NBA Finals, Game 5: Too Much Talk

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.

They didn’t.

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.

They did.

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.

About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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17 Responses to NBA Finals, Game 5: Too Much Talk

  1. But dear brother (from another country called North), I can’t shut up. Why just look at my responses to your posts on this series. Ten billion words at least! But it’s not about the series (or my ten billion words) that I write to you now with this response. It’s about your feeds! You got two feeds? The American AND A CANADIAN FEED? Here in the states, all we got was the American feed, ABC. Of course, I never did try to look for another feed (like the Nigerian feed or the Vatican City feed—although I’m sure his holiness the Pope had many more feeds than I and no doubt was glued to his screen as well), but no matter. The important thing here is that the chatter for game 6 is even going to happen at all. After the last three minutes of game 5, I was almost certain the Warriors were going to only have Steph Curry left (probably with only one arm tied behind his back too, AND IN A SLING) to take the Raptors on in a game six! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      I think it’s 20 billion words, but who’s counting? Ah yes, we have the secret feed up here in Canada. For the playoffs, we keep our local broadcasters whereas in America, you guys all defer to the national crews. This being the Finals, the game is also on ABC, so we have the option of flipping over, but your feed is about 12 seconds behind ours and I’d rather know the Raptors lost at 11:35:43 than 11:35:55. Just rip the bandaid off. Speaking of which, I’m sorry for the injuries to your team. I still think Steph would hit 5 threes (at least) with an arm behind his back and in a sling haha. He sure likes to SLING those threes. And with that, I have matched your wit….in my head, at least. Good luck!

      Like

      • Ah, yes, the great secret Canadian feed! I should have known. Known only to the six (Torontonians)—and possibly Drake—it has been known to shine brightly in igloos of the great white North. Not even the Pope has that feed! And as for our National Broadcasting crew at ABC, I can only say that I wish we had the TBS crew—they’re our best. Sorry for the 12-second delay, but you know Disney as they are the owners of ABC—they probably had to cut back on transmission power in order to make up for the money they spent on buying 20th Century Fox. Anything for a buck with the mouse. Yeah, I’m convinced Steph could hit threes with his arm in a sling. To wit (hee, hee) maybe even by using that sling as a sling-shot! Thank you for the wish of good luck brother as I wish you the same. Although, I know that (being your almost identical twin brother from America and thus, feeling your every emotion) that such a paradox at this time would likely devastate us and I just couldn’t bear to feel your pain while experiencing my elation of joy all at the same time. This might render both of us shells of our almost identical selves. But, being that we are almost identical twins—except for my red nose which makes you wonder what the hell our imaginary mom was drinking the day I was conceived—this newly introduced thought is likely to keep you and I awake tonight. I just hope my guys have something left in the tank. Oh … and as for those Raptor fans who booed Durant’s going down hurt, I only wish to say, basketball fans, please don’t break into a chorus of ‘Blame Canada.” That stuff has happened a lot over the years and I don’t feel Toronto has the market cornered on that sort of thing. Although, those fans who did do that, and who shall remain nameless thanks to the Canadian Mounties not getting their man (or woman, as the case may be) this time around, should thank their lucky stars that those Canadian pillars of justice (with the funny hats) were unable to get all their names and addresses. Otherwise, I fear those fans might have gotten a slew of ‘Get Well Soon Cards’ as they were obviously sick and could have used one of the Warriors (many) doctors. Hopefully, they’ll recover in time to be better versions of themselves at game seven in Toronto. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        I can’t keep up with you, almost identical twin brother. Did you know Raptors fans have been donating to Duran’ts charity as an apology for people cheering his injury? And someone has started a GoFund Me page for him as well which is at $27,000. I don’t know why they aren’t just sending him a lifetime supply of maple syrup, but I guess money will do. Let’s hope the only slingshots that are hitting their mark are by us – almost identical twin brothers – rather than the splash brothers. Agreed? Good. Thought you would!

        Like

      • I’m having a good belly laugh (as opposed to a good diaphragm laugh) at the idea of giving Kevin a lifetime supply of maple syrup in lieu of cash. Of course, this might be because of not knowing for sure which kind of currency to give him (Canadian or American?), but who doesn’t want a lifetime supply of Canadian Maple Syrup anyway. No, I hadn’t heard about the Raptor fans donating to Kevin’s charity as a way of making amends for their momentary lapse of normally good Canadian judgment, but what a great thing to do! As for the GoFundMe page, that almost makes me wanna go tear my Achilles tendon! But, then again, no—ouch. Still, this reaffirms my faith in your countrymen who aren’t my identical Canadian twin brother (without the red nose), but who actually hails from Botswana in his spare time. May the best team win—you know, I hear they wear blue and gold. Hey, almost identical twin brother from Canada, what colors does your team wear? 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Aww man the Raptors wear red and white….wait what’s that? We have Breaking News from the Raptors laundromat! “Due to colours running in the wash, the Raptors jersey are now also blue and gold”. Wow what a development! I guess our odds are back to 50/50! Who saw this coming!?

        Like

      • Is there a doctor in the house? Are there any WARRIOR PLAYERS LEFT IN THE HOUSE? This game … amazing!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        I’ve lost at least 10 years off my life tonight.

