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Raptors fans call ‘Jurassic Park’ the pride of the city


Toronto Raptors fans are ready to bring “Jurassic Park” to life again on Tuesday night.

If you haven’t already seen the pictures or heard the roar, Jurassic Park is the name given to the area outside the Air Canada Centre (officially known as Maple Leaf Square) during the Raptors playoff run. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment said 7,000 people crammed into the area for Game 1.

“This is the pride of the city,” said Mitchel Fritsche, who lined up more than six hours before the area opened on Tuesday.

Fritsche has watched every Raptors playoff game from the last two seasons in the square.

“I think it’s just really the atmosphere, and experiencing it with a bunch of people that make it worth it,” he said.

A cool evening spiked with heavy downpours of rain and even some hail may keep some away, but organizers still expect big crowds.

“If they are die-hard basketball fans, or hockey fans … they’ll endure whatever it is you throw at them,” said Martin Miller, one of the many security guards in the area.

Fans who watched Saturday’s playoff opener against the Washington Wizards went through the lows (a poor shooting night, star guard Kyle Lowry fouling out) and highs (Greivis Vasquez’s clutch, game-tying three-pointer) before eventually leaving disappointed by a 93-86 loss.

The Raptors will be looking for a better result in tonight’s game, which starts at 8 p.m. ET.

Here are three storylines to follow in Game 2:

  • Lou Williams, the Raps’ smooth-shooting guard, will look to prove why the NBA named him the league’s best bench player earlier this week.
  • Veteran Paul Pierce, meanwhile, will try to keep up his Raptor-slaying ways after scoring 20 points in the opener. Pierce, who drew the Raptors ire by saying the team doesn’t have “it” ahead of the series, admits he’s enjoying playing the villain.
  • Kyle Lowry is the heart and soul of the Raptors, but the all-star will need to score more and avoid foul trouble if the team is going to get back into the series. Lowry doesn’t seem worried, telling reporters earlier this week that “Game 1 is just Game 1.”

The CBC’s Greg Ross, at the Air Canada Centre for Game 2, took a look at what it’s like to walk from the dressing room out the tunnel and onto the court. Take a look in the video below.

CBC | Toronto News

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