TORONTO - On opening night at the Air Canada Centre, people stood in the corridor, holding drinks, chatting in the third quarter with the game close, and no one watching the television sets around them. No one checking the score.
"Did you hear?" the elevator operator asked. "1-0 Leafs. Lupul scored. Thought you would want to know."
And then later. "You should have seen the second goal," a familiar security guard said to me. "VanRiemsdyk. Great shot. What a goal. 2-0."
On the floor of the ACC, the Raptors lead was slipping against a team wearing Boston Celtics colours and there was cheering and noise and noisemakers in the building, as there always is, in good season and bad. That's the remarkable history of this unremarkable franchise. The basketball experience, inside the seats of the ACC, tends to be terrific, win or lose and lose more than win.