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Toronto Raptors ready to claw victory from the 76ers

Fred Jeter | 5/3/2019, 6 a.m.
With the slogan “We the North,” the Toronto Raptors threaten to change the NBA’s initials to the IBA — International ...

The Raptors are among the current franchises never to have won the Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy. Other teams without a championship are the Buffalo Braves/Los Angeles Clippers, the Denver Nuggets, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets, the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies and the New Orleans Pelicans.

North of the border vs. Philly: This is rematch of the hotly contested 2001 second round of the NBA playoffs with the Sixers winning 4-3. That series pitted All-Stars Allen Iverson of the Sixers against the Raptors’ Vince Carter.

Carter, nicknamed “Air Canada,” averaged 27.3 points during that playoff series and stands out as probably the Raptors’ top high-wire attraction since Leonard’s trumpeted arrival.

Co-starring: Behind Leonard, the Raptors’ most consistent standout is 33-year-old, 6-foot guard Kyle Lowry, who averaged 14 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the season.

Lowry, a five-time All-Star, should hear some cheers even in Philadelphia for the upcoming series. He is a native Philadelphian and former standout at Villanova University.

Look familiar? The Raptors’ broadcasting team on NBA-TV Canada includes former Virginia Commonwealth University basketball guard Sherman Hamilton (1994-1997), a native of Toronto.

Fan frenzy: Tickets are going fast. The Raptors are fourth in the NBA for per-game attendance at 19,043 fans. Golden State, Philadelphia and Dallas are first through third.