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Old 05-01-2014, 12:47 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Default Raptors Daily Dish | Playoff Edition | May 1

Toronto Raptors poke fun at Drake’s lint-rolling during playoff game with rap star in attendance

If their run through the playoffs accomplishes nothing else, the Toronto Raptors seem set to rid the city of lint.

Raptors see not one, but two lint-roller promotions for Game 5 — one official and Drake-approved

Earlier in the playoffs, Drake, the team’s so-called global ambassador, was caught on camera rolling a lint brush over his pants. He was sitting courtside at the time, and it was kind of hard to miss.

Who carries a lint brush with them?” retired NBA star Charles Barkley said during an appearance on a Toronto radio station last week. “You know, I’ve never left my house and said, ‘let me grab that lint brush.’ ”

On Wednesday, with the Raptors hosting the Brooklyn Nets in Game 5 of their first-round NBA playoff series, the lint rollers returned. Not only did MLSE conjure a way to capitalize on the gaffe, it also managed to poke fun at the Canadian hip-hop star.

During a break in play in the first half, as the Raptors were building toward a 62-44 lead at halftime, a camera once again focused on Drake. And it paired him with a pair of his own lint-rollers.

Drake was a good sport. And why not?

A handful of celebrities were spotted courtside. 50 Cent, the hip-hop star from New York, played to the crowd by smiling at the camera and tipping his cap, showing the team’s “Northern Uprising” slogan.

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jonathan Bernier was also spotted, seated near new team president Brendan Shanahan.
Toronto Raptors poke fun at Drake’s lint-rolling during playoff game with rap star in attendance | National Post

Raptors fans pack Maple Leaf Square for Game 5

The further the Raptors get in the playoffs, the crazier their fans get.
Despite the blustery weather Wednesday night, thousands packed Maple Leaf Square outside the Air Canada Centre to watch Toronto take on the Brooklyn Nets in Game 5.
“It’s just so fun,” said Lawrence Hopkins, who’s watched several of the playoff games in the square. He brought along a friend this time — a life-size Vince Carter cutout clad in red plastic poncho for protection from the drizzling rain.

Thousands have showed up to watch each game of the series on the square’s giant screen. Game 4 on Sunday drew the largest crowd yet, about 4,500. People are talking about the team, too. Social media activity about the Raptors is up 350 per cent compared to the regular season, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment said in a release. The team has picked up 160 per cent more likes on Facebook and 80 per cent more Twitter followers.
“The support for the Raptors this season in Toronto, and across Canada, has highlighted the fact that this is one of the most passionate markets in the NBA, and in my mind this is just the first step in what we can accomplish,” MLSE President and CEO Tim Leiweke said in a statement.

With each playoff game, the crowd in the square has gotten louder — and more creative in showing support. Wednesday night’s vocal audience was filled with jerseys, face paint and handmade signs. But several fans, such as Rob Linley, took their Raptors gear a step further. Linley was wearing a foam Raptors head he’s had sitting in his closet since he was a kid.
“(The square) is the poor man’s way to enjoy the game,” Linley said with a laugh.

Other fans have made their own Raptors duds. Yanal Dhailieh created a T-shirt that says “Toronto vs. Everybody.”
“I feel like it captures the way the city feels,” Dhailieh said. “It feels like it’s the Raptors against the world right now.”
If it’s Toronto against the world, at least there’s a strong fan base behind the team — one that seems to be gaining more famous faces by the day. Rapper 50 Cent was spotted courtside Wednesday night wearing a “We The North” hat, while Toronto FC stars Jermain Defoe, Michael Bradley and Julio Cesar all appeared ahead of the game, as did former Raptor fan favourite Jerome (Junk Yard Dog) Williams.
“It’s unbelievable,” Defoe said of the crowd. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Raptors fans pack Maple Leaf Square for Game 5 | Toronto Star

Brooklyn Nets Twitter Account Calls Out Their Own Fans During Game 5

With the Brooklyn Nets traveling home in need of a victory in Game 6 in order to keep their season alive, you’d think the fans at the Barclays Center would have enough reason to get loud on Friday.

