Raptors Rooting Interest in Eastern Conference Finals

Aaron Rose

The Eastern Conference Finals is going to be tough to watch for Toronto Raptors fans.

Not only did the Raptors just miss a golden opportunity against the Boston Celtics to advance to the conference finals and take on the Miami Heat in a series they likely would have been favoured in, but now Raptors fans have to watch two of Toronto's rivals duke it out for Eastern Conference supremacy.

Reasons to cheer for the Heat:

  • The Heat are not the Celtics. For some people, that might be enough to sway them to cheer for Miami.
  • Miami's Kelly Olynyk is from Toronto and has represented Canada on the national stage three times, something far too many Canadian NBA players cannot say.
  • It would prevent Brad Stevens from winning a championship, putting him on the same tier as Raptors coach Nick Nurse.
  • Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry seem very close and have been for a while. If Lowry wants Butler to win, that might be enough for Raptors fans.

Reasons to cheer for the Celtics:

  • The Celtics are a really great team and if they beat the Heat in the conference finals they'll have a chance in the Finals against whomever they face. If they win the Finals, Raptors fans would have the "We lost to the champs" excuse.
  • The Heat are reportedly one of the teams interested in Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo. If Miami can advance to the Finals, let alone with there, it could impress Antetokounmpo enough to sway him in 2021.
  • Erik Spoelstra already has two rings, and though he's rarely mentioned at the top of NBA coaching power rankings, winning a third with this Heat team could move him into that top echelon, arguably ahead of Nurse.