Casey unhappy with early start time

The Canadian Press

TORONTO—Dwane Casey said the Toronto Raptors would be ready to play “at six o’clock in the morning” if the schedule so demanded.
But the Raptors’ coach believes his team deserves better.
The Raptors were slotted into the 12:30 p.m. tip-off time for tomorrow’s playoff series-opener against the visiting Indiana Pacers—proof, says Casey, that the team has yet to receive respect from league schedulers it deserves.
“Evidently someone doesn’t respect us,” Casey said yesterday.
“We have all these 12:30 games and they look at us, the team north of the border that plays the early games when the people out west are still asleep,” he noted.
“We’ll use that as a little motivation, too.”
If the Raptors truly are Canada’s team, their west coast fans will have to tune in at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.
By comparison, Golden State hosts Houston at 12:30 p.m. local time on Saturday while Memphis hosts San Antonio at noon local time in Game 4 on April 24.
The next earliest games are Golden State in Houston at 2:30 local time on April 24 and the Raptors’ game in Indiana at 3 p.m. (ET) on April 23.
The Raptors opened the previous two series at 12:30 p.m. as well—last year against Washington and the previous season versus Brooklyn.
“I don’t know the reasoning why we’ve been put in that position,” Casey said.
“We’re the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference,” he stressed. “We feel like we should have a premiere time slot. . . .
“We feel like we have an exciting team and we’ve earned the right, by winning 56 games, to be a prime-time game.”
Many Raptors’ fans agreed, airing their displeasure on Twitter.
Curtis (@CTudor88) wrote “The Raptors play at 12:30? That’s the NBA saying nobody in USA cares about you so get your game 1 over with early. Lame start time.”
ESPN’s Zach Lowe tweeted: “Playoffs haven’t started, and I already have TOR fans tweeting at me about the NBA’s massive conspiracy against Raptors. MULDER TDOT BRANCH.”
To which Vorbis (@vorbis) replied “the 6ix Files.”
Casey said the early tip-off time—from a preparation position—is not his “first choice,” but the players can use it as a chip on their collective shoulders.
“We have to earn respect,” he remarked. “We’ve done that all year and we have to continue to do it all year.
“We have to earn the respect of the league to prove we are who we are and our record is what it is.”
Toronto baseball fans were outraged when the Blue Jays made their first playoff appearance in 22 years last season, and were slotted into afternoon start times.
Their beef was more about the fact they were weekday games so many people had to beg off work to watch.
The Raptors have more reasonable tip-off times for the rest of the series. They host Indiana in Game 2 on Monday at 7 p.m.
The series moves to Indianapolis for Game 3 on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and then Game 4 at 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 23.
Start times for Games 5, 6, and 7, if necessary, are still to be determined.