        Like

      • I hear ya, Paul. Both teams are leaving it out there on the floor. This is going to be remembered for a long time. What a classic! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know about you, Paul, but I’m exhausted. The players—they gotta be WASTED. Congrats, Toronto really deserves it! great series. Mom and dad won’t know what to do. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Watch out for drunk mooses tonight. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dutch Lion says:

    Ohhhh Paulie, that game last night was a heartbreaker. Luckily it was only Game 5. I’m worried about losing both Games 6 and 7. That would be a bummer man.

    Regarding your comments: one I agree with 100%, while the other one I disagree with.

    I agree on the booing of Kevin Durant storyline. Every crowd in the world would have had many disrespectful fans. However, one could argue that the Toronto fans were nicer than anyone else would have been. Plus, once the initial delight of his injury helping the home crowd’s team’s chances at winning their first ever Championship, I thought the fans acted extremely politely. Not many crowds would have acted that respectfully.

    As for the timeout, I almost wrote a column today entitled “Timeout!” about how I believe Nick Nurse lost the game for the Raptors last night by overmanaging. (I didn’t write it because I enjoyed the beautiful Chicago weather and then went on a date night with my beautiful wife.) I CAN’T BELIEVE he called that timeout with about 3 minutes left. The Raptors had all the momentum and the crowd was going insane. Normally the team that is getting dunked on takes the timeout to quiet the crowd and change momentum. Maybe Steve Kerr would’ve taken a TO there instead, but I think he only had one left for the entire game and might’ve saved it for later. Sure the guys were tired, including Kawhi Leonard who had just played like a Kobe/MJ beast during that run. However, the Warriors were more tired and were looking like crap. I think Nurse blew it. It’s easy to have 20/20 hindsight since we know what happened. However, coming out of the timeout I was totally worried that Steph and Klay just got a breather, got their legs back, and the GS huddle would help them calm down and get focused. Unfortunately, I was right. If Nurse didn’t call the timeout, the game might have turned out exactly the same. However, when you have the opponent on the ropes, you don’t let them get out. You stomp on them and impose your will. Instead, it was like a boxing fight and Nick Nurse just rang the 11th round bell in a 12 round fight. Nurse used his own timeout in a “Saved by the bell” (Mark Paul Gosselaar……he’s Dutch! but not quite the Dutch Lion) game-saver for GS.

    PS I know nothing about the Canadian feed of the game b/c we have never gotten it. Regarding the American feed on ABC, it’s bad. ABC/ESPN does the worst job out of all NBA coverage over the last 30+ years. As a kid in the 80s, we had the “NBA on CBS”. It was awesome! Great graphics with Dick Stockton on the mic along with Tommy Heinsohn. It was gold baby…..gold! Then in the 90s it was the “NBA on NBC”. The legend himself Marv Albert did play-by-play with the “Czar of the Telestrator” Mike Fratello as his color man while Ahmad Rashad would do the sideline interviews and injury reporting. Even NBC’s backup team had Steve “Snapper” Jones and he was a delight too. Since then, the NBA on ESPN is……..booo! However, we love TNT’s Thursday night coverage. They have Marv “From way downtown!!!!!” with a rotating cast of color guys. Plus, they have Mr. “Right between the eyes!!!!” Kevin Harlan. Love him! Love TNT’s “Inside the NBA” show with Shaq, Charles, Ernie, and Kenny. One of the greatest shows on TV in my opinion. I have a series recording of that on the DVR. Wow, that was a long “PS”.

    Thanks,
    Reid “Dutch Lion”

    PS2 If Kelly Kapowski told me to call a timeout with 3 minutes left, I would do it…..every time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I’ll be honest, when I saw Durant go down it was a mix of “Crap that’s the achilles” and “This means he won’t roast us for 50 tonight”. I do think if that happened in any other Eastern conference building, the crowd would’ve reacted the same way.

      As for the timeouts, I completely get your perspective on it, and there’s a part of me that agrees with all of it. I’m all for stomping on the opponent when they’re down and finishing them off. I guess I just want to give Nurse the benefit of the doubt and say he knows his guys and when they need a breather. I saw a tweet that said Kawhi was gassed at the time. With 3 minutes left, if Kawhi is going to be your main option on offence as well as the guy chasing Klay/Steph around, I’d like him to have some air in his lungs. At the same time, that gave the Warriors rest. It’s so tough to say what would’ve happened if he didn’t call the timeout. Who knows how it ends. I guess I’d like to think we didn’t lose the game just because of the timeout. We had so many open shots that we missed, and gave up 20 threes. If we give up 19, we’re champions. UGHH the finals are so frustrating haha

      So when the NBA gets to the playoffs, all 29 American teams lose their home/local broadcasters and the games are done by the national crews. In Canada, we keep our local broadcasters for the playoffs since we’re a different country. When the Raptors play on TNT during the season, we don’t see that broadcast because we have our local guys. It’s just now in the Finals, because the games are on ABC, we can switch over from our Canadian sports network to ABC and hear the American coverage which is on a 12 second delay from the Canadian feed for some reason. But yeah, I’ve noticed big difference in the way the game is covered. Like ABC/ESPN/TNT will focus on Drake so much, whereas he’s barely focussed on for us. We just see him in the background and are used to his antics because he’s been doing them for 5 years.

      I’m with you on Inside The NBA being amazing! When they do Raptors games I miss out on the halftime show, but we do get Inside The NBA afterwards which is nice.

      And yes, always listen to Kelly Kapowski.

      Thanks for the essay, hope you don’t mind mine.

      Liked by 1 person

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