Around The Bases – Your trip around the world in sports for February 8, 2019

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The daily sports news cycle is crazier than ever. Don't have the stamina to keep up to speed? Around The Bases is your daily morning destination to stay in the know on the biggest stories in both local and professional sports. We’ll start at first base with an intriguing story or event, and bring you home with a must-read story in the North Peace sports scene.

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First Base - 76ers finally move on from Fultz

So long, Markelle. The 76ers tried their best, I believe, to give number one pick Markelle Fultz time to figure out what had been plaguing him and help him turn it around, but they never got there. Yesterday, the team traded Fultz to the Orlando Magic for Jonathan Simmons, a first round pick, and a second round pick. I can't believe they got a first round pick for Fultz, but good for them I guess. I still hope that Fultz can have some semblance of a successful NBA career, and with the Magic trading what they did, it seems like they're going to go all out to make that a possibility. 

Second Base - Flyers win Game Two against Grande Prairie

For 30 minutes in the middle of the game, the Flyers were playing poorly, not getting any offensive chances, and looked like they were going to give the Grande Prairie Athletics a 2-0 series lead. But then the Flyers scored two goals in nine seconds, with about 10 minutes left, to take the lead, and ended up winning the game 6-3. It's this perseverance that shows the Flyers still have a chance, and that if they can finally get a win on the road, they have a real shot at winning the series. 

Third Base - Oilers snap five-game losing streak

Well isn't that nice, the Oilers finally won a game. The face that they won 4-1 on the road against the Wild is even a bit impressive. The crazy thing is with the win, the Oilers are just two points out of a playoff spot. Maybe this win doesn't really matter then, since they would have just been four points out of the playoffs after six losses in a row. The Western Conference is bad, yes, but I think it would still be good for Oilers fans if they made the playoffs, or at least good for the psyche of Connor McDavid. The fans are back to throwing jerseys on the ice when the Oilers lose, so perhaps making the playoffs wouldn't really matter. As for throwing jerseys, I would never do that, and certainly wouldn't burn them, but I don't have any moral problem with it. These fans are paying their hard-earned money to buy the jersey and to attend the game, and they can do what they want. Saying they aren't loyal is missing the point entirely. They're very loyal, in fact, and they're trying hard to send a message to Oilers ownership — do something. In the end, making the playoffs might be the worst thing for the Oilers, as ownership wil say, "well hey, things can't be that bad," and not change a thing. 

Home Base - Raptors beat Hawks with just nine players, trade for Marc Gasol

Yesterday was an interesting day to be a Raptors fan. First, they traded Jonas Valanciunas, Dellon Wright, C.J. Miles and a second round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for Marc Gasol. It's a good trade, as Gasol is still a good player who will be able to start for the Raptors right away, play great defence, and bring leadership and experience. However, I think the Raps needed another outside shooter more than they needed a JV upgrade. Also, I'll miss Valanciunas. He was never going to be a star or important player, but he had a role on the team and did it well and was a great teammate and fun guy to cheer for. Mostly, though, I'm just glad they didn't trade Kyle Lowry. I just think he's the leader and emotional centre of this team and that would have been a tough pill to swallow, even if the Raptors did get a good player back like Mike Conley. Later, at night, because of the trade (they also traded Greg Monroe) and the fact that Gasol wasn't yet with the team and Kawhi Leonard had to sit out the game, the Raptors only had nine guys dressed. They fell behind early, but in the end they won 119-101, as if they were never losing at all. Pascal Siakam had a career-high 33 points and and Fred Van Vleet had 30, which was really cool to see, and now I can't wait for the next Raptors game to see what all the pieces can do together. 

Around the Bases runs Monday through Friday. If you have a news tip or story to share, email Dillon Giancola at sports@ahnfsj.ca

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