Home cooking in the basketball, a very nice tennis story continues and masks are back in Philly

A whole bunch of things covering a lot of ground ’cause that’s what we should be doing here and I’ve gotten way from it a bit in the last little while.

Yeah, things are going to be tough for the Raptors because I can’t imagine either Scottie Barnes or Thad Young getting back any time soon – Young, maybe; Barnes is way less likely, I’d guess – and since we haven’t actually spoken to Gary Trent Jr. in at least week, he’s got to be really under the weather.

And, yeah, they’ve been through these kinds of circumstances before and came through them all right but it’s also the playoffs and if Saturday proved anything, it’s that the playoffs are a different animal.

It’s obvious that guys like VanVleet and Siakam and Anunoby are going to have to have big games because while it’s nice to think someone else will pop a big game out of nowhere, you’re best players have to be your best players.

They really weren’t on Saturday – no one was, to tell the truth – but if they are, I do think this series still has some legs to it.

Stealing one here tonight would be huge but what’s more likely to get the Raptors eventually back on track is some home cookin ‘and some home support.

The crowd here got into the game right off the bat and never relented and, sure, the Sixers made it easy for them to stay supportive all night.

And maybe it’ll give Philly some extra juice tonight, too. There was a sense in Philly before the series began that the fans here might turn quickly on the locals if they weren’t very good; they were and that eases a ton of pressure.

It might be just the kind of extra impetus the Raptors need at home when they get there.

Perhaps the story that feel furthest through the cracks back home this weekend is that the Canadian women won their way back into the Billie Jean Cup tennis finals by beating Latvia out in BC

It wasn’t a huge upset or even a little one of you go by world rankings but it was still a win and it was nice to read about Leylah Fernandez clinching the win.

But, to me, the best story would have been earlier in the weekend when Rebecca Marino started things off with a big win in front of home fans.

Marino’s a great story, she’s been through difficult times, retiring from the tour in 2011 citing depression after having to deal with gutless, anonymous abuse on social media. She’s back, it seems, better and content and every win she records and every step she takes on the tour is big and something sports fans should appreciate.

Anyway, I don’t know how much play it got back home but I hope it was commensurate with the event and the athlete.

Mask mandates are back for all indoor Philly establishments today when the schools are back after a week-long Easter break.

Saw the local TV last night that the caseloads in the city are about 155 a day now and there are like 50 people in city hospitals.

Let that sink in, Ontario.

Fewer than 200 cases, less than 75 hospitalizations and they’re asking citizens to mask up and make it safe for everyone.

Seriously. Let that sink in, Ontario.

Strikes me as somewhat responsible leadership and quick walk through the lobby for coffee showed everyone in compliance.

Okay, I’ll be around for Three Pointers here tomorrow and Thursday, will likely do this kind of thing Friday. Wednesday may be the sleep-in morning of the week but you never know.

Anyway, the search for mail never ends and since it certainly wasn’t a huge effort yesterday, I’d appreciate it if you’d start sending stuff early this week.

You do it at askdoug@thestar.ca and it’ll be nice to hear from you. Anything goes.

I was kind of against the idea of ​​robotic home plate umpires in baseball for quite a while.

I liked the human element because it’s such an integral part of all sports and just like hitters miss a hanging curve now and then, umpires blow calls every now and then.

But

I did see enough of the Blue Jays on Saturday and have seen enough of many games to now feel that there are so many blown ball-strike calls that it’s time to let machines do it.

A missed pitch here and there is understandable, it really is.

But the sheer volume of blown calls is getting ridiculous; it’s all over the game, almost every game, and it’s taking away from the sport.

I presume – and in some ways hope – that a robo-ump isn’t perfect but it’s got to be at least less bad, right?

Totally fell into a tremendous dinner last night when the very cool, very old McGillins pub was closed for Easter.

Can totally recommend Sampan on 13ththe Japanese chef’s tasting menu that included duck, delicious scallops, a seafood shu mai, pad Thai, a cheesesteak boa and couple of other things was outstanding.

Add in a couple of Asahi’s and it was a great, early night. If there’s a Game 5, hope to be back next week.

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