Raptors and NBA 2018 - 2019

Raptors preseason attendance at their pre-season games in place like Montreal (last night) and Vancouver last weekend are showing that they are ‘Canada’s Team’ - much like the Jays - even though some posters here hate it when that term is used.

The Vancouver game sold out in 20 minutes - and last night loud cheers for the Raps - especially when local guy Chris Boucher hit a couple of three pointers late in the game as the Raps coasted over Brooklyn last night in Montreal. With some big $$$ folks in each city dreaming of NBA franchises for those cities. Pipedreams might be the more accurate description.

The game was played against the backdrop of a news conference earlier in the day touting the possibility of an NBA expansion franchise. Former politician Michel Fortier and Kevin Gilmore, the one-time chief operating officer of the Canadiens, made their case in a presentation to the Montreal Board of Trade. There are a few obstacles in the way, starting with Fortier’s admission that the NBA has no immediate plans for expansion. The best-case scenario has the NBA adding teams after it finalizes a new TV contract in 2025. When the NBA does expand, there are cities like Seattle, Louisville, San Diego and Mexico City in the queue ahead of Montreal.
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/we-re-ready-to-have-one-film-director-would-love-to-see-nba-return-to-vancouver-1.4850982
The Grizzlies may be long gone, but if there's any doubt aboutVancouver's appetite for professional basketball,look no further than the Toronto Raptors'pre-seaongame attendance. For their fourth visit to Vancouver in five years, tickets for the Raptors gamesold out in less than 20 minutes. Attendance for the game was 18,654. For her part,Jaymeis 100 per cent on board with bringing a team back to the city. "That's one of the main goals of this film, to get the conversation going to start a movement. Let's bring a team back to Vancouver. We want one, we need one and we're ready to have one."

The NBA season kicks off tonight with the Golden State Warriors heavy favourites to win again this year.

ESPN Power Rankings have the Raps at # 3.

Yawn…Warriors will win again…Yawn

Raucous welcome from the 19,915 packed into the ACC - oops - Scotiabank Arena for Kawhi Leonard as one of the most anticipated seasons in Raptors history tipped off tonight with a comfortable 12 point win over the Cavs.

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25011610

Good luck to the Raps this season this new guy Leonard should help this season. But yes, pipedream to get teams in Montreal and Vancouver as I haven’t heard anything about NBA expanding or franchises wanting to relocate. Of course with ex games there is always some media hype about adding teams where the games are played, par for the course. But there is excellent ball, as we know, being played in the National Basketball League of Canada for the diehard fans that live in these areas dying to see quality pro ball. So that is good.

Just see the Raps beat the Cavs 116-104 so an excellent start for them.

Well… my Cavs officially suck again. :-[

What a great win for the first place Raps tonight against 2nd place Pacers.

Especially considering they were without their two best centers Ibaka and Valanciunas plus without ther all-star guard Lowry.

Throw in that they trailed almost the entire game - down by 17 points at one point in the 3rd quarter - making the win all the more remarkable. They held the Pacers to just 11 points in the 4th quarter to pull out the win.

Fred Van Fleet with the 3 pointer to give the Raps the lead in the dying seconds. And the crowd goes wild!

Thank goodness I had the option to flip to the Raptors game when the Chargers didn’t show up @ New England.

And so glad I did! What a game! Kawhi Leonard is a BEAST! Raps win a double overtime thriller - their 5th win in a row - to up their record to an NBA best 33 - 12.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dw0gFzVUYAAgLpE.jpg:medium

Fun night to be a Raps and Leafs fan flipping between the two games. Raps first buzzer beater win at home since 2006 courtesy of their rising star Pascal Siakam.

The Raps had one of those rare Saturday nights at home without having to share the spotlight with the Leafs. Leafs rarely have Saturday nights off - so the Raps were it for Toronto sports fans on this snowy night in Southern Ontario.

And man did the Raps ever put on a show - at least in the third quarter they did - outscoring the Grizzlies 45 - 14 in that quarter. The star of the night with an unreal 3 point shooting display - Danny Green hitting 6 three pointers in a row that quarter. He hit 8 on the night. He had the crowd on its feet chanting Danny! Danny!
http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=25805012

Who is Danny Green some of you might ask. Well you know the huge DeRozan for Leonard trade in the off-season - Green was the other guy who came here from San Antonio - sort of an after thought for most fans like me. Has turned out to be a really nice pickup by the Raps.

The win was their 9th in a row at home and leaves them virtually tied with the Bucks with the best records in the NBA.

The Leafs are very good this year, and occasionally very entertaining but the best sports show in Toronto is NO DOUBT the Raptors.

Looks like the coaching change to Nick Nurse was a stroke of genius (who woulda thunk)

Trading DeRozan for Leonard & Green another top drawer move.

Raptors are pretty entertaining from the get-go, almost all games, almost all quarters and I’m not a huge hoops fan.

That said, they’re still on shaky ground re: health of 3 or 4 of their key ingredients. Once playoffs begin (and Raps should be a top seed) they won’t be able to rest key guys on successive nights and the wear & tear of the regular season may catch up to them.

