With the Leafs all raked up and bagged as far as the NHL playoffs go, Toronto’s hopes of post-season glory have shifted to the NBA’s Raptors who defied pre-season predictions of mediocrity and had a solid season grabbing the third seed in the Eastern Conference. That set up a first-round match-up with the veteran-laden Brooklyn Nets.
To capitalize on fan enthusiasm, the Raptors crafted a We the North campaign to galvanize Canadians coast-to-coast to cheer for the country’s lone NBA entry.
The Raps got off to a shaky start in game one before a packed house at Air Canada and an overflow crowd in adjacent Maple Leaf Square. In game two the Raptors still didn’t play great, but they won. In game three they started poorly facing a hostile Brooklyn crowd but made it close at the end before losing, then they won in Brooklyn in game four.
Tonight at ACC the Raptors roared out to a 62-44 half-time lead, then suffered a fourth quarter collapse where they got outscored 44 to 24. Still, they hung on for a 115-113 victory with point guard Kyle Lowry, who has had a strong series for Toronto, leading the way with 36 points.
On Friday, the Raptors will try to close out the series in Brooklyn. If the Nets avoid elimination, then game seven is Sunday in Toronto.
In anticipation of Friday’s match-up here’s the Beastie Boys with “No Sleep to Brooklyn”: