TORONTO - Road closures in Toronto forced Raptors coach Dwane Casey to ditch his car and ride the subway to the Air Canada Centre for Game 7.
Casey said he was stuck in traffic for 30 to 40 minutes Sunday before deciding to do a U-turn and head for the subway.
"Good old reliable subway," Casey said, laughing. "I don't think anyone expected us to be here today in that they had a marathon and a Game 7 in the same day."
The downtown road closures were due to the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon.
Fellow TTC riders posted pictures of Casey seated on the subway, dressed in a black Canada Goose bomber jacket and a black Raptors T-shirt. His garment bag hung on the glass partition next to his seat.
"I didn't think anybody recognized who I was but I think the shirt gave it away," Casey said.
Asked if Raptors fans gave him any advice during the ride to the Air Canada Centre, the coach replied: "They just said 'Go get 'em.'"
Casey said it wasn't his first subway ride in Toronto. He most recently travelled via the TTC last summer."It's great," Casey said. "I recommend it to everybody. Just not on Game 7."
Toronto may not have momentum on its side heading into Sunday's game, but it will have an arena full of fired-up fans. The noise at Air Canada Centre was so loud during Game 5, even the Nets' official Twitter feed took notice, urging Brooklyn fans to behave more like their boisterous Canadian counterparts.
"It will definitely be crazy in here tomorrow," Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan said Saturday. "The energy us definitely going to be major tomorrow so that's something we can feed off."
Neither team has won a Game 7 before: the Nets are 0-2 in such situations, while the Raptors are 0-1. Brooklyn lost Game 7 at Chicago in the first round last year.
So while Brooklyn may have momentum on its side, it also has the bulk of the pressure, too. DeRozan, the lone All-Star on Toronto's roster, certainly sees it that way.
"Yeah, man," DeRozan said. "We ain't got not 100 million payroll or whatever they got. That's all on them. At the end of the day, they have more to lose than us."
Toronto, which has never won a seven-game series, suffered its only Game 7 loss in May, 2001, when a Vince Carter jump shot at the buzzer rimmed out, sending the Philadelphia 76ers to the conference finals.
Raptors guard Kyle Lowry was a 16-year-old high schooler in Philadelphia that spring, and remembers watching the game.
"I was a fan back then, of the other team," Lowry said. "But it was a great game, a great game."
Toronto Raptors' Kyle Lowry (7) drives past Brooklyn Nets' Andray Blatche during the first half of Game 6 of the opening-round NBA basketball playoff series Friday, May 2, 2014, in New York.
Image Credit: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II