The Toronto Raptors made their preseason debut in Canada on Sunday night, but it didn’t come in the friendly confines of Scotiabank Arena. Instead, they suited up in Edmonton for the first time in years against a rebuilding Utah Jazz team that was not ready for what Toronto unleashed.
Despite only entering halftime with a one-point lead, the Raptors finished the game on top by a shocking 114-82 scoreline. The Jazz were no match for the depth, experience, and quality that Toronto displayed despite missing some noteworthy names in this contest.
While it was just a preseason game, the atmosphere in Rogers Place was about as exhilarating as one could hope for. The fans were shaking the building all night long, and the players decided that it was only fair if they showed a little love to those who made the trip to the arena.
Star PF Pascal Siakam took to Twitter to display his appreciation for the fans who showed up and made their voices heard in Edmonton, calling the whole experience “dope.” The Raptors may need to make this excursion a yearly occurrence given how well it went down on Sunday night.
The Toronto Raptors thanked all their fans in Edmonton.
“The atmosphere [was] unbelievable man,” said Raptors star point guard Fred VanVleet, who recorded three points and three rebounds in 10 minutes of work on Sunday. “It blows me away every time we get to come to these different places that don’t get to see us as much.”
Anyone who claims that the Raptors don’t have the same level of support outside the Toronto metropolitan area just saw a massive crux of their argument wither away. Rogers Place was packed, and the Raptors rewarded their devoted fanbase with a tremendous opening performance.
As if winning by 32 points wasn’t enough, every active player on the team (barring Thad Young, who played five minutes) got on the scoreboard. With stars like Scottie Barnes and non-guarantees like Josh Jackson all showing flashes that will look good in the film room, Nick Nurse couldn’t ask for much more out of his guys.
The Raptors may have been a somewhat regional team to start out in their formative years, but the last decade of dominance helped fans across the country make basketball a marquee fall event. The energy in Edmonton was electric, and it no doubt helped contribute to the win.