TORONTO, ON — With no fans to give the Toronto Raptors much of a home-court advantage against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, the team’s mascot decided to do something about it and the results were hilarious.
The Suns held a single-point lead over Toronto in the waning seconds of the matchup, and Devin Booker was at the charity stripe trying to seal a Phoenix win.
After making the first free throw, Booker raised his hands in frustration and motioned across the court.
Toronto’s mascot, simply dubbed “The Raptor,” can be seen jumping and waving its hands just behind the hoop next to empty stands at Scotiabank Arena.
A referee promptly ordered The Raptor away, and the mascot kneeled in the corner of the court for the remainder of the game.
Despite the distraction, Booker made both free throws. But he still didn’t look too pleased with the mascot.
Phoenix went on to win the game 99-95 and now holds an NBA-leading record of 31-9.
Fan attendance was restricted under Canadian COVID-19 rules.
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The city of Phoenix is home to five major professional sports league teams; The NFL's Arizona Cardinals, NBA's Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks and NHL's Arizona Coyotes.
The Cardinals have made the State Farm Stadium in Glendale their home turf and the Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix is home to both the Suns and the Mercury. The Indoor Football League’s Arizona Rattlers also play at the Footprint. Phoenix has a soccer team with the USL's Phoenix Rising FC.
The Valley hosts multiple major sporting events on a yearly basis, including college football's Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl; the PGA Tour’s highest-attended event, the Waste Management Phoenix Open; NASCAR events each spring and fall; and Cactus League Spring Training.