New York Knicks v Toronto Raptors

Devang Desai is a Raptors fan who writes for theScore’s “Counter Attack” and “100 Yards and Running” blogs. He attended a Raptors game for the first time in years on Friday night and wanted to share his observations with us…

By: Devang Desai

The buzz was palpable. There were more people on Bremner Blvd. than I had seen in some time. The Raptors were hosting the Knicks in what would be one of the biggest games on the calendar.

Why there was a glut of people clad in neon tank tops and bandanas eventually began to make sense, as Swedish House Mafia, on their last tour ever, was playing at the Skydome on Friday night. Interacting with “bros” on ecstasy is an experience I don’t wish on my worst enemy.

So not everyone was going to the game, but as we waited to get into the Air Canada Centre there was the nervous chatter we usually associate with pre-playoff game jitters, or at least big game jitters. The arrival of Rudy Gay had changed the fortunes of a team that suddenly found themselves within striking distance of a playoff spot.

I hadn’t seen a Raptors game at the ACC in a couple of years. While I still followed the day to day happenings of the team, life–I wasn’t in the country–and an extreme lack of disposable income kept me away. But on Thursday night a friend texted me the good news – He had two tickets for the game that he couldn’t use.

Unfortunately we missed out on the Kyle Lowry bobbleheads, a missed opportunity that will live in infamy whenever I stare at the weird Carlos Delgado duck thing I got at a Blue Jays game years ago. Our seats – Section 323, row three – had great sightlines, as most do in the fan friendly ACC. Seated behind us was an elderly couple that seemed mostly harmless if not overly talkative. If their family wants to know what they’re going to do with their RSP’s I can fill them in. Beside us were two guys of similar age to my friend and I. They knew ball, which made sitting beside them a treat.

I don’t need to tell you, readers of RaptorBlog, how exciting this game was. Defensive intensity was on limited display in the first half. Carmelo Anthony, shaking off a slow start, began to assert himself on the offensive end of the floor. I missed the dread that came with watching the opposing team’s best player dominate in person.

The Game OPs were both hilarious and enthralling. A random assortment of mascots from the NHL,NBA and NFL did the Harlem Shake. Shoutout to Billy the Buffalo for making the trip. The “Lil Ballas” showed why they are the hardest working group of child labourers going and the Dance Pak brought it once again–though the group of four male breakers deserve more praise than they got. Prizes, a man in a Mamadou N’Diaye jersey and some excellent DJing made it a fantastic experience.

There were some negatives. The big time fan sitting directly beside us was rather large, drawing a slew of condescending and rude comments from the older couple behind us. The guy knew he was big. Only jerks feel the need to point that out four times a quarter.

Back to the game. What more can you want? An electric fourth quarter crowd drew praise from the MSG commentating team for good reason. It was incredibly loud. After some light coaxing, the people in our section remained standing for the final two minutes. Kyle Lowry’s last second, off balance running layup drew a huge ovation.

After the game I resembled one of the aforementioned dudes on a cavalcade of low quality MDMA at the SHM concert. Grinning from ear to ear, we imagined what this city would be like if the Raptors could sneak into eighth and take on the Heat in round one.

LeBron, Wade and Bosh in Toronto? And I thought Friday was loud.