The Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets are playing a pivotal Game 5 in Canada on Wednesday night, and with the first-round series between the Atlantic Division foes tied at two games apiece, and the Toronto fans know full well just how critical the contest is — in NBA playoff history, teams winning Game 5 to break 2-2 ties have gone on to win their series 83 percent of the time. It's a huge game, one of the biggest in Raptors history, and the fans at the Air Canada Centre rose to the occasion in the early going, creating a super loud, super hectic atmosphere that you could feel through the TV.
And just in case you needed any proof of how bonkers it was — if, say, you were distracted while lint-rolling your pants — you can take it from a trusted and verified source: the Nets' own Twitter account.
(I think he meant "DVR.")
The "LR" there stands for Lenn Robbins, a longtime sportswriter for the New York Post who left that paper in September 2013 to become the senior reporter for the Nets and Barclays Center. He took the reins of the Nets' Twitter account for the second and third quarters at 8:12 p.m. ET; 12 minutes later, he was calling the Barclays Center crowd on the carpet.
As you might expect, there were a lot of Nets fans who didn't appreciate the tweet. But Robbins isn't exactly the only one banging on the Barclays crowd for providing something less than a raucous playoff atmosphere. From Rod Boone of Newsday after Brooklyn's Game 3 win last Friday:
[Kevin] Garnett said it shouldn't take exciting plays by the Nets to get the playoff atmosphere going.
He thought things would be more intense, given that it was the Nets' first home game since Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri fired off an expletive in describing how he felt about Brooklyn.
"Could do better," Garnett said Saturday. "I was expecting Brooklyn to be real hostile, New York style, knowing what it's like to come here as the opposition, so our crowd could do better. But they were there when [we needed them] and we fed off of them." [...]
"Yeah, it was a little slow to start," [Deron] Williams said. "Seven o'clock game on a Friday night in New York, that's tough. So hopefully it will be better come Sunday. But they definitely got into it, and when we started making our little run, the crowd took over."
The differentiating point seems to be that the Brooklyn crowd, which is often crowded but not as often sold-out/jam-packed, only really brings its most vociferous behavior during specific moments, whereas the Toronto faithful are nuts before the game, during the game, outside the game ... you name it. The good news for Nets fans is that they'll get at least one more opportunity to make a dent in this particularly painful public perception:
After the Raptors held on to win Game 5 and put the Nets on the brink of elimination, there would seem to be plenty of reason (and need) for the Barclays crowd to get loud come Friday night.
For the record, the Nets officially distanced themselves from Robbins' comment in a Thursday morning tweet that was literally a day late and figuratively a dollar short:
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