The L.A. Clippers are set to face the Toronto Raptors Friday, Feb. 1. Only, the NBA team had nowhere to practice today.
The Air Canada Centre had the ice laid out for the Toronto Maple Leafs to play the Washington Capitals in NHL action this evening, and the Raptors were using their own practice facility to, well, practice.
According to Jay Williams, a staff member who took the call, the HoopDome at Downsview Park had been suggested by Raptors staff as a way to accommodate the Clippers.
“It’ll be interesting to see when they get here, what they think of it,” said Williams “I want to see their reaction.”
Except Williams would never get the chance because practice was cancelled and the Clippers didn’t show.
Ted Badner, the president and director of operations of the HoopDome was on the fence from the beginning.
“I knew it could be 50/50,” said Badner.
It could have been weather or the location or even they just didn’t feel like practicing, said Badner, who received an email from Clippers assistant athletic trainer Joe Resendez saying the NBA team’s coach had canceled the practice.
The team paid $190 to hold one court for a two-hour practice that never happened.
“$190 is nothing to a professional basketball team,” said Badner.
Still, a crowd of around 50 young Clippers fans poured into the HoopDome to see if the rumours were true.
Many were disappointed when told the news that neither Blake Griffin nor Jamal Crawford would walk through those doors, lace up their shoes and run through some offensive plays on the same court they’d spend afternoons playing on.
The Clippers are scheduled to tip off against the Raptors at 7 p.m.