Raptors to get first taste of NBA's in-season tournament and its garish court design

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Whether the NBA’s in-season tournament is here to stay remains to be seen, an idea designed to add some juice to a long season that has drawn both applause and derision.

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Regardless of where one sits on the fence, the Raptors will get their first taste of this initiative Friday night when the Boston Celtics pay a visit to Scotiabank Arena, the same C’s team that embarrassed Toronto in Beantown on a night head coach Joe Mazzulla called a review during what was essentially garbage time in a blowout game.

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Veteran point guard Dennis Schroder wasn’t too pleased and neither was Raptors rookie head coach Darko Rajakovic.

If any lingering ill will spills onto the Raptors’ revamped court, it will be easily detected.

For the uninitiated, the Raptors become the last team in the association to take part in this in-season tournament, which has featured some garish court designs, to say the least.

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For the first time, the playing surface has featured fully painted floors to augment a super-imposed image of the NBA Cup trophy at midcourt with contrasting-coloured runways from foul line to foul line.

Each game will count against the regular-season standings.

As with anything in pro sports, prize money will be doled out with the winning team presented with the inaugural NBA Cup.

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Tuesdays and Fridays have been designated in-season tournament nights with all roads leading to Las Vegas when the semifinals tip off Dec. 7, followed by the final two nights later when players from the winning team — including those on two-way contracts — each will receive $500,000.

One need to look no further than the actual court to realize an in-season tournament game is being contested.

The Raptors are in a group dubbed East C with Boston, Brooklyn, Chicago and Orlando with each team playing two at home and two on the road.

In-season tournament tips have been intense, at least compared with a normal early season contests.

Given the events from Saturday night in Boston, Friday’s tip might be even more intense.

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