Young Raptors player Scottie Barnes already knew the Toronto Raptors were the pride of basketball fans across Canada. Certain visits made during the preparatory calendar, such as that of Friday evening in Montreal, nevertheless confirmed his impressions.
The atmosphere reigning at the Bell Center, in a victory of 137 to 134 in overtime against the Boston Celtics, did not leave indifferent the one who was voted rookie of the year in the NBA last season.
“Even last year, without having traveled like that [during the preparatory calendar], I had noticed, mentioned Barnes, before leaving Montreal with his teammates. From the moment I was drafted [in April 2021] and throughout the summer, I felt that all of Canada was behind us. Now, visiting different Canadian cities, I see how the whole country supports the Raptors.
“It's electric, described the 21-year-old Floridian, who is particularly demonstrative on the ground. You feel that energy and it makes the players work even harder on the court. It was crazy in Edmonton and it was the same here in Montreal. It's good to have this atmosphere for preseason games.”
With the support of an entire country, the Raptors probably enjoy an advantage that other NBA teams do not have.
“It was crazy for a preseason match, the crowd was incredible, especially since we went into overtime, commented in turn Christian Koloko. It's definitely an advantage for us.”
Before beating the Celtics in Montreal, the Raptors had also been fed by the crowd, on October 2 in Edmonton, when dominating the Jazz of the Utah by the score of 114 to 82. In five preparatory games in Montreal since 2012, the Toronto squad has never been defeated.
“It's a big amphitheater here in Montreal , the spectators probably got their money's worth, for his part indicated the head coach of the Raptors, Nick Nurse. It's really nice and quite unique to see such electricity for a preseason game.”
For the rest, the Raptors look to the start of their regular season, Wednesday in Toronto, against the Cavaliers of Cleveland. If they will then feel the support of the Scotiabank Arena crowd directly, the players will surely keep in mind the support of their many fans across Canada, including those who were in Montreal.
Katrine Johns has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Gal Post, Katrine Johns worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my firstname.lastname@example.org 1-800-268-7128