The Toronto Raptors were so bad in the season opener that Drake left early
The Toronto Raptors finally got their long-awaited homecoming celebration last night during the first regular-season game at the Scotiabank Arena in 600 days.
A heartbreaking game seven loss in the 2020 NBA bubble and a less-than-stellar showing during the 2021 season, where home games were played in Tampa, made last night's return all the more important, but the Raptors didn't exactly deliver.
Last night, the Vault was at full capacity for the tip-off of the Raptors' 27th season in the NBA, and excitement was high for the first true home game since a very different looking team played the Charlotte Hornets on Feb. 28, 2020.
It was a sellout crowd, including perhaps the team's highest-profile fan, with Raptors brand ambassador Drake occupying his regular courtside position to welcome the new-look squad (for real this time) kicking off their season against the Washington Wizards.
7:30pm in Toronto. pic.twitter.com/uuJ8zNLdW7— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 20, 2021
Drake's love for the Raptors hasn't kept him from showing admiration from other teams. He famously had to cover up his Steph Curry and Kevin Durant tattoos during the Raptors v. Warriors NBA Finals in 2019, and was spotted hugging it out with Wizards star Bradley Beal before the game.
Still, it didn't take long for Drake to get up to his typical trash-talking antics, exchanging words with the Wizards' Montrezl Harrell during the second quarter of the game.
A known agitator in the league, Harrell was issued a technical foul after Drake apparently got in his head.
Drake got Montrezl Harrell T’d up after they exchanged words 💀 pic.twitter.com/T7Xq40Ryxp— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 21, 2021
But before the Certified Lover Boy's legion of fans could lash out, Harrell cleared the air right after the game, telling NBC Sports, "Me and Drake was laughing. There was no problems there. We even talked after the game. It was a cool conversation, but it turned left when the coach started chiming in behind the bench."
"I don't need all of Toronto on my bumper now," said Harrell. "I don't need Toronto on my bumper now. Don't get on my Instagram now. Me and Drake are cool, y'all."
But all the excitement to be at a Raptors home game once again and even a dash of drama weren't enough to keep Drake in his courtside seats.
By the second half, the Raptors were getting absolutely clobbered, and October's Very Own must've not been enjoying the show too much. He appeared to have left the game at some point after halftime.
Drake took off at halftime, which is a better look than falling asleep in his seat would've been, so I back it. https://t.co/iikMmB6HTW— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) October 21, 2021
It wasn't all bad, though. Some of the team's new, young talent impressed right out of the gate. Fans were excited to see 4th overall draft pick Scottie Barnes, who logged 12 points and 9 rebounds for a solid debut.
Scottie got that ol' school in the bag pic.twitter.com/jjq5n9p2N9— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 21, 2021
Rexdale's own Dalano Banton had less of an impact on the final score, with 7 points and 4 rebounds, but it was his first-ever NBA bucket that gave fans something to really cheer for.
Raptors play-by-play announcer Matt Devlin, known for his animated three-pointer calls shouting out locations near and far, must've been ready for a long-range shot from Banton, calling out "from Rexdale" after Banton hurled a buzzer-beating three from just beyond the half-court mark.
It wasn't an impactful three points, but it sure lit up the crowd and offered hope at the end of the third quarter.
The Raptors would close the gap in the fourth quarter, but it wouldn't be enough to undo the damage done early on, the team falling to the Wizards 98-83.
Tough result, but good to be home. pic.twitter.com/kmob9iItxl— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 21, 2021
Hopefully, the next home game gives fans like Drake more reason to stay in their seats.
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