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The Boys are Back! The Raptors Return Home!

group huddle

It was a nostalgic experience to be back right at the Air Canada Centre. It was exactly the same as we left it after a furious seven game series vs. Brooklyn Nets. Those 6.2 seconds lingered on my mind for days and weeks until opening day came around.
Kyle Lowry said making “the decision” wasn’t easy. But after game seven the Raptors sat in their locker rooms for a good 30 minutes talking to each other and said they wanted to do this all over again. There was no doubt in Amir Johnson’s mind that everyone would return.
Fast forward to opening night of the Raptors 20th anniversary year at the Air Canada Centre Wednesday night. Jurassic Park was buzzing and so too were the fans in the area chanting #WeTheNorth. The campaign that took our entire country by storm and continues to ignite us to this day!
Opening night brought me back to when I first fell in love with the team back in 1995! Going to the library and picking up the Toronto Star sports section and seeing that ticket on the front page, I automatically knew this was the team I was going to follow from their inception.
It’s been 20 years and I’ve gone from writing game summaries in my agenda, to make penny bets on the Raptors in grade school thinking they would make the playoffs when they were a brutal 16-66 in year three; to shifting my schedule in university to make sure I would be hope for each and every Raptors game. If I wasn’t home I am not embarrassed to say the VHS recorder yes the VHS recorder was my best friend.
Just like that Toronto Raptors opening day was bittersweet to me because I’ve been climbing, hustling and trying to reach the top of the ladder and I am beginning to see a light at the end of it. I’ve made it to the NBA working for NBA Canada as their social media manager. Yes, you better following along on twitter, facebook & instagram: @nbacanada!
Hardwork does pay off and on opening night we saw how Toronto continues to define success. Amir Johnson my main man and (favourite) Raptor playing his 6th season as a Raptor and has been in the league for 10 years! He as the last high school player to be drafted straight out of high school. In his 10 year career he has never opened the numbers he did on opening night scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. There is something about a contract year that makes players take their games to the next level and explode! I’m not complaining.
It’s finally happened! The Toronto Raptors have become the talk of the town! Everywhere you go the people are more educated about the game and basketball in Canada is at an all-time high.
It could explain why the Raptors wanted to go out and prove that they are still the same team with a little bit of swagger. DeMar DeRozan in just game one posted a career best 6 steals and 11 rebounds. He quickly brushed it off saying, “It’s my job.”
The crowd was amazing as every! They were on their feet during the final seconds of the game and chanting #LetsGoRaptors. It definitely gave me goosebumps. The Raptors and the Hawks are the only eastern conference teams to have the same starting five return for another season.
It’s amazing to see the bond between DeMar & Kyle continue to grow. It’s great to witness how much Greivis Vasquez undeniable loves the city of Toronto. He has told me more then once this is where he wants to return!
Sure the Raptors cruised through the late stages of the fourth and allowed the Hawks to get back into the contest but they are tightening up the screws to a season which promises to provide more then just a dose of excitement.
Canada, one thing I know is that this team cares about their fans and they can definitely relate to the trials and tribulations of this franchise.

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Always Looking Up: Toronto Raptors 2014 Media Day

The Raptors come into camp with a distinct buzz of excitement as they enter Real Sports on Monday. They were smiling and laughing and of course saying all the right things as they embark on the 20th anniversary year in Toronto Raptors franchise history. It was a busy summer for the players and they are excited to be back at it and build on the success of last year.

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The Verbal Agreement

Kyle Lowry

It’s 11:30pm a brisk wind is in the air on a cool Wednesday evening. I had this unexplainable feeling once I checked my phone and the inevitable had happened. Kyle Lowry the head of the Toronto Raptors snake verbally agreed to a 4-year deal worth 48 million.

After years of developing talented superstars from Damon Stoudamire, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Chris Bosh who all elected to travel to greener pastures, Kyle Lowry decided to stay.

After one of the most memorable years covering the NBA, that had me travelling to New York to not just tour but work at the NBA offices, go to the Mecca of Basketball Madison Square Gardens to watch the Raptors close out the regular season vs. New York Knicks and I can go on, but this particular moment solidified it all.

He is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, a floor general with an edge, a player who doesn’t shy away from contact and will risk his body for the greater good of the team. He alongside the help of coach Casey and Masai Ujiri have show not just Toronto but Canada that it is possible to preserve, nurture and grow talent north of the border #WeTheNorth.

It’s 1:56 am and I am still beaming with excitement! I want to scream for the fences and let the world know the Toronto Raptors have already made a bigger milestone then just turning 20 years old as a franchise but locking up a superstar in the making in Kyle Lowry to a hefty 4-year deal.

They say we live in a world where anything is possible and it was proven verbally on July 2nd that our neighbours to the South will have something to worry about in the near future with the team the Toronto Raptors assembling. One with an explosive edge and flare for the dramatics be warned world!