But during Game 5 of their first round series against the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday—which the Raps won by a score of 115-113—the Nets’ Twitter account gave Brooklyn fans one more reason to get loud during their next home game:

If the Barclays Center sounds more like a library than a basketball game come tip-off time on Friday, that should tell us everything we need to know regarding how Nets fans respond to criticism.


Here are five thoughts on the Eastern Conference first-round series between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets following Game 5, including the play of Kyle Lowry, Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnet and Paul Pierce, as well as head coaches Jason Kidd and Dwane Casey.

1. KYLE LOWRY: Brilliant in Game 5. Watching him Wednesday night brought me back to watching Allen Iverson torch the Raptors in the 2001 playoffs. Considering Lowry is a Philly guy and one of the guys he looked up to as a young player was Iverson, I couldn't help myself but to draw comparisons. A totally different players but one quality that truly makes them alike is that they are both incredible competitors. Not the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog. In the last five quarters of play (Game 4, 4th quarter and Game 5), other than the magic of Vince Carter, I can't recall a better stretch of play ever from a Raptor on so many fronts. Enjoy it - I'm mesmerized by it.

2. JOE JOHNSON: Give him credit. Major bounce-back in the second half of Game 5. He was close to unstoppable. Raptors did everything they could to contain/control him and he was that much better. I'm sure a significant focus of game planning for Game 6 will centre on tightening the screws on both the individual coverage's associated with him and the collective scheme based upon the help you have to give his defender. He is an absolute load. I'm so impressed by his talent.

3. RAPTORS' FIRST THREE QUARTERS VS. 4TH QUARTER: It looked like five guys stole Raptors shirts early in the 4th and tried to imitate the real guys. In the first three quarters we saw the Raptors at their truly best - ball movement, defensive energy, effort, discipline and most importantly, a collective will and confidence that the crowd fed off of. In the fourth, we saw a team that cruised and thought it would be easy and let up with its focus. Very fortunate that they hung on, yet when I reflect on it for the majority of the game they were far better, which is good. Now it's about learning from that lesson and growing. Remember back in early December at Golden State? It was the Raptors' biggest collapse in franchise history and lost to the Warriors. This time, a huge collapse as well - the difference - they won and won on a much more meaningful stage than the stage back in Oakland. Speaking of Oakland, the late Al Davis (Oakland Raiders) would say 'just win, baby!' They did. One to go but it won't be easy. Their competition has lots to play for; it should be a major challenge and lots of fun to watch.

4. KG AND PAUL PIERCE: They were spectators Wednesday night in the 4th quarter and I'm sure both men will be ready to go Friday night in response to that. I don't think there have been many times in either guys' career that they sat and watched at crunch time. I'm sure we'll see two angry/ornery guys in Brooklyn talking smack and challenging their teammates and the crowd to be at optimal level. Lots of folks piling on KG these days. I respect what he's done in his career. Is he the player he once was? No, but his effort and will to win are still there all the time. Pierce - He's still got a lot left and his matchup at the four spot is still a tough cover for the Raptors, yet I do like that the Raps are now making him guard his guy and attacking him. Fully expect both guys to come out firing guns blazing. Be prepared.

5. JASON KIDD AND DWANE CASEY: Both coaches, I'm sure, are working on their team's collective psyche as we enter Game 6. Kidd challenged his team before Game 5 to be much better in the 4th quarter after being outplayed by the Raps in Games 3 and 4 in the defining stanza. They were awesome in the 4th Wednesday night… the other three quarters, not so impressive. I'm sure he's pushing momentum and carryover. Coach Casey will hammer the fact that you must sustain and play every possession at the max and learn/build on the fact that you won, yet have to respect the little details of the game. You also sell that momentum in a series that lasts only as long as you allow it to or make it happen. As much as the Nets want to sell that they're now going to pick up where they left off, you've got to sell that the 'score always takes care of itself' if you do the right things. You concentrate on doing the 'right things" each possession and you'll find a way in Game 6, or if necessary, Game 7. Won't be easy to put Brooklyn away Friday but it can be done. Dictate the tone and personality of Game 6 right at the start. Winning/losing - that's too much sometimes to focus on. Dive into the details of what it takes to succeed and you'll handle the pressure of a road game better.
Armstrong: Five thoughts on the Raps vs. Nets through Game 5

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