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On to Game 7: Raptors survive Celtics in double OT thriller

The Canadian Press | posted Thursday, Sep 10th, 2020

The Toronto Raptors’ second-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics has come down to just one game.

But after a thriller that took double overtime to decide, Friday’s do-or-die Game 7 might come down to which team has the most left in the tank.

Kyle Lowry poured in 33 points, including a key fadeaway jumper in the dying seconds, and the Raptors edged the Celtics 125-122 in double overtime on Wednesday to even up the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals at three games apiece.

Friday’s winner will meet the Miami Heat in the conference finals.

Norman Powell had 23 points off the bench for the Raptors and was outstanding in overtime. Fred VanVleet added 21 points in Toronto’s most balanced attack of the series. OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka, who’d been questionable after spraining his ankle in Game 5, each finished with 13 points, while Pascal Siakam chipped in with 12.

Jaylen Brown led Boston with 31 points, while Jayson Tatum added 29.

The Raptors’ cold shooting down the stretch of regulation forced overtime with a 98-98 score.

Walker and Norman Powell traded three-pointers in the nail biting first extra period. A pair of Powell free throws gave Toronto a two-point cushion before Brown had two free throws to even the score at 106-106 with 18.9 seconds on the clock. Powell missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, forcing a second overtime.

Dunks by Tatum and Daniel Theis had Boston up by four when Lowry muscled to the basket to slice the difference to two. A crazy sequence that started with a Lowry steal finished with a pair of Powell free throws to even it up with 2:33 to play.

Anunoby connected from three, then Powell had a steal and a running layup to give Toronto four points of breathing room with 38.8 seconds left. Tatum scored, but Lowry replied with a spectacular fadeaway with 11.7 seconds on the clock. Tatum drilled a three, but Powell’s free throws with five seconds left secured the victory.

The Raptors trailed by more than 12 points in the first half, but their offence finally started rolling in the third quarter sparked by Gasol. The Spanish big man, who’d shaved his shaggy hair before the game, blocked Tatum, then knocked down consecutive three-pointers – his first points from behind the arc in the series.

VanVleet’s personal 9-0 run – three free throws after a Flagrant 1 foul against Marcus Smart, then consecutive three-pointers – gave the Raptors their first lead since the 1-0 to start the game. Toronto would lead by as many as eight before taking a 81-77 edge into the fourth quarter.

Boston regained the lead after Tatum made a three with 8:22 to play, but Lowry replied with two buckets from long range and Toronto was back up by five.

The Raptors didn’t score over the final 4:24 of regulation, and Theis scored on a layup and dunk to tie the game at 98-98 with two minutes to go. The Raptors’ defence held strong over the final two minutes, and Anunoby hauled down a huge defensive rebound with 2.6 seconds left. Siakam’s miss at the buzzer sent the game to OT.

Gasol’s emergence – finally – was a great sign for Toronto. He and Siakam had struggled since the NBA’s restart after the four-month COVID-19 layoff. His frustration was painfully clear early on Wednesday when he missed an easy lay-in early. He hollered at himself in anger and tugged hard on his jersey. Subbed off for Ibaka just seven minutes in, he then left the bench area to gather himself.

Boston took Games 1 and 2 of the series, and the Raptors battled back to take the next two sparked by Anunoby’s astonishing buzzer-beater with 0.5 seconds to play in Game 3.

But the Celtics regained the momentum with a dominant Game 5 victory, pouncing on a Raptors team in one of Toronto’s worst games of the season.

A fast start had been key to every game between these two teams this season.

“I’ll be honest with you, I can’t believe how important the first eight to 10 minutes seem,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said before tipoff. “I almost can’t even fathom it. I’m trying to not put it all on that, I think there’s so much more game to play, right? But you look at the four times we’ve lost to these guys (since the restart), it’s looked identical. It’s 25 to 10 or 35 to 18 or whatever at the end of one for whatever. . . a million reasons.”

The Raptors came out with that urgency Nurse wanted on Wednesday. But their three-point shooting woes continued. They went just 2-for-9 from distance in the first quarter. Boston’s shooting wasn’t much better though, and the Celtics led just 25-21 to start the second.