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The Toronto Raptors Heartbreaking Game 7

A heartbreaking way to end the season. The Raptors began the game playing out of their element. Amir Johnson seemed to be the only guy keeping the Raptors in this game at the half. The crowd gave me shivers! It is is loudest I have ever heard the ACC in my life! They gave the Raptors the energy they needed to persevere down the stretch. Could it have been the experience that outweighed home court advantage for the Raptors. Nevertheless, the fans applauded the Raptors for a season in which everyone counted them out.

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#NBAPlayoffs GM6: It Got Ugly for the Toronto Raptors in Brook-lyn

Inside the Purple Room Playoffs Edition GM6: Prior to the tip coach Jason Kidd was fined for criticizing the referees. I would say it was money well spent. However, the Raptors just feel out of sync from the get go. It couldn’t be because of the lack of animosity by the home crowd. I’m sure it wasn’t about being starstruck but the celebrities from Jay-Z to Rosie O’Donnell. It was getting off to a slow start that had the vets Kevin Garnett & Paul Pierce capitalize in the paint and from beyond the arc. It had Andre Blatche on point hauling down 7 rebounds; Deron Williams with 23 points, doing everything he was called upon to do. Lucky for the Toronto Raptors they have another chance to close this one out back home. No team has won a Game 7 in franchise history. This marks 13 years since the last time the Raptors played their biggest game in franchise history.

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#NBAPlayoffs Still Angry after the Toronto Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets GM5

With 9.7 seconds to play Amir Johnson had a brain cramp and fouled a decent three pointer in Alan Anderson. Mind you this is Alan Anderson’s first playoff experience after being in the league for four years. Fortunately, for the Raptors they converted on their free throws and in the words of Chuck Hayes, “When we need someone, we call on Kyle Lowry.” Coming back from a 26 point deficit and capitalizing on a 44-point forth quarter by the Brooklyn Nets made for a sleepless night for coach Casey. While the reporters were updating the Raptors on Mayor Rob Ford and his latest allegations Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett may have been dumbfounded as to why they didn’t get a minute in the 4th quarter. The rule of thumb in basketball is to role with the hot hand and despite the soon-to-be-hall of famers struggling from the field the inexperienced head coach Jason Kidd made the right decision. Fouling Andray Blatche late in the game was a smart move. Instead of anticipating another tie ball game. The call out by the Brooklyn Nets twitter account to set their PVR and take note of how Raptors fans engage in games, is a definite statement heading into tonight. The Toronto Raptors look to win their first seven game series in franchise history tonight. The season is on the line for the most expensive team in the NBA.

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Emerging from the Funk: #NBAPlayoffs GM4 Toronto Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets

Inside the Purple Room: We were at Longos in Maple Leaf Square anticipating the start of game four with some fans in attendance. Everyone was pumped and hoping the Raptors would limit their turnovers and Terrence Ross would be the X-Factor. However, my main man Amir Johnson came through in the clutch. Kyle Lowry was the engine that could. At a point in time Kyle Lowry was hobbling on one leg and dug team to score 22 points. When in double the answer is right in front of them…Kyle Lowry. I ask you again where would we be without Kyle Lowry! He is the #raptors all-star. The Nets veterans Paul Pierce long distance jumpers hit rim and popped out. Deron Williams & Joe Johnson combined for a total of 19 points on 19 field goals. The richest team in the NBA couldn’t execute the victory. Does that say something about how this series will go?

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NBA Playoffs Raptors vs Brookyln Nets GM3

Inside the Purple Room Playoffs GM3: The Toronto Raptors came out of the game slow and got handed the loss after rallying back in the late stages of the 4th quarter. Deron Williams was going up for a monster dunk until JV denied him but he earned his stripes at the line. Joe Johnson was the man, picking up steam in the second half as he finished with a team high 29 points. Patrick Patterson was mad at himself for missing two vital free throws after making it a 2 point game with 19 seconds to play. The double teams came early for JV. Should the Raptors think about going zone? Here we go!

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Toronto Raptors vs Brooklyn Nets NBA Playoffs GM2

Game 2 2014 NBA Playoffs: Toronto Raptors settled the jitter bugs and DeMar DeRozan’s 3 hour nap had to help execute the 30 point game he had for the Raptors. Kevin Garnett knew that they would get one in Toronto but isn’t concerned going back to Brooklyn. Landry Fields got his time to shine. His Stanford education went a long way understanding his defensive assignments. Jonas Valanciunas didn’t back down from the soon-to-be Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett. What is it about Joe Johnson and Deron Williams who continue to find their groove in the second half.

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The #NBAPlayoffs touchdown in Toronto

Inside The Purple Room #NBAPlayoffs GM1: Fans came out by the dozens dawning their Raptors gear, ready to cheer on the young dinos. The Raptors took center stage as they kicked off the #NBAPlayoffs on Saturday afternoon with the jitterbugs flowing it took until the first timeout for the Raptors to settle things down. DeMar DeRozan had a Vince Carter-esque type first game experience. He had a hard time getting himself to the line compared to the regular season where he was 6th in free throw attempts. Paul Pierce & Kevin Garnett live for the close games scenarios as they executed 6 straight points. That lead to the Raptors demise. Since game one the Toronto Raptors have been studying film, dissecting plays and will be confident coming into Game 2, Tuesday night.

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