The Golden State Warriors were in need of an emotional spur. After a highly difficult moment in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, it appears they’ve found exactly that.
The Golden State Warriors are calm and cool … often times to an irritating extent. They splash 3’s and shimmy down the court. They fall deep into a hole, only to resurface behind a barrage of big shots and then return to their nap. Draymond Green may pick a quick fight, but is immediately calmed by Stephen Curry and his dangling mouthguard.
Because why get excited? Can’t a deficit simply be closed with a long ball barrage? What reason is there to keep your mouthguard firmly fixed in place anyways? It’s all good.
Add to the mix, the Toronto Raptors are not a vicious team. They don’t throw ‘bows, talk trash (except, of course, when the boardman gets paid) or really do anything despicable at all. They are low-key, unselfish and conduct themselves with integrity, even protecting an injured Kevin Durant from the crowd.
The team may not provide motivation for vengeance, but now Toronto’s crowd is responsible for one of sports’ darkest moments. This group of temporary Spartan wannabes raised their swords in crude celebration as a fellow human incurred a life-altering injury, only to get up and grab a hot dog 20 minutes later at halftime. Remember when Of Monsters and Men was just a band before Monday?
Such blatant cheering at Durant’s’ injury was a low point for sports and society, signs of an increasingly desensitized culture and a shockingly unsympathetic mentality. Shame on those fans whose initial reaction was to cheer, even when the tide turned into chants of “KD” afterward.
Turns out this is just the motivation Golden State needs, however. What kind of crowd does that to a teammate and gets away with it? Here’s to winning one for Durant…while swatting a group of disrespectful fans smack in the keister.
The Raptors players, bless them, are not going to provide Golden State this motivation. They’re very hard to dislike. Kyle Lowry‘s actions of consoling Durant while quieting the crowd could go down as an all-time sportsmanship gesture. His actions were the only thing preventing a horrific, massive loss of humanity.
The Warriors must win Game 6, so they can return to Toronto. There is no better way to send a message like capping a three-game comeback and snatching the Larry O’Brien trophy off the very court these fans call home. Let a fanbase get so close to unseating the Warriors and tasting the championship…before losing it by their own disrespectful hand. If the Warriors had an issue with being fiery before, there should be no problems now.
Los Angeles Lakers center Shaquille O’Neal famously mooned a jeering Sacramento Kings fanbase in the 2002 Western Conference Finals as the team bus left Sacramento’s arena. A Warriors championship would be even more powerful than this.
Entering this Game 5, Durant knew Golden State needed a lift. He went down a hero, fighting heart and soul for his squad. Who still believes he’s preoccupied with free agency?
KD’s returning goal was to raise the team, injecting them with an extra sense of fight. As the smoke clears from an emotional Game 5, it’s easy to see he did just that, albeit in the saddest manner possible.
In the meantime, it’s time to buckle up, as there are two games remaining in the Finals. At least the teams are staying classy, all while providing a historically thrilling series. For Golden State, it’s time to win one for No. 35.