Published Apr 30, 2019With the Toronto Maple Leafs out of the NHL playoffs, Toronto sports fans have only one playoff team left to support: the Toronto Raptors, who have made the second round of the NBA playoffs — the same place where their season ended the last two years.
Making sense of it all is the Talking Raptors podcast, who will bring their comedic talents and Raptors fandom to Exclaim! and Comedy Records' monthly standup showcase on Thursday, May 2 at Wenona Lodge in Toronto (1069 Bloor St. W.) after game three of the Raptors' playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Come watch the game with the Talking Raptors crew and enjoy a delightful (or devastated) comedy show after.
We spoke with Barry Taylor, Nick Reynoldson and Monty Scott about their hopes, thoughts and predictions for the Raptors as the postseason is in full swing.
"When the Raptors are doing well, the podcast kind of turns into Nick and I awkwardly gushing over the team like teens talking about their first crushes," says Talking Raptors co-host and Comedy Records co-founder Barry Taylor.
"As Raptors fans, we're used to having our hearts broken, but this year it feels like the hottest girls in school are on our team and we're not really sure how to handle it. It's a challenge trying to remain calm and act like we've been here before."
While the second round of the playoffs has led to nothing but heartbreak for Raps fans for the past two years, both at the hands of the now-depleted Cleveland Cavaliers, things appear to be looking up for Raptors Nation. "[I'm] very confident for round two," says Taylor. "The team is completely different this year, and there's no LeBron James. The Sixers are great and deserve respect, but at the end of the day, to quote Drederick Tatum, I hope we 'make orphans of their children.'"
His boldest prediction? That the Raptors will take it home.
"The weirdest thing that could happen to the Raptors is winning the Championship. Hearing the phrase 'NBA Champion Toronto Raptors' could potentially break my mind. Only thing crazier would be the team asking me if I wanted to play for them next year."
When we spoke to Talking Raptors co-host Nick Reynoldson earlier this year, he said, "I feel like we are going to win a championship and I am going to go broke buying playoff tickets." Four months later, he says his predictions are holding up. "Everything is still going to plan. Raps are kicking ass and tickets for this round are at least $200 each. If we go all the way, I will be broke for sure."
Reynoldson echoes his co-host's sentiment about avoiding second-round heartbreak a third year in a row. "There is no LeBron James in our way anymore," he says. "Thanos is gone and the Avengers will play."
Helping the Raptors' chances at taking home the gold, according to Reynoldson, is recent acquisition Jeremy Lin. "It might last seven minutes, but it's coming," says Reynoldson of the Raptors' "own mini-Linsanity."
Talking Raptors announcer Monty Scott is more sceptical than his colleagues about the Raptors' chances. "The downside of the Raptors doing well, I'd say, it's the same as anything doing well: now we have something to lose. When your team is struggling to make the playoffs, it doesn't really matter if you make it, because you don't really have a chance once you're there."
As to the Raptors' playoff chances, he has hope. "I think the Raps have easily the best — the only real chance — they've ever had to win it all. I think they might pull it off, but if not, very likely the finals."
As the field tightens up, Scott has some wild predictions for their immediate future. "You heard it here first, I'm calling 'The Fan Man.' A guy with a fan and hang glider is interrupting at least one game," he says. As for next season, "I'm looking forward to Kawhi announcing his retirement and then being hired as the Raptors new head coach."
Come cheer on the Raptors and their most outspoken fans on Thursday at the Wenona Lodge. A $10 ticket includes a pint of beer and you can get tickets in advance here.