Rick Zamperin: Toronto Raptors, and their fans, must pull out all the stops

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (R) and guard Fred VanVleet (L) during their NBA Eastern Conference semifinal playoff game against the Boston Celtics on September 1, 2020. EPA/ERIK S. LESSER SHUTTERSTOCK OUT

This isn’t a do or die situation, far from it actually, but the Toronto Raptors need a serious dose of mojo heading into a virtual must-win Thursday night.

Toronto has dropped the first two games of their second round NBA playoff series against the Boston Celtics, losing 112-94 on Sunday and 102-99 on Tuesday, two games in which the Raps didn’t executive very well on the offensive side of the ball.

On the other side of the court, the Celtics have been on point in the first two games of this series, hitting big shots and playing solid defence.

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Aside from getting into a groove on offence, Toronto needs to rediscover the extra gear that guided them to another 50-plus win season.

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The Raptors rallied from a 2-0 series deficit in last year’s Eastern Conference Final against the Milwaukee Bucks, a U-turn that was keyed by Toronto’s 118-112 double-overtime victory in Game 3 in front of 19,923 fans at Scotiabank Arena.

There are no fans to help them this time, not in the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, so the Raps will have to dig down deep and find that extra bit of adrenaline.

It may also be time for Raptors fans to change up their routine. Hey, as I said, the defending champions need a serious dose of mojo.

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I’m a big believer in superstitions, the wackier the better.

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So, if you’ve been watching the Raptors while wearing your lucky socks, take them off. If you have been sitting in the same spot during the playoffs, pick a new seat. And if your pre-game meal has been the same dish, change it up.

As silly as it seems, it’s all hands on deck, and it’s time for the Raptors – and their fans – to pull out all the stops.

Rick Zamperin is the assistant program, news and senior sports director at Global News Radio 900 CHML.

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