For anyone who was fortunate enough like myself to attend Game 5 at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) to watch the Toronto Raptors edge out the Brooklyn Nets, man were you in for a rollercoaster ride of emotions.
Before the game even began, I had never heard a crowd boo so loud at Kevin Garnett or cheer so loud as we did when Toronto’s starting line up was announced. The energy in the building was electric and the anticipation of greatness was submerged in every fan’s body that wore their “We The North” t-shirts proudly. As the game was about to begin, the loudest “Lets Go Raptors” chant broke out and chills ran through my spine knowing that I was about to be apart of something special.
After an exciting first quarter, the Raptors took over in the second quarter as Kyle “Floor General” Lowry took over. Lowry was fantastic all game but his buzzer beating three-pointer to end the half made those $16.00 beers taste so gratifying.
This thrilling night at the ACC now felt like a walk in the park and I like many other crazy Raptors fans in the arena were on cloud nine. Even though the lead was continuing to evolve, the thoughts in my head never seemed to look to the victory party, since this is a Toronto sports franchise we’re talking about after all. And for anyone in the area, we know far too much about late game collapses (May 13, 2013 ring a bell Leafs Fans?).
Sadly, right as those depressing thoughts ran through my head, Brooklyn slowly crawled back into the game. With 10:45 left in the fourth, the Raptors were up by 22 points. However, with 3:18 left, the game was tied at 101-101…WTF just happened!?
Usually during a sports depression breakdown every single swear word in the book would be cursed at the top of my lungs, but for some reason I couldn’t even speak. It felt like a car ran over my brand new puppy.
With the crowd’s hearts slowly falling to the floor, Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and a timely backcourt violation picked our hearts back up as the Raptors managed to defeat the old man Nets in one of the most nerve racking and crazy playoff basketball games to ever take place in Toronto.
With Game 5 in the books, the Raptors now have a chance to advance to the second round for the first time since 2001. Winning doesn’t come easy in Toronto, so Game 6 is going to be a dogfight against the future hall of fame veterans in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and friends.
Despite the expensive payroll that the Nets possess and the incredible comeback that was almost finished against Toronto, I still think Toronto will get the job done in Brooklyn. Home court advantage seems to only be an advantage in Toronto as the Barclays Center fans have been lacking in enthusiasm.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) May 1, 2014
Expect a big game from Jonas Valanciunas, who has been quiet since Game 3. Also, Terrence Ross averaged 10.75 points per game against Brooklyn in the regular season but has been ice cold averaging only 3.6 points per game in the series thus far. With that being said, his beautiful jump shot and explosiveness to the rim is bound to come back eventually and Game 6 would be a perfect place to start. Toronto needs to stick to their defensive fundamentals and if they allow Brooklyn to score in the 90-point range again, they will not be successful.
Bold prediction: Toronto beats Brooklyn 90-85 in Game 6 and advances to the second round.
Photo credit: stupiddope.com