Boston stretched their lead to 12 in the second, but Ibaka connected on three consecutive three-pointers to pull the Raptors back to within five. The Celtics led 52-48 at halftime.

2020 GTA Staggered Return To School Schedule

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Sep 9th, 2020

With this year’s back to school schedule looking a little different, we’ve broken down which school boards across the GTA are resuming classes on each day over the next week and a half, by age group:

Thursday, September 10th

Peel District School Board

Elementary: Kindergarten to Grade 8: Students with last names H-O

Secondary: Morning Orientation

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

FDK to Grade 8: Students with last names G-N

Secondary: Grades 10, 11 & 12 Cohort A

 

York Region District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 2 students

Elementary: Grades 1 – 8, divided alphabetically by last name

Grade 9: Cohort A

 

York Catholic District School Board

Elementary: Grades 1-3

Secondary:  Grade 9 cohort A

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Last names N-S

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Orientation Day for one-quarter of each class

 

Halton District School Board

Elementary: Optional Orientation, divided alphabetically

 

Halton Catholic District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 2

Elementary: Grades 1-8, last names G-N

Secondary: Grades 9-12 Cohort B

 

Friday, September 11th

Peel District School Board

Elementary: Kindergarten to Grade 8: Full day for students with last names P-Z

Secondary: Morning Orientation

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: FDK to Grade 8: Students with last names O-Z

Secondary: Grades 10, 11, 12 Cohort B

 

York Region District School Board

Grade 9: Cohort B

 

York Catholic District School Board

Elementary: JK/SK

Secondary:  Grade 9 cohort B

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names T-Z

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Orientation Day for one-quarter of each class

 

Halton District School Board

Elementary: Optional Orientation, divided alphabetically

 

Halton Catholic District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1

Elementary: Grades 1-8, last names 0-Z

 

Monday, September 14th

Toronto Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-quarter of each class

Secondary: Grade 9 students

 

Peel District School Board

Elementary: Full-day, last names A-K

Secondary: Full return to school

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: FDK to Grade 8, last names A-L

Secondary: Grades 9-12 regular schedule based on cohorts

 

York Region District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1 based on name

Secondary: Grades 9-12 Full schedule

 

York Catholic District School Board

Elementary: Grades 7 & 8

Secondary:  Grade 9 -12 Cohort A

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names A-M

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-half of each class

 

Halton District School Board

First day of school for all students

 

Halton Catholic District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1

Elementary: Grades 1-8 all students

 

Tuesday, September 15th

Toronto District School Board

Kindergarten to Grade 5 schools: SK, Grade 5

Kindergarten to Grade 6 schools: SK, Grade 6

Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools: SK, Grades 4 & 8

Grade 6, 7, 8 schools: Grade 6

Grade 7, 8 schools: Grade 7

 

Toronto Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-quarter of each class

Secondary: Grade 9 students

 

Peel District School Board

Elementary: Full-day last names L-Z

Secondary: Full return to school

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: FDK to Grade 8, students with last names M-Z

 

York Region District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1 based on name

 

York Catholic District School Board

Elementary: Grades 4 & 6

Secondary:  Grades 9 -12 Cohort B

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names N-Z

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-half of each class

 

Halton District School Board

First day of school for all students

 

Wednesday, September 16th

Toronto District School Board

Kindergarten to Grade 5 schools: JK, Grades 1 & 4

Kindergarten to Grade 6 schools: JK, Grades 1 & 5

Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools: JK, Grades 1 & 7

Grade 6, 7, 8 schools: Grade 7

Grade 7, 8 schools: Grade 8

 

Toronto Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-quarter of each class

Secondary: Grade 10, 11 & 12

 

Peel District School Board

Elementary: All students Return

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: FDK to Grade 8 all students return

 

York Region District School Board

All elementary students return

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names A-M

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-half of each class

 

Thursday, September 17th

Toronto District School Board

Kindergarten to Grade 5 schools: Grades 2 & 3

Kindergarten to Grade 6 schools: Grades 2, 3 & 4

Kindergarten to Grade 8 schools: Grades 2, 3, 5 & 6

Grade 6, 7, 8 schools: Grade 8

Secondary: Full Return

 

