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Raptors analyst rautins narrowly avoids injury during bizarre NBA Finals incident

Long-time Raptors broadcaster Leo Rautins had a scary incident during Wednesday's Game 3 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland. SUN FILES
Long-time Raptors broadcaster Leo Rautins had a scary incident during Wednesday's Game 3 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland. SUN FILES

OAKLAND — Day 1 Raptors analyst Leo Rautins got quite the scare during Wednesday’s NBA Finals game.

In the first minute of the third quarter of Toronto’s win over Golden State a round lantern light fell from the rafters of Oracle Arena, nearly striking Rautins, who was calling the game alongside play-by-play man Matt Devlin.

Rautins was so shaken up he couldn’t recall a day later at what point of the game the incident even happened.

“That’s how weird the whole thing was. Just sitting there doing the game, I felt, and you’re in the game, so I just felt something brush my arm,” Rautins said on Thursday.

“You don’t pay attention to it because people walk by all the time (while he is broadcasting games). I felt a thud too. Again, it’s noise, it’s the arena, so I’m doing whatever. I turn and our stage manager, there’s like a space between us and she’s looking at me (stunned). And I look down and there’s this big bulb was on the floor,” Rautins said.

“So I guess it grazed me and it grazed her. Fell right between us. And this thing comes from the ceiling and it didn’t shatter. So, the fact that it came down and it didn’t shatter, I’m going like, ‘If that thing hits you in the head (laughs), you’re done.’ And then they’ve got this big steel cable and they’re trying to get it up (to the ceiling): ‘You’re putting it back up? What if it comes down again,’” Rautins recalled asking.

“The whole time we’re calling the game, so Matt’s pulling me towards him (to get him out of the way in case anything else happened). So the whole thing was kind of a surreal moment in the middle of this freaking Finals game. The whole thing was just goofy,” Rautins said.

The former NBA first-round pick has been doing Raptors broadcasts since the inaugural 1995 season and had never seen anything like what happened on Wednesday.

“That one took the cake. There’s nothing where you physically could get hurt (that he remembers happening). It was pretty weird. Think about it. You’re 12 inches to the left … I’m watching (the lanterns) go up and down before (the game) and they’re a lot bigger than you think (when you see them up close).”

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