It might not be visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, but there may be a Raptor or two dreaming of fresh seafood, gumbo, macaroni and cheese and candied yams when they face the Detroit Pistons at the Air Canada Centre tonight.
It is the last game before a four-day holiday break, and with the tugs of family and friends and last-minute shopping to worry about, keeping players focused may be coach Jay Triano’s biggest task.
And that’s not even talking about the allure of food — good home-cooked meals that are as much a staple of the holidays as anything material.
“My family decided to come out and spend the holidays with me,” said Californian Amir Johnson. “They’re already cooking the food. They’ve got the gumbo, the collard greens, sweet potato pie, all that good food.”
And if Julian Wright is a bit distracted, well, it’s because his mom is due in town and it’s time for a feast.
“Ham, candied yams, macaroni and cheese, everything,” said Wright. “It’s Thanksgiving but we do it on Christmas ... I’m going to get a home-cooked meal.”
This season, the Christmas break runs from after tonight’s game until an evening practice in Memphis on Boxing Day before a game there Dec. 27.
Some players will head to their hometowns, but a few will stick around in Toronto for a variety of reasons.
“I’m from Chicago and it’s hard to get out of there if it’s snowing,” said Wright. “They cancel direct flights like nothing so I don’t want to risk going home to Chicago.”
The grizzled old veteran Johnson has another reason.
“My first couple of years, I was happy to go home but now, I’m like, whatever,” he said.