TORONTO - Years after sitting in the cheapest seats in the house, cheering on the Raptors, Brampton's Tristan Thompson squared off against the favoured team of his youth on Wednesday night at the ACC.
"It's amazing to come back to the homeland, play at the ACC, it's a dream come true," Thompson, who scored just one point against Raptors last night, told a massive throng of media pre-game.
"It's been a long trip, it's been a long road, I don't think I really pictured it happening until my junior year of high school and that's when I actually saw it could actually happen and just worked towards it."
Thompson, the fourth pick of the 2011 NBA draft, said he expected to have 200 people in the house to see him play.
"It's exciting to have the city of Toronto, Canada sticking by my side even though I'm playing for the Cavs," he said.
Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was concerned pre-game about containing Thompson, who is part of a bench brigade that leads the league in points per game and is also very solid on the boards.
Thompson was coming off of the best game of his five-game stint in the NBA, a 16-point, nine-rebound, two- block performance in a win over Charlotte.
"(He) has really established himself on the offensive boards. (We) need to keep a body on him," Casey said.
"We've got to be ready for him knowing that he's going to be coming in here with his high beams on."
Jamaal Magloire, the first GTA native to play in the NBA, said he remembers being extremely amped up for his first game at home. Magloire scored a season-best 16 points, along with eight rebounds and three blocks in a Charlotte blowout win back on Nov. 20, 2000.
"There were so many emotions running wild that he should be pumped," Magloire recalled.
"He should be very excited about this moment."