April 22, 2014, TORONTO (ISN) – Drake sits just down to his left. The front row is celebrity central. And Tuesday night, Mayor Rob Ford was wearing Raptors red.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey is only watching what’s happening on court, however.
“Believe me I don’t think about who’s in the stands, who’s sitting next to me,” Casey said prior to Game 2 of the NBA first-round playoff series against the visiting Brooklyn Nets. “Drake’s over there yelling at referees and I hear him but I don’t see him. So my mind is on the court.
“I think it’s great for our organization, to get the hype and all that. But I don’t get caught up in that.”
Casey said when it comes to his players and playoff hype, the goal “is to make sure their mind’s still on basketball.”
It was a little more difficult spotting the celebs Tuesday given another T-shirt giveaway. The white shirts, with the words Northern Uprising on them made the stands at Air Canada Centre blizzard-white.
Prior to the game, fans who hadn’t put on the T-shirts were booed when they were shown on the big screen.
Outside the arena, fans braved a blustery evening to watch the game on the big screen at Maple Leaf Square.
In a letter to Brooklyn Borough president Eric Adams, agreeing to a friendly playoff wager, Ford said he would be at the game to see the Raptors tie up the series.
A shot of Ford wearing a Raptors top ahead of the game got wide circulation on Twitter and other social media.
The smiling mayor was shown on the video screen during the second quarter, drawing a loud response that defied immediate interpretation. He was sitting high in the stands, his red top standing out against the white backdrop.
On the good news front, the game clocks and shot clocks were working Tuesday night. They failed during the third quarter of Game 1, won 94-87 by the Nets.
The crowd inside the ACC was chanting “Let’s Go Raptors” before the opening tipoff. The fans outside were well ahead of them, having added “Brooklyn Sucks.”
Drake was at his post Tuesday, standing in front of his first-row nook just down from the Raptors bench as the players warmed up. The hip-hop star and actor is the team’s global ambassador.