The Toronto Raptors will try to make history by becoming the first Canadian team to win an NBA championship when they take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 at Scotiabank Arena.
The Raptors took a decisive 3-1 series lead against the Warriors with a 105-92 Game 4 win at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., last Friday and will continue their quest for the Larry O’Brien Trophy on Monday night in Toronto.
“We haven’t done anything,” said veteran Raptors guard Kyle Lowry. “We still got to get one more win. It’s the first to four.”
From coast to coast, Raptors fans have watched as the team has surged past the Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks en route to the finals, led by a suffocating defence and the quiet-yet-deadly offence of Kwahi Leonard.
Here’s what you need to know before Game 5:
Can I get a ticket?
Raptors centre Serge Ibaka (9) shoots the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11) in Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena on June 7, 2019.
The short answer is no — unless you’re willing to spend almost $10,000.
Tickets for the entire series sold out almost immediately last month, leaving fans with no choice but to turn to the secondary market, where tickets are being sold for thousands of dollars.
The average price for a Game 5 ticket on the secondary market is US$6,000 (C$8,000) making it the most expensive NBA Finals game on record, according to the price aggregator site TicketIQ. The cheapest Game 5 seats at Scotiabank Arena were listed at US$2,500 (C$3,320) on StubHub and SeatGeek on Saturday.
Want to sit courtside? A ticket near the action will set you back about US$15,000.
Getting into Jurassic Park
Toronto Raptors fans line up outside the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Monday, June 10, 2019, to gain access to Jurassic Park ahead of Game 5 of the NBA Finals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Raptors fans began lining up to get into Jurassic Park, located outside Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, early Saturday morning to get a spot in the outdoor fan zone.
There is no cost to get into Jurassic Park, but space is limited to get into the key viewing party. There is enough room in the public viewing area for roughly 5,000 people.
The Raptors have added additional video screens along Bremner Boulevard for the NBA Finals. The actual line is in a fenced-off area around the corner from Jurassic Park off Bremner Boulevard and near the Gardiner Expressway.
Massive screens, a live DJ, performances, food and drinks are all featured at Jurassic Park. All sales will be cashless for quicker service.
The Jurassic Park viewing experience has also been expanded across the Greater Toronto Area and beyond.
Here is a list of free outdoor screenings in the GTA:
- Scarborough: Jurassic Park Scarborough at Albert Campbell Square
- Mississauga: Jurassic Park West at Celebration Square
- Brampton: Garden Square
- Vaughan: Jurassic Park Vaughan at Vaughan City Hall
- Richmond Hill: Richmond Green Sports Centre and Park
- Newmarket: Jurassic Commons at Riverwalk Commons
- Ajax: Jurassic Park of the East at Pat Bayly Square
Other Canadian cities holding viewing parties include Halifax, Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Abbotsford, B.C.
If you happen to be a Raptors fan in Illinois, the city of Rockford is “Jurassic Park RKFD” for Game 5. The northern Illinois city is home to backup point guard Fred VanVleet, whose strong play has helped that Raptors in the finals.
Where else can I watch the game?
Bars and restaurants will be featuring the action along with select Cineplex theatres across Ontario.
Galaxy Cinemas in Barrie, Guelph and Peterborough will be screening the games along with Scotiabank Theatre in Ottawa and SilverCity Cinemas in Burlington, Newmarket, Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Windsor.
Other major viewing parties are being held at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Ontario Place, The Rec Room and Pick 6ix Sports.
Tipoff is at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Monday, June 10, and fans will be able to watch or listen to the games on ABC, Sportsnet and Sportsnet 590 The FAN.
Is Kevin Durant playing?
Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, left, walks away from referee Ken Mauer during the first half of Game 5 of the team’s second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Houston Rockets in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot, File)
Warriors star Kevin Durant has been listed as a “game-time decision” for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, according to the team’s injury report.
The All-Star forward practised Monday, but his return is still up in the air after days filled with murky updates about his health and reports that the Warriors were growing frustrated with his continued absence.
“He went through full shootaround and went back to get treatment,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ll list him game-time decision, but it looked good and we’ll see where it all goes.”
Durant has been out since May 8 with a calf strain he suffered in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. He’s averaged 26 points per game for the Warriors during the regular season and 34.2 points in 11 playoff games and was having a superb playoff run before the injury.
The Warriors are also contending with a number of injuries to key players. Klay Thompson is playing through a left hamstring injury, and big man Kevon Looney is dealing with a nondisplaced first costal cartilage fracture on his right side, according to ESPN.
Who is starting?
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) reacts as he’s removed from the game in foul trouble during the second half of Game 3 NBA Eastern Conference finals basketball action against the Milwaukee Bucks in Toronto on Sunday, May 19, 2019.
Expect Raptors head coach Nick Nurse to start Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, and Marc Gasol in game 5.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr will likely start Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus Cousins, and Draymond Green. Currently, it is unclear what action Kevin Durant would see in Game 5.
The Raptors historic post-season has seen them move from massive underdogs to the favourite in the 2019 NBA Finals.
The Raptors opened 3.5-point favourites to end the series, with the total opening at 212 points, according to the gambling website Oddsshark.com.
Toronto preparing for epic conclusion
Despite the weather, Toronto city officials are preparing for massive crowds in the downtown core for Game 5.
A number of road closures near Scotiabank Arena will begin as early as 7 a.m. and continue until the early hours of Tuesday.
- Maple Leaf Square (Bremner Boulevard from Lake Shore Boulevard West to York Street) will be closed from 7 a.m. on Monday until 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
- York Street (between Lake Shore Boulevard West and Front Street West) and Bremner Boulevard (between Lower Simcoe Street and York Street) will be closed beginning as early as 9 a.m. on Monday until 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
- Bremner Boulevard from Lower Simcoe Street to Rees Street will be closed beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday until 2 a.m. on Tuesday.
Officials are encouraging members of the public to leave the car at home on Monday night and consider taking public transit, cycling or walking.
The TTC is adding five more trains and 25 additional buses before and after the game to help shuttle people in and out of the downtown core before and after the game.
—With files from the Canadian Press and Global News
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