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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

Red Hot Raptors Quietly Roll Along


By Fred Wallace

Earlier we talked about the value of a winning team as the ultimate promotion, and used the Toronto Raptors of the NBA as one example.

But as good as the Raptors have been, and they are the best in the Eastern Conference as we head into the weekend, they can't seem to impress the BIG TIME TV people in the United States who find other teams more interesting, or more financially appealing, to their viewing public.

This was the case on Christmas Day when the Raptors opened presents rather than performed in one of the annual Showcase Games.

And last Friday, as Toronto coach Dwayne Casey noted, there was no excuse for the Raptors and Houston not to have their showdown on a major carrier.

The Rockets, currently considered a favorite to win the NBA West, came into Toronto on a 17 game winning streak.

The Raptors were on a 6 game win streak.

It was a perfect climax, a showdown, the very thing TV producers and executives dream about....but there was to be no significant US exposure for the Houston-Toronto game.

The scenario facing the NBA Raptors is not unlike what the Blue Jays faced in the mid 80's onward in Major League Baseball.

Truthfully, I think the best thing for the Raptors is to remain silent, get motivated, and if the post season unfolds the way regular season has to this point, they might be on American TV  when it matters most.

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