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Morning Coffee – Sun, Mar 29

Superfan is too integrated into the Raptors organization.

SIMMONS SAYS: Confrontations with angry season ticket holders ends in compromise for Leafs and Raptors | Toronto Sun

Frustrated and disappointed season ticket holders of the Maple Leafs and Raptors will get a financial break of some sort on Monday when they’re informed that their April 8 deadline payment on next season’s tickets will be pushed back a month.

That decision has been made after heated exchanges between season ticket holders and account executives, many that ended up with name-calling and threats of removing tickets.

The change of date by one month is a consolation of some kind for those who have been scrapping with Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. The push back is nice at first glance but still probably not enough for those whose businesses, lives or professions have been on hold in the wake of COVID-19.

Earlier, MLSE had offered some financial flexibility for season ticket holders of the Argos and Toronto FC. The big money, though, comes from Leafs and Raptors tickets.

The request for a down payment on season tickets, moved to May 8 now, comes without understanding of what happens to money already paid for tickets and games that may not be played. There are seven games left on the Maple Leafs regular season schedule and nine Raptors games remaining. All of them paid in full by ticket holders.

With the likelihood that the remaining money will be advanced towards the purchase of next season’s tickets. Raptor ticket prices have gone up by 6% for the coming season, Leafs tickets will be up around 9% price.

What the NBA can learn from China's attempt to restart basketball during the coronavirus pandemic

Various ideas have been floated by players and executives. One is to consider using a sprawling casino property in Las Vegas, where everything could be held under one roof. Others have suggested playing in the Bahamas, where a ballroom could be converted into a playing court specifically for broadcast. There has even been talk of taking over a college campus in the Midwest, where reported cases of COVID-19 are lower for the moment.

Whatever the location, it would be a place where teams could sleep, train, eat and, hopefully, be kept healthy enough to have confidence in resuming play — maybe not to finish out the season but to at least get restarted.

But as the repeated false starts and delays in Asia have shown, this is a massive challenge. When the idea of being quarantined in a hotel with other teams to resume play was presented on the Road Trippin’ podcast this week, LeBron James said, “I ain’t going for that s—. I’m not going for that.”

He also reiterated that he didn’t want to play without fans in the building but would do so if that’s what it took to get back to the floor. Such concessions may be necessary if James wants a shot at playing for a championship this year.

There’s no handbook on how to handle a global pandemic for sports leagues. This week, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban speculated that the league could be playing again by mid-May.

But in China, projections for return dates have come and gone many times. It turns out bubble-building can be hard.

NBA by the numbers: Key stats for each team – Sports Illustrated

Toronto Raptors
.712 – Nick Nurse’s winning percentage as a head coach. While the sample size may be small, in almost two full seasons Nurse has already won a NBA Championship, made a strong case for coach of the year, and for the moment narrowly beat out Steve Kerr (who took a hit this season) for best Win-Loss Percentage of any coach in NBA history.

The NBA Goes From Entertaining to Informing – The Ringer

Fauci, who has become the de facto national virus czar, was long ago captain of his high school hoops team at Regis in New York, and is beloved by the likes of Bob Cousy. (According to a Reddit commenter whom I can’t vouch for but I choose to believe, Fauci’s office also contains “signed game balls from coachK [sic] and either Dean Smith or Roy. Man loves his basketball.”) So it seems quite likely that Fauci has spent time marveling over Curry’s on-court supremacy. These days, though, it’s the NBA superstar who admires the doctor’s work.

“I appreciate your commitment to protecting the masses,” Curry told Fauci, then spent the next half-hour going down his list of crowd-sourced, carefully worded questions—about testing, and immunity, and comparisons to influenza, and what’s to come and what to do. “You see all the different visuals of people at the beach, in parks, at crazy social gatherings,” Curry pointed out, “and not really adhering to that social distancing concept.” His tone was more quizzical than judgmental; it genuinely felt like he sought to educate, not shame.

It was only (somehow) two weeks ago that the NBA suspended its season in order to avoid being one more source of those crazy social gatherings, a decision that, like so much else in a pandemic, was both surprisingly abrupt and overdue. Now, Curry has become the latest NBA personality to use his platform to advance COVID-19 awareness in an attempt to influence our public health. As the coronavirus has spread from a rare novelty to a global reality, the NBA and its players, once cautionary examples, are now setting thoughtful and powerful ones.

Raptors' Game 4 win over 76ers remains a Kawhi Leonard masterpiece – Sportsnet.ca

Obviously Game 3 in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors was important, given that the Raptors had split against Golden State at home, and Games 3 and 4 against the Milwaukee Bucks after Toronto went down 0-2 were significant, and yes, Game 7 against the Sixers was critical.

