Published On: Fri, Apr 19th, 2019

Hostile atmosphere isn’t likely to bother the Raptors

Miss me yesterday?

Would love to say I missed typing when the alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. but that’d be a lie.

Anyway …

How about a Few Little Things That Should Be Bigger Things But I Don’t Have The Energy To Do That?

So, what do we all expect in Orlando?

There was no availability with the Raptors yesterday on a travel day for all so it was impossible to take the temperature around the team but knowing them as well I do, I can imagine there’s an air of confidence – not arrogance but confidence – and I would truly be surprised if we had to come back here for Game 6 the end of next week.

I cannot imagine that they’ll be the least bit bothered by the atmosphere in the arena, whatever it is. As we had in the little notebook that got done yesterday (along with this main Siakam piece), it’s the first playoff game in a long time in these parts and while everyone expects a boisterous crowd, it’s not like it’s going to put the Raptors off their game.
Besides, I wonder how boisterous it’s actually going to be. I’ve been here on more than a few occasions over the years, including conference finals and final, and while it can get loud, it’s not going to be crazy.

The Magic will have the decibel level cranked up on the PA and the accompanying noise because that’s what they’ve always done, even in the regular season. They were one of the first franchises to turn games in “events” and I guarantee there will be some over-the-top shenanigans and noise.

And it won’t bother the Raptors at all. These guys have been through the wringer over the years, a little pumped in volume isn’t going to bother them.

With the way they dominated long stretches of Game 2 boosted their confidence, the way they hung in for most of Game 1 despite not playing all that well has, I think, gotten them primed to end this as quickly as they can.

That means Tuesday back home, I suspect.

Without any prodding, it seems you all forgot to fill out the weekend mailbag yesterday ‘cause I don’t think I got one missive.

So take time out today to click on askdoug@thestar.ca and do what you do.

It was brought to my attention (well, I basically look at the magical tweeter machine to find out this kind of stuff) that it was 20 years ago yesterday that Wayne Gretzky played his final NHL game.

Wonder who covered it for Your Toronto Star?

How about me! And the great Chris Young.

Yeah, really.

We were in New York together to cover the Raptors playing the Knicks on the Saturday night – I know, having two guys on the road at the end of a season was the good old days – and since none of our hockey writers wanted, or could, get to New York in time for the afternoon game (as I recall) it was left to Chris and I to cover the end of one of hockey’s greatest careers.

Chris did all the heavy lifting with a typically poignant and outstanding column, I wrote something just to justify my presence, but I’ve got to tell you, it was a pretty emotional pucks day and, to this day, I’m glad I saw it. Gretzky and Lemieux hugging isn’t something I’ll forget.

I still have serious issues with Pearson because there’s a ton of wasted space, it seems, and the line management is often dubious but they have cleaned up the Terminal 3 area right after security pretty well.

And the Starbucks there is exponentially better than Terminal 1.

And Delta was outstanding. Two full planes – YYZ-ATL-MCO – but we were early to both places, had a short layover and no issues with bags.

I can get used to that airline.

Saw a thing the other day that “announced” that Glen Grunwald was taking a role with the Memphis Grizzlies are part of their front-office restructuring and had more than a couple of people ask me what that meant for his gig with Canada Basketball.

Nothing.

It was one of those “everything old is new again” kind of note, it’s the same part-time consulting gig Glen took with Memphis back in July, it’s not going to impact his job as the executive-director gig with Canada Basketball in any way.

And that’s good because they still need to find a coach for the senior men’s team and while patience is a virtue, as they say, maybe they’ll get on with it quickly so we can write about it before we get too deep into this Raptors playoff run.

We can only hope – Glen, note this! – that when they do make a decision and have an announcement, that they do in on a Raptors off-day so it can get the maximum attention for guys like me.

Thanks.

How’s the day going to be?

The Raptors hold their road game-day shootaround availability before they get on the court rather than after and I’m all for that because it basically saves us an hour or so every game.

But they also usually go at 11 a.m. Down here? Nope.

They’re out at some high school close to their hotel rather than downtown by the arena where we’re all staying and they’re going at 10 a.m. so we have to be there by 9:30 or so and it’s a 25-minute ride away.

Some days get long right off the bat.

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Hostile atmosphere isn’t likely to bother the Raptors