As anticipated, DeRozan was greeted cordially by a throng of grateful Canadians who applauded their former star at every early opportunity. The Raptors' all-time leading scorer also got a two-minute tribute played for him during a commercial break:
"To come back here and get a reception like that is definitely humbling, beyond gratifying," DeRozan said. "I appreciate it."
This warm welcome sharply contrasts Leonard's return to San Antonio, where he was serenaded with boos. His mom, at one point, had to tell off some heckler in the crowd:
The game at Toronto ended on a much harsher note for DeRozan, as Leonard swiped the ball from him to throw down the go-ahead dunk with less than 20 seconds left.
Check it out, it's a movie scene:
Moments later Leonard hit a pair of free-throws to ice it as the crowd chanted "M-V-P, M-V-P."
That sure sucks and all, but it doesn't quite overshadow the entire event. DeRozan had played nine seasons in Toronto, after being drafted as the ninth overall pick in 2009. He averaged 19.7 points per game with them in that time and helped lead the franchise to five straight playoff berths prior to getting dealt to San Antonio. While he was initially upset with the surprise deal, DeRozan has apparently moved on.
"Time does heal everything," DeRozan said prior to the contest. "That don't mean it's going to go back to the same way it was. I'm fine with that, I've moved on. I'm happy where I'm at."