Of all the major sports the one that Montreal has never had a team in is the NBA. Besides traveling to American cities to see the best professional basketball players ply their trade the only opportunity has sprung up over the past couple of years in which the Toronto Raptors have come to the Bell Centre to play a pre-season game dubbed the NBA Canada Series. Yes, it is not a real game, but it is as close as we are going to get for the foreseeable future. Plus over the past few seasons the Raptors have been a good team worth spending money to see play. The Toronto Raptors are the only Canadian team in the NBA.
Last season the Raptors played the Knicks and over 20,000 people were in attendance. The Raptors won that game. This year’s opponent will be a tougher test. This year they are playing the Washington Wizards. A team that knocked the Raptors out of the playoffs last season in the first round, so there should be some axes to grind.
On each team there are players worth the price of your ticket. On Washington they have two good point guards in All-Star and team leader John Wall along with the younger Bradley Beal, who played well during the playoffs last year with Wall out injured. Their big men include centre Nene and power forward Kris Humphries. Garrett Temple and Marcin Gortat are also players to watch.
The Raptors are coming off back-to-back Atlantic titles, but disappointing playoffs. They are once again a strong team and should take the Atlantic Division. They added Canadian guard Cory Joseph, Luis Scola and Bismack Biyombo in the off season. They join the core group of point guard Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozen and Terence Ross. Difference makers could be the recently signed (for a lot of cash) DeMare Carroll and Jonas Valanciunas. Carroll is a solid swingman that will add toughness, solid defense and hustle to the team while Valanciunas should be ready to breakout this season.
-Date: October 23, 2015
-Venue: Bell Centre
-Ticket Purchase: www.evenko.ca
-Ticket Prices: $25.75, $39.75, $55.75, $75.75, $95.75, $135.75, $165.75, $191.75$266.75, $366.75, $516.75 (plus handling charges)
-Game Time: 7:30 p.m.