Over the past couple of seasons Montreal has demonstrated to the NBA that there is a sizable basketball fanbase here. Each year over 20,000 fans bought tickets to watch a preseason game. Maybe it is time to reward that devotion by having the city host a regular season game. Just a thought.
As is tradition one of the teams is the Toronto Raptors and for the second year in a row their opponent is the New York Knicks. Toronto has become Canada’s professional team being the only one in the country so many from coast to coast cheer on the team. For the first time in a long time the team last year gave fans something to cheer about. They ended the season with a winning record (48-34) and finished in first place in the Atlantic Division eleven games ahead of the Knicks. It was disappointing when the Raptors bowed out to the Brooklyn Nets in the first round 4 games to 3. Still it was progress and fans are hoping it will continue this season.
Building off last season, the Raptors hope to continue as one of the rare teams in the East that are strong both offensively and defensively. The finished in 9th place in the league in both. Management and ownership showed their commitment to winning by resigning free agents Kyle Lowry, Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez. They can also rely on DeMar DeRozan, Jonas Valaciunas, Terrence Ross, and Tyler Hansbrough. Led by Lowry and DeRozan the team is looking to prove that last season was not a fluke.
Last season was not a good one for the Knicks as they only won 37 games and ended out of the playoffs. Not acceptable for a team that has Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire in their starting line-up. To right the ship they made two important hires over the off season. First former Lakers and Bulls coach Phil Jackson came on as the team’s general manager and he then hired one of his former players, Derek Fisher, as the team’s new coach. That must mean that the Jacksonian famous triangle offense might be reincarnating in New York. The Knicks are good on offense; they just have to commit to playing better defense to be successful. Anthony and Stoudemire will be helped out by the likes of Tim Hardaway Jr., Canadian Samuel Dalembert and J.R. Smith. Two former Raptors, Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon, now play for the Knicks.
-Date: October 24, 2014
-Venue: Bell Centre
-Ticket Purchase: www.evenko.ca
-Ticket Prices: $22.00, $41.00, $57.00, $77.00, $97.00, $137.00, $167.00, $193.00, $268.00, $368.00, $518.00 (plus handling charges)
-Game Time: 7:30 p.m.