Point has signed an AHL amateur tryout contract to play the remainder of the season with the Syracuse Crunch.

THURSDAY EYE-OPENER

Tyler Seguin scored the only goal of a shootout to lift the Dallas Stars to a 4-3 win over Calgary. Ales Hemsky scored twice in regulation for Stars, who won for the seventh time in eight games.

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The Edmonton Oilers beat Colorado 4-3 but they made things a lot harder than they had to be. Derek Roy scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period and Edmonton recovered the victory after giving up a three-goal lead. The Avalanche have lost three straight and are 10 points out of a playoff spot with nine games left.

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The Toronto Raptors continue to struggle, but they didn't need a win to clinch a playoff spot. Jimmy Butler led a Chicago comeback with 23 points as the Bulls handed the Raptors a 116-103 loss at Air Canada Centre. Toronto earned a spot in the post-season after Boston and Charlotte lost their respective games later in the night.

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Tony Parker had 21 points and six assists, and the San Antonio Spurs stopped Oklahoma City's four-game winning streak with a runaway 130-91 victory over the Thunder. Boris Diaw scored 19 points and Tim Duncan had 16 for San Antonio, which has won 11 of 13. Kawhi Leonard finished with 14 points in the Spurs' highest scoring game of the season.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers' recent dominance carried over to a trouncing of one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Kyrie Irving scored 24 points and Kevin Love added 22 points and 10 rebounds as Cleveland downed Memphis 111-89 for its fourth straight victory.

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Looking to cement a spot in the Toronto rotation, Daniel Norris allowed one run in six impressive innings as the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 on Wednesday.

Norris gave up three hits and struck out seven without walking a batter. It was Norris' second start against Baltimore. In his first, he allowed one hit in 1 2-3 innings.

The Orioles' run scored in the third when Norris hit Nolan Reimould with a pitch, and Caleb Joseph doubled.

Kevin Pillar, who missed 10 days with an oblique strain caused by sneezing, returned to the lineup, and hit a two-run homer for Toronto.

Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen gave up two runs, one of them earned, in five innings. He allowed four hits, struck out one and didn't walk a batter.

Delmon Young homered for Baltimore in the seventh.

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Third baseman Anthony Rendon may miss the Washington Nationals' opener against the New York Mets on April 6th because of a sprained left knee. Rendon hasn't played since March 9th. He hit .287 with 21 homers last year, when he led the National League with 111 runs and finished fifth in M-V-P voting.

(CP)