The Toronto Raptors haven’t had fans in the arena since New Years Eve as Canada steps up its precautions against the Covid pandemic. It’s made an eerie and often silent feel at home games in Toronto that recalls when the league kept fans out of the building for nearly the entirety of last season.
The Raptors have been really good since the ruling came down, winning six straight games — five of them at home in front of nobody — entering Tuesday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns. Phoenix finally gave the Raptors a loss, and the end of the game included a hilarious moment that could only happen in an empty arena.
As Suns star Devin Booker went to the foul line to shoot free throws that would ice the victory, the Raptors mascot tried to distract him at the foul line. After sinking the first shot, Booker got mad at the mascot, and the referee sent him to the corner as punishment.
Fans try to distract opposing players every time they go to the free throw line. The Raptors mascot is literally the only fan in the building. He must have truly succeeded in distracting Booker, but he was clearly angered.
The Suns went on to win, 99-95, with Booker scoring just 16 points in the win. It was a rare off-night for the All-Star guard, who shot only 4-of-13 from the field and missed two of his eight free throw attempts. Maybe he was just in a bad mood because the ball wasn’t going in the basket for him as much as it normally does.
Don’t worry: Booker and the Raptors mascot ended fences after the game. This is an instant classic quote.
Devin Booker on his deal with the Raptors mascot: "We hashed it out. We homies now."— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) January 12, 2022
Here’s a full clip of Booker speaking about the play after the game. While he was heated in the moment, everyone got a good laugh out of it now.
More Devin Booker: "I was trying to get him out the way. It worked. I'm glad to be shooting it without him down there. We play shooting game all the time every day and these two do the same thing and I complain then. That's just me." pic.twitter.com/r6Kz2W5C8o— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) January 12, 2022
Booker doesn’t hesitate to voice his displeasure when he’s upset during a game. Remember when he got mad about double teams during a pick-up game and it became a thing?
The Raptors fans had a lot of fun with this moment.
The NBA never fails to keep us entertained.