Raptors’ Ujiri jokes that rare late start could lift team to Game 1 win

Ujiri jokes about rare late start for Raptors

TORONTO — After years of being cursed by the NBA post-season scheduling gods, the Toronto Raptors finally have been given a favourable start time.

The Raptors host Milwaukee in Game 1 of the opening round at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, prompting team president Masai Ujiri to quip that might finally mean a victory.

“Well, we have changed it from a 6 a.m. game to a 5:30 p.m. game so. . .,” Ujiri said laughing. “Oops I might get fined for that one.”

The Raptors have never won a Game 1 of an opening-round series. They also haven’t opened the playoffs in the evening since way back in 2002.

Toronto was slotted into the 12:30 p.m. matinee game in five straight playoff appearances before this year.

“I’m just more excited that we don’t have the noon game,” Kyle Lowry said. “That’s more exciting than everything.”

Ujiri’s comment Friday isn’t likely to get him fined, but if it does it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. He was fined US$25,000 in 2014 when he famously paired an F-bomb and “Brooklyn” while addressing the Toronto crowd outside the Air Canada Centre.

He was slapped with a US$35,000 fine — plus the team was fined US$25,000 — for more playoff shenanigans in 2015. Addressing the crowd in Maple Leaf Square once again, he said: “People want me to say something about Paul Pierce but, we don’t give a (expletive) about ‘it.'”

Ujiri was responding to Pierce’s comments about how the Raptors didn’t have the “it” factor to win a playoff series.




Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

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