But, chances are, none of those happen without the Raptors’ win in Philly that tied the series 2-2. The team that goes up 3-1 in wins the series 95.5 per cent of the time, according to WhoWins.com and you wouldn’t have bet on the Raptors to do it against what was a huge, talented Sixers club that seemed to be finding its stride.

Toronto trailed 2-1 heading into Game 4 and the Sixers were looking terrifying. They’d blown out Toronto in Game 3, with Joel Embiid shredding a Marc Gasol-woven cocoon to go off for 33 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. There was no reason to think the then 25-year-old would retreat. He seemed to be on the ascent. Who knew that outside of his Game 3 explosion Embiid would average 15 points on 33 per cent shooting with more than four turnovers a game?

Meanwhile, Raptors not named Kawhi were struggling. Nick Nurse had basically abandoned playing his bench. Through three games Fred VanVleet and Norm Powell had scored 13 points — combined.

Toronto needed something special and Leonard delivered.

His line — spectacular as it was — only says so much. Anytime someone puts up 39 points on 20 shots in a playoff game while finding the energy to grab 14 rebounds, you can say, ‘Hey, good game.’

But not all brilliant games are created equally. This was not some track meet where points were up for grabs and the defence was turned up every other possession. It felt like something from decades past. The pace factor for the game was 91 — 10 possessions less than the Raptors averaged in the regular season and the slowest game they had played in the post-season to that point. It ended up being the third-slowest game Toronto played in the playoffs in their 24-game run.

Most Interesting stat for Lakers, Clippers, Bucks and Raptors – Sports Illustrated

As the NBA community awaits to see if the 2019-2020 season will resume, The Crossover is taking a look at the most interesting stat for all 30 NBA teams. SI’s Luka Vasic takes a look at the Lakers, Clippers, Bucks and Raptors and what significant underlying stat has contributed to their success this season. 

The Five greatest Toronto Raptors players of all time

5. Damon Stoudamire

I was going to go with Pascal Siakam here but I’m going with the team’s first-ever non-expansion draft pick. Possibly a bit unknown for newer NBA fans, Stoudamire was Toronto’s first star and although he only played two and a half seasons with the team, he was special.

The 1996 NBA rookie of the year averaged 19.6 points per game in his Raptors career while also being one of the best facilitators in the game with 8.8 assists per game in his time with the team.

4. Chris Bosh

Before joining up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in South Beach, Bosh was one of the best power forwards of the late 2000s.

It took him a year or two to figure things out but by his third season, the 6-foot-11 big man was averaging 22.5 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Bosh would have four more All-Star seasons in Toronto before leaving for Miami.

3. Vince Carter

The most exciting player in franchise history and still in the league today, Vinsanity was a sensation in his Raptor days. Acquiring the high-flyer during the 1998 draft for the rights to Antwan Jamison, Carter quickly became one of the most lethal scorers in the league.

The 6-foot-6 wing averaged a career-high 27.6 points per game in only his third year and was an All-Star Weekend staple before being traded to the New Jersey Nets in 2004.

Antetokounmpo to Drake: Raptors Superfan is most irritating to engage in in entrance of – Mashviral News

In spite of the background of fantastic-spirited trolling, when Draked requested Antetekounmpo who the most annoying individual to participate in in front of was, it was a distinct Toronto icon who came to brain.

“He sits on the still left of our bench when we enjoy the Raptors, he’s the Superfan with the beard, he usually talks crap,” Antetekounmpo explained jokingly. “Definitely not you, Drake.”

The Raptors Superfan, whose real name is Nav Bhatia, has been a fixture at Raptors household game titles given that the team’s inaugural period. This previous calendar year, adhering to Toronto’s historic NBA Finals gain, he also grew to become the 1st fan in NBA background to be presented a championship ring.

“Love you like loved ones ahead of and after the activity but in the course of these 48 minutes I have to do no matter what it can take to give my boys the edge!” Bhatia tweeted in reaction to Antetekounmpo’s reviews. “You have to know when you check out Toronto you get the 1-2 punch, Drake then the superfan. Evening meal on me up coming time, #staysafe.”

Born and raised in Delhi, India, Bhatia moved to Canada in the 1980s and attended his 1st Raptors match in 1995. Three many years of attending online games later, he was presented the title of “Superfan” by former Raptors general manager and Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas.

Previously this yr, it was announced he would grow to be just one of the very first honourees into a new ‘Superfan Gallery’ at the Basketball Corridor of Fame.

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