Toronto Catholic District School Board

Elementary: All students return

 

Peel District School Board

Elementary: All students return

 

Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board

Elementary: All students return

 

York District School Board

All elementary students return

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: Students with last names N-Z

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: One-half of each class

 

Friday, September 18th

York Region District School Board

Kindergarten: Year 1 begin classes

 

Durham District School Board

Elementary: All students return

 

Durham Catholic District School Board

Elementary: All students return

Canadians reluctant to remove statues of historical figures now seen as racist: Poll

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Sep 9th, 2020

OTTAWA — A new survey suggests that while Canadians are divided over removing statues of politicians who harboured racist views or pushed racist policies, many oppose the “spontaneous” toppling of statues of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald.

The poll by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies follows the controversial tearing down and vandalism of a Macdonald statue in Montreal last month by activists angry over his anti-Indigenous views and policies.

Half of respondents said they oppose the idea of removing statues or monuments to politicians who espoused racist views or implemented racist policies while 31 per cent said they support such moves and 19 per cent did not know.

The divide was smaller when it came to streets, schools and other public institutions bearing the names of historic figures shown to have been racist, with 47 per cent against renaming them and 34 per cent in favour.

Yet 75 per cent of respondents to the poll conducted by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies were against the Montreal-style “spontaneous” tearing down of Macdonald statues by activists while only 11 per cent said they were in favour.

Leger executive vice-president Christian Bourque says the numbers suggests Canadians are more supportive of a deliberate process of dealing with such statues — and take a dim view of activists taking matters into their own hands.

The online survey of 1,529 Canadians took place Sept. 4 to 6. An internet poll cannot be given a margin of error because it is not a random sample.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Legault, Ford meet in Mississauga to discuss economic recovery

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Sep 9th, 2020

The leaders of the two provinces hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic are meeting in Mississauga today to discuss economic recovery and health preparedness.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Quebec Premier Francois Legault have convened an inaugural summit to talk about what they see as key areas for co-operation.

They say the provinces plan to share lessons learned from the pandemic and work together to boost economic recovery and growth by reducing barriers to international trade.

Both provinces’ ministers of health, finance and infrastructure are also slated to attend, along with other officials.

The two premiers are expected to hold a news conference following the meetings this afternoon.

The summit officially began Tuesday evening.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine study paused after one illness

LAURAN NEERGAARD, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | posted Wednesday, Sep 9th, 2020

Late-stage studies of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate are on temporary hold while the company investigates whether a recipient’s “potentially unexplained” illness is a side effect of the shot.

In a statement issued Tuesday evening, the company said its “standard review process triggered a pause to vaccination to allow review of safety data.”

AstraZeneca didn’t reveal any information about the possible side effect except to call it “a potentially unexplained illness.” The health news site STAT first reported the pause in testing, saying the possible side effect occurred in the United Kingdom.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson confirmed the pause in vaccinations covers studies in the U.S. and other countries. Late last month, AstraZeneca began recruiting 30,000 people in the U.S. for its largest study of the vaccine. It also is testing the vaccine, developed by Oxford University, in thousands of people in Britain, and in smaller studies in Brazil and South Africa.

Two other vaccines are in huge, final-stage tests in the United States, one made by Moderna Inc. and the other by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech. Those two vaccines work differently than AstraZeneca’s, and the studies already have recruited about two-thirds of the needed volunteers.

Temporary holds of large medical studies aren’t unusual, and investigating any serious or unexpected reaction is a mandatory part of safety testing. AstraZeneca pointed out that it’s possible the problem could be a coincidence; illnesses of all sorts could arise in studies of thousands of people.

“We are working to expedite the review of the single event to minimize any potential impact on the trial timeline,” the company statement said.

It’s likely the unexplained illness was serious enough to require hospitalization and not a mild side effect such as fever or muscle pain, said Deborah Fuller, a University of Washington researcher who is working on a different COVID-19 vaccine that has not yet started human testing.