If they play like they’ve played thus far in reg. season - they should be favorites to play Golden State in the NBA final, and with only minor nicks & scrapes they’d actually be near even odds to topple the mighty Warriors.

The good thing from that perspective for the Raptors is that the NBA usually spreads out games pretty well in the playoffs.

For example April last year the six first round games the Raps played against Washington were played on April 14th, 17th, 20th, 22nd, 25th and 27th. That is 3 games a week which isn’t too bad. Especially with no crazy back to back nights with travelling involved.

Well, thats good to know. Nice spacing - but 80+ reg. season games can take its toll, even on magnificently conditioned b-ball athletes.

Key come playoffs is injuries. I’m sold on this team when all hands on deck.

I think they can survive first and second round series with Lowry and/or Leonard missing one game per series (ie. 1 out of 4, 5, 6 or 7 games).

Once into the 3rd round - perhaps one of them can miss the odd game - but not both!

All-Star Break weekend for the league and the Raps. Boom time for both with TV ratings up in both countries. This is the most fun I’ve had watching the Raptors in years. The games this week really fun to watch and they had the packed Scotiabank Arena rocking.

Some great moves this season and the acquisition of Paul Gasol to go along with Kawhi Leonard could be a difference maker later on in the playoffs. And the acquisition of Lin perfect for the next 5 weeks with the injury to Fred VanFleet. Of course Linsanity probably had its peak moment at the ACC when the Knicks and Jeremy Lin were visiting the Raps on what happened to be Asian Night and for about the 4th or 5th game in a row - Lin (who is Asian) delivered at the buzzer. This highlight and the incredible crowd reaction even making national newscasts across North America.

The Bucks will be tough though in the East - currently seeded ahead of the Raps in pretty much every Power Rankings out there. Golden State at # 1, Bucks # 2 and Raps # 3.

And speaking of fun. I just love it when the Raps games are on TSN because that means Jack Armstrong is the colour commentator. Him and Matt Devlin together are pure gold - the best combo in Canadian sports broadcasting IMO.

The other night Armstrong had Devlin in stitches with his comments as your Raptors phenom Pascal Siakam was heading for 40 points. If I can find a video of the exchange that referenced 40 ouncers in brown paper bags I’ll post it. Just hilarious. They just have a hoot together and make it so fun to watch.

Here a sample of some of their typical interaction during a broadcast. They just have fun.

After the All-Star break the Raptors next game is Friday night at home against the Spurs. That means the return of the face of the franchise for the last several years - Demar DeRozan.

The game is on ESPN in the States, TSN up here and scalpers are having a field day.
Upper deck seats in the $200 - $400 range. Lower Bowl $400 - $750 a pop and the on floor courtside seats $1900 a ticket!

Should be quite the night.

Awesome reaction by Raptors fans to the return of DeRozan last night. I thought the ovation would never end.

And then what a game with the Raps pulling it out for their sixth win in a row.

Friday night’s Spurs - Raptors game with the return of DeMar DeRozan drew the largest TV ratings ever for a Raptors regular season game. It averaged 710,000 viewers and over 2.5 million watched at least a part of the game on TSN.

Raps have clinched the # 2 seed in the East and right now are # 2 in the entire league.

But still no idea who the # 7 seed they will play in Round One will be. It is a log jam 6 through 9 with four teams within one game of each other.

Right now it is:

6 - Detroit - 19.5 behind the Bucks

7 - Brooklyn - 20 back

8 - Orlando - 20 back

9 - Miami - 20.5 back

and even Charlotte 22.5 back are not officially eliminated yet.

Of those the Raps have struggled against the Pistons who are coached by their former coach Casey.

Playoff tickets for the Raptors (and Leafs) are just a wee bit out of my pay grade. Make that way out of my pay grade.

For tomorrow’s Game 1 of the Raptors - Magic series the cheapest lower bowl seats (in the corner near the back of the lower bowl) - those tickets actually retail for $365 a pop. Similarly located seats for the Leafs - retail for $520.00 a pop.

https://scontent-yyz1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/56661876_10215216119209569_1403454085218172928_n.jpg?_nc_cat=109&_nc_ht=scontent-yyz1-1.xx&oh=d1fc1acff7dabb5573947944d09c897b&oe=5D34E71A

But if you really want to splurge the Ticketmaster resale price for front row Leafs seats is topping $1300 a ticket. That is absurd enough. But if you want seats on the floor courtside for the Raptors tomorrow (so maybe you can wave at Drake across the floor) - checkout what those are priced at right now on the Ticketmaster resale market. Anybody got a spare $11,500 or so who wants to buy a pair?

https://scontent-yyz1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/56857534_10215216119609579_505936521719709696_n.jpg?_nc_cat=109&_nc_ht=scontent-yyz1-1.xx&oh=7cff3959ba1d8f8b7668fb46297679a6&oe=5D3FD8E5

Hey Travel Pat. If you know someone who works for a corporation that has seats for the Raps, maybe you can score some freebies.