I don’t really feel like writing about this game. Not because the Raptors lost by one point and have to go back to Oakland for a Game 6, but because of all the chatter around it. It’s just been so annoying.
First, Kevin Durant returned for the Warriors. I was shocked because I thought his injury was too severe to come back this quickly. Ever since it happened, the team never looked confident when talking about his chances of returning.
Sure, word would leak through the cracks that he could return at some point later in the series, but it all felt like a psychological mind game.
First off, I commend Durant for showing up and playing in an elimination game. The media wanted to spin a, “He’s not returning because he doesn’t want to jeopardize free agency” story, and I knew that was always baloney.
You’re in the NBA Finals, you dream about this your whole life, playing basketball is all you do – you’re going to try and play.
That being said, Durant lasted 12 minutes before going down holding his right achilles. That’s awful.
Much is being said about the Raptors fans cheering his injury and it’s really frustrating me because I believe there are so many sides to this story and imbeciles just want to see one side.
First – yes, you could see people in the crowd waving at Durant when he went down and looking pleased that he was injured. I can’t defend that, that’s inexcusable.
But I don’t think the sequence of events is as clear as: Durant gets hurt, fans cheer the injury, he leaves. I think it’s way more convoluted than that.
The Raptors had just stolen the ball and went the other way to score – most of the fans were cheering for that. No?
And then when Durant was helped off the court, I couldn’t tell if the fans were cheering or booing. They were making noise. Maybe they were cheering that he was walking off under his own power. Maybe they were cheering the injury. I don’t know, ask them.
But Lowry, Ibaka, and Green were all motioning to the crowd to be quiet, so they must’ve felt the crowd was being disrespectful.
As this was happening, I switched to the American feed of the game and the broadcasters were in full-blown, “This is disgusting of these fans to boo an injury” mode. So as soon as that narrative leaves the barn, it’s all over.
The game went to commercial, and as it turns out, the crowd gave Durant a standing ovation and chanted “KD”. I think they failed to mention that when the game returned. So if you want to tell a story of what happened, just tell all of it.
They made it seem like the entire arena was cheering in pleasure that Durant was hurt.
Though I do think some fans were, I don’t think that’s true for everyone. So stop painting the picture of, “Raptors fans are ruthless” and “I thought Canadians were supposed to be nice”.
It’s an easy bandwagon to hop on today because Twitter likes to point the finger at bad acts, but be smarter, please.
Another thing bothering me is the Nick Nurse timeout with three minutes left in the game. The Raptors had the Warriors on the ropes and were ahead by 6.
After which, the Warriors came out with all the momentum and won the game.
Nurse explained in his post-game press conference that he took the timeout because once you go under three minutes, you lose extra timeouts – the Raptors would’ve lost two.
He took it so his guys could get some extra rest. You know what, I have no problem with that. Yeah, it also gave the Warriors a chance to rest and regroup, but so what?
If Nurse thinks, in that moment, thinks his team needs a breather in order to survive the last three minutes, then he should take a timeout. It didn’t work out for them, but when you make that decision, don’t know that.
If you’re Toronto, go win the game. Three minutes left and you’re ahead by two possessions. Go win it.
The Raptors didn’t lose because the coach took a timeout with three minutes left. Stop it.
In hindsight, if he lets them play it out, do the Raptors win? Who knows. You don’t know that Curry and Thompson don’t hit threes, anyway. That’s what they do, if you haven’t noticed. The Warriors made 20 threes last night.
Back to the fans, for a minute. I thought they could’ve been a more consistent presence throughout the game. They were loud at critical times, but I didn’t hear them roar all the time.
I was disappointed in that. Have the ticket prices gotten so high that it’s turned into a Leafs crowd? That’s not a good thing.
You’re 48 minutes away from a championship – I don’t know why you would ever sit down. There were 100,000 people across the country standing on their two feet watching a screen out in the street, while it was raining.
Whereas you’ve spent an arm, two legs, and a child to be named later, to be under the same roof as the game. There shouldn’t have been more than one minute where anyone closed their mouth.
That disappointed me.
Again, would it have made a difference? I don’t know, but as a member of that crowd, you need to try and influence the game as much as humanly possible.
Going into the game, I felt there was almost too much hype and build up of, “Look at everything we’ve been through in the last 24 years, and it all comes down to this”.
The video packages before the game made you believe that Game 5 was the final page of a really long book. I sat on my couch thinking, “It’s gonna be a mad scramble if the Raptors lose this game. Hope they have the, ‘they still have two chances to win one game’ narrative ready.
It was a case of too many people trying to shake the champagne bottle before it was ready to explode.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go into a championship clinching game at home, thinking you’re going to lose, but have a little more awareness that the team you’re facing has only lost one playoff series in the last five years, and aren’t going to roll over just because winning at home fits a narrative.
So, we go to Game 6. I said it a few games ago that I can’t see the Warriors losing a Game 6 at home. I still find that hard to imagine. That being said, this series has been the ultimate case of, anything can happen.
The road team has won four of the fives games, so far.
Does that mean anything? I don’t know.
I guess we’ll just have to shut up and watch.