On the list of things I want to accomplish online, getting Lee Nailon into the title of something I write is not on that list. But here we are.
The New Orleans Hornets visited the Toronto Raptors on January 16, 2005. Less than a month earlier, the team had dealt Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets. A look at our starting lineup for this game: Rafer Alston, Morris Peterson, Rafael Araujo, Chris Bosh and Eric Williams.
The Hornets came into the game with a 5-30 record. We were 14-23. No wonder a co-worker at the place I was interning at happily gave me two free tickets and passed it off as a kind gesture. There were better things to do on a Sunday afternoon.
But my friend and I went, and we had the greatest time. The Hornets had all of these players that no one cared about but were fun to cheer for: Bostjan Nachbar, a young Chris Andersen, J.R. Smith, Baron Davis and the aforementioned Nailon.
I can't remember why this happened, if memory serves it's because we had Nachbar in one of our fantasy leagues, but my friend and I spent the whole game cheering for him. He finished with one point in 17 minutes, missing both of his field goal attempts.
The Hornets led by 14 points in the third quarter and were still up by double digits heading into the fourth quarter. But Bosh and Peterson led a furious comeback, as we outscored New Orleans 36-22 in the last 12 minutes, on our way to a 102-99 comeback victory.
In the grand scheme of things, this game mattered very little. But sometimes in the doldrums of long and terrible seasons, it's nice to have one of these games to feel good about yourselves. A month after losing Carter and staring into the abyss, it was fun to celebrate for a couple of hours.
As for Nailon? 32 points, eight rebounds, six assists while shooting 14 for 20 from the field.
Someone had to remember.
We'd love to hear about your favorite live game as a Raptors fan in the comments. Whether it's the obvious playoff game, or when a former Raptor came back to the Air Canada Centre, or another random regular season game that you remember, we want to hear your story.