After Monday’s gutsy 106-105 victory, the Golden State Warriors have a chance to close Oracle arena in style with a win, tying the series, and setting up Game 7. Ahead of tonight’s action, I once again talked with Raptors HQ’s Dylan Litman and he shares his thoughts on Game 5 and the much publicized behavior of Raptors’ fans.
GSoM: Coach Nurse’s timeout at the end of the game has been seen as senseless. What do you think Nurse’s reason was?
I don’t really have to do much guessing here! After the game, Nick Nurse explained his rationale, saying he believed the team needed a breather. While it unfortunately had the opposite effect — firing up the once-exhausted Warriors — I get where he’s coming from. Lowry looked like he wanted a timeout, and Nurse still had two left to give before the three-minute mark (otherwise, he would’ve lost them). Obviously, in retrospect it’s easy to say that wasn’t the right move to make (which it clearly wasn’t), but this isn’t the most egregious coaching error I’ve seen.
GSoM: The Raptors took a six-point lead with a little over two minutes left. What were your thoughts at the end of the game knowing that the Raptors were on the verge of clinching the title until the Warriors went on a 9-0 run?
Dylan: At first, I couldn’t believe how quickly the tides had turned. Out of nowhere, Kawhi Leonard went on a historic run that Zach Lowe described as “Pantheon stuff.” I doubted that the Raptors would win the game after Kevin Durant went down – it didn’t feel right – but when Leonard went on that run, it really, truly felt like the Raptors were going to pull it off. I was hyperventilating, completely flabbergasted. Then, after the infamous timeout break, the Warriors were suddenly unstoppable. Short of a couple DeMarcus Cousinserrors, Golden State played immaculate basketball and all I could do was just stare at my television completely blank-faced. Every time Steph Curry or Klay Thompson got the ball in their hands, I knew it was going in. I didn’t even watch the shots. For about 30 minutes after the game, I continued to gawk at the screen, completely devoid of emotion.
GSoM: The behavior of Raptors fans has been the talk for days. Do you think most of the actions are who Raptor fans really are and it just takes competing for a title to bring it out? Or is it possible that most of the people involved are Warriors-haters jumping on the Raptors’ bandwagon?
Dylan: There were definitely some wildly inappropriate reactions to Durant’s injury, highlighted by a fan callously waving goodbye to him from a distance. On my Twitter timeline, however, the reactions were a lot more sympathetic; in fact, most people condemned those who cheered. I don’t want to classify Raptors fans into groups or generalize in any way. There are compassionate bandwagon fans, insensitive diehard fans and everything in between; in my opinion, how you reacted to Durant’s injury says more about the type of person you are than the type of fan you are.