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Report: Miami at Toronto game moved to Feb. 1

Kyle Lowry’s return will reportedly come two days early. It’s a terrible decision, and Masai Ujiri, MLSE, and Raptors fans should be livid.

NBA: Miami Heat at Houston Rockets Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

According to reports from NBA reporter Marc Stein and the Toronto Star’s Doug Smith, the Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors game originally scheduled for February 3 has been moved to February 1.

There’s a domino effect happening here, at the Heat’s visit to San Antonio has moved to February 3, and now, Toronto’s game vs. the Atlanta Hawks, originally scheduled for February 1, will subsequently have to move.

Such is the reality of attempting to play a season through COVID; postponements mean schedule shuffling. COVID-19 cares not for your schedule! Games and dates have to move to accommodate.

But February 3 is no ordinary date, because Miami at Toronto is not an ordinary game.

It’s Kyle Lowry’s return to Toronto, for the first time as a member of the Miami Heat.

The game is already in danger of being played without fans, which is a shame; Ontario is planning “reassess” its “1000 fans in sports arenas” mandate around the 19th of January. Moving the Heat game up two days only increases the chances of the game being played in an empty arena.

Which brings me to my main point, the reason I’m shaking my head in anger and frustration towards the NBA, on behalf of the Raptors, once again.

If the Heat game has to be moved… why wouldn’t you move it back!?

This is, quite possibly, the most important home game on the Raptors’ schedule all year. It’s the one that, more than any other, should have a full house of fans. We want to cheer for the greatest Raptor ever. We deserve that after the shitshow we were forced to endure last year in Tampa. And Lowry deserves it, for everything he did for the franchise.

MLSE is a giant corporation and they don’t “deserve” shit, but surely their interests align with playing that game in front of a full crowd, too.

Once again, we’re getting the short end of the stick.

Earlier this year, when talking about his contract and his future in Toronto, Masai Ujiri said he had some big asks of MLSE and of the NBA, and the way it treats its lone international franchise. The pandemic affected the Raptors significantly more than any other team last season, and Ujiri was hinting that there should be some sort of reparations for what the Raptors went through.

Well, what’s he gotten for that? Another COVID outbreak, an embarrassing blowout loss in Cleveland without four scrubs and four replacement players, a wasted trip to Chicago, and now? The biggest game of the year moved up without a thought.

I get it: the NBA doesn’t give a shit about a single game in the grand scheme of things, and it probably shouldn’t. Adam Silver and his cronies and the billionaire owners are busy trying to make every dime they can, without giving two shits about anyone’s health and safety, let alone the feelings of a fanbase.

But one time, putting just a touch of thought and care into this might’ve been nice.

I hope Ujiri is on the phone right now giving Silver a piece of his mind.