NBA Canada gains from Raptors' playoff run
Kawhi Leonard’s buzzer-beating basket against the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday was very close to a miracle. So is getting a cheap ticket for the Toronto Raptors’ home games in the next round of the basketball playoffs.
The least expensive available ticket for the Eastern Conference Final game Wednesday in Milwaukee is about US$87 on TicketMaster, or US$70 on StubHub. Fans in Toronto, meanwhile, will have to pay almost three times as much, with the cheapest tickets for Game 3 on Sunday at US$245 to US$199 on these two sites.
The gap is also wide for the best seats. A courtside spot near rapper Drake is selling for US$9,000 on StubHub for Sunday’s game at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. At the Fiserv Forum in Wisconsin, the best seat to watch the Bucks in Game 1 can be had for about US$4,000.
Blame it on Kawhi. The sleek forward made National Basketball Association history by draining a basket in the final second Sunday, the first time a play-off series has been decided in a Game 7 with a so-called buzzer beater.
The shot was one for the ages. With the game tied at 90, the Raptors gave the ball to Leonard near the center of the court. There were about 4 seconds left on the clock. He sprinted to the far corner and threw up a shot just ahead of the final buzzer, over the outstretched arm of seven-foot center Joel Embiid.
Then time stood still. As Leonard looked on, squatting in the corner sideline, the high arcing ball hit the near side rim of the basket, not once, but twice. It then bounced to the far side and kissed the rim again before sliding in. Four rim touches, one basket, and one massive celebration for the fans packing Scotiabank Arena.
It’s no wonder ticket prices are jumping, as this shot will be etched in the history of Canadian sports-history moments, said Dan MacKenzie, managing director of NBA Canada. With 13 Canadians now playing in the NBA -- more than any non-U.S. country -- the future of the sport is bright north of the border, he said.
For years, people will say “I got jazzed about basketball when Kawhi made that shot,” MacKenzie said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg TV.