2. The Return of Kawhi Leonard
Los Angeles Clippers at Raptors – Dec. 11, 2019
He brought Toronto its first “Big Four” sports championship since 1993, and now, he’s back. The return of Kawhi Leonard is going to be like the return of DeMar DeRozan on steroids. While it lacks the emotional backstory, it has that little gold band called a championship ring to bolster its importance in the minds of Torontonians.
Will Kawhi address the crowd? Will the length of the standing ovation surpass that of the one DeRozan received last season? Could there even be some ill will coming down from what would surely be a small, but audible, minority?
The ring ceremony might be the official championship celebration, but the night of Dec. 11 might turn into the unofficial one.
Christmas Day Game
3. Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors – Dec. 25, 2019
For the Raptors, 2019 has been a year of firsts. And just as the year winds down, another first will be checked off the list; first Christmas Day game at home.
This matchup with the Boston Celtics is the Raptors’ first on the holiday since 2001, when they travelled to Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks, falling 102-94. In losing Kyrie Irving, Al Horford and Terry Rozier, the Celtics seem to be employing the addition by subtraction theory.
With their core of Jayson Tatum and Gordon Hayward intact, plus the newly acquired Kemba Walker, they are a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference. Overall, this should make for an interesting matchup on the NBA’s biggest stage outside of the postseason.