By Ryan McNeill
Last night the Raptors had an 18-point lead in the final seconds of the game when Marcus Banks stole the ball and Leandro Barbosa got the layup to push the team above 100 points.
Anybody who has followed the Raptors for the past few years knows the fans go crazy when the team scores over 100 points because it results in each fan being able to go to Pizza Pizza the next day for a free slice of pizza.
A couple players and members of the Cavaliers coaching staff didn’t see the merit in this and were irked over what they perceived to be a sign poor sportsmanship.
Byron Scott scowled after the game when asked about this and muttered, “No comment.”
Personally, I think this is a case of the Cavs making a big deal out of a mole hill. All they needed to do was wander over to the lockers of Joey Graham, Jamario Moon or Anthony Parker to get the scoop on why scoring 100 points was such a big deal for the fans.
The reality of is this is going to be a long season in Toronto where the home fans don’t have a lot to cheer about so it’s great the players are doing everything they can to get the fans excited – even if it’s extending their lead in the final seconds of a blowout.
It’s not what makes sense for a lot of basketball purists, but it did result in arguably the loudest cheer of the night.
Granted, there was a game last season at the Air Canada Centre where Charlotte Bobcats head coach Larry Brown instructed his team to dribble the ball until they were called for a 24 second violation, but that was a road game for the Bobcats. They weren’t playing in front of their own fans and scoring another bucket wouldn’t result in anything of substance.
After talking with the players in the Raptors locker room after the game it became clear they only wanted to get the fans excited about getting some free pizza on Saturday.
“We weren’t trying to disrespect them, we weren’t trying to humiliate them or nothing,” Sonny Weems told the media after the game. “We did that for our fans. If we get 100 points the fans get pizza.”
Jay Triano, however, was a little less political about what transfolded.
“How many years did we watch them dance down there with all the hoot and hollering and everything?” Triano vented. “It’s a different team so it probably wasn’t the right thing to do to score, but our fans come to these games and they’re going to be here to support us for 41 games and we play this team three more times.”
Regardless of what the reason was, the players only wanted their home fans to be able to enjoy some pizza and there’s nothing to get upset about that.
But, if it comes at the expense of a team that you feel showboated last season, well, that’s just an added bonus.