Last night I was lucky enough to be a witness to the greatest moment in Toronto Raptors history. I’d lucked into some tickets — good ones, too, just six rows up from the floor, and within handshake distance of Pinball Clemons, Aaron Sanchez, Dallas Green, Gerry Dee, and others — to game six of the Eastern Conference finals.
For the second game in a row, the Raps — underdogs in the series, given the Milwaukee Bucks had been the best team in the NBA this season — overcame a huge deficit. The bench was great. Kawhi was a beast. The crowd was deafening. And the Raptors won, advancing to the finals in six.
While this is the highest peak the Raptors have ever reached, everyone’s now wondering whether they can scale the next one. It won’t be easy. They’ll play Golden State in the finals, and the Warriors have been a dynasty in recent years. They’re well-rested too, having swept Portland in the Western Conference finals. But Five Thirty-Eight has the Raps as slight favourites (as of today anyway) and Chuck likes them, so…who knows? For now I’m taking a deep breath to revel in the feeling, then getting myself psyched up for game one on Thursday.
Oh, and just before the game we had dinner at the now-revamped Carisma. Gone are the cave-like feel and TV-based fireplace of the old space; it’s now bright whites and soft blues and a buzzier open space, but the food is still stellar, and my wine guy remembered me, so it was a pretty great meal. We had the burratina & sparkling wine, then agnolotti & steak, and a delicious bottle of Morellino.