“This is not something to be alarmed about,” Fuller said. Instead, it’s reassuring that the company is pausing the study to figure out what’s happening and carefully monitoring the health of study participants.

Dr. Ashish Jha of Brown University said via Twitter that the significance of the interruption was unclear but that he was “still optimistic” that an effective vaccine will be found in the coming months.

“But optimism isn’t evidence,” he wrote. “Let’s let science drive this process.”

Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York, tweeted that the illness may be unrelated to the vaccine, “but the important part is that this is why we do trials before rolling out a vaccine to the general public.”

During the third and final stage of testing, researchers look for any signs of possible side effects that may have gone undetected in earlier patient research. Because of their large size, the studies are considered the most important study phase for picking up less common side effects and establishing safety.

The trials also assess effectiveness by tracking who gets sick and who doesn’t between patients getting the vaccine and those receiving a dummy shot.

The development came the same day that AstraZeneca and eight other drugmakers issued an unusual pledge, vowing to uphold the highest ethical and scientific standards in developing their vaccines.

The announcement follows worries that President Donald Trump will pressure the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve a vaccine before it’s proven to be safe and effective.

The U.S. has invested billions of dollars in efforts to quickly develop multiple vaccines against COVID-19. But public fears that a vaccine is unsafe or ineffective could be disastrous, derailing the effort to vaccinate millions of Americans.

Representatives for the FDA did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday evening.

AstraZeneca’s U.S.-traded shares fell more than six per cent in after-hours trading following reports of the trial being paused.

Associated Press writers Matthew Perrone and Carla K. Johnson contributed to this report.

Ford, under fire for attending wedding, wants police to crack down on prohibited parties

FIL MARTINO, CARYN CEOLIN | posted Wednesday, Sep 9th, 2020

Premier Doug Ford is calling on police to crack down on large gatherings, as he himself is facing some criticism for attending an MPP’s wedding.

On Tuesday, Ford encouraged people who see their neighbours having a prohibited party to call police. And Ford said he wants police to lay charges.

“We have to bring the hammer down,” the premier said, recalling an incident over the weekend in which some 170 people, including visitors from outside of Canada, partied at a Muskoka cottage.

Ford said now is not the time to host big gatherings

“I can’t emphasize it enough that we can’t have these big parties, we can’t have the big weddings. I understand a lot of cultures have massive weddings, they’re bringing families from all over the world. You just can’t do it. Simple postpone your wedding, get married in a small group,” the premier said. “It’s frustrating because it affects the rest of the province.”

But some view Ford’s comments as hypocritical, after he recently attended MPP Stan Cho’s wedding.

Under the province’s Stage Three reopening guidelines, indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed. In all cases, individuals must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres with people from outside their households or social circles.

Metrolinx increases GO train service on several lines

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Sep 8th, 2020

In anticipation of more people heading back to work and with the return to school, Metrolinx is getting ready for more passengers.

Service was greatly reduced earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lakeshore East and West lines will see service increase to every 15 to 30 minutes for the morning and afternoon rush, and hourly or better in the midday and evenings.

More trips have also been added on the Richmond Hill, Milton, Stouffville, Barrie, and Kitchener lines.

  • Milton line: Two more trips with eight trips each weekday
  • Kitchener line: Five more trips with 35 trips each weekday
  • Barrie line: Resuming most train service with 29 trips each weekday
  • Stouffville line: 20 more trips with 32 trips each weekday
  • Richmond Hill line: One morning and one afternoon train trip with eight trips each weekday

For a compete list of GO Train changes, click here.

Photo radar cameras go into effect Tuesday in some Durham school zones

NEWS STAFF | posted Tuesday, Sep 8th, 2020

Automated speed enforcement cameras will be going into effect in some school zones and designated community safety zones throughout Durham Region on Tuesday.

The cameras will take photos of vehicles that are detected going over the speed limit.

The images will then be reviewed by a provincial offences officer and a notice of offence will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

No demerit points will be issued.

Some cameras were already deployed in ‘data collection mode’ at some zones in June.

The initiative is in support of ‘Durham Vision Zero’ — which is a long-term plan to prevent death and serious injury on Durham roads.

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