The problem for the Raptors is that Toronto fans have ALWAYS been vocal about their sports teams - loud in praise and equally loud in disdain. The fans feel that the player are accountable to them and they will let the players know about it. The Toronto sports scene can always guarantee you one thing, and that's a very vocal and highly opinionated crowd.
Although I'm sure the feelings are mutual among the Raptors players, Chris Bosh was not impressed with the fans opinion of the team last night:
"If I wanted to get booed, I'd go on the road. It's real tense right now. When you're down three points at home and you're hearing boos, that's kind of disheartening.
Whether the crowd knows it or not, they play a big part in the game."
Many fans do not feel out of line at last nights game for booing, after a breakout First Quarter and at one point surging out to a 13 point lead over the Mavericks, while shooting 66.7% from the floor, Toronto fell apart once again. Shooting just over 30% for the rest of the game en route to a 10 point loss, 96-86, was frustrating, especially after a recent meltdown in their home-and-home series against the Nets. The fans expected more this season, expected more after Sam Mitchell was released and Jay Triano took over, and yet they are seeing that all those expectations are proving difficult to meet.
And therein lies the problem - as much as there is some justification to being frustrated with the play of the team this year the fans have to act better regardless if there's any hope to salvage this season. Empty seats speak volumes, much louder than booing, so to really make a statement would be to not show up for the following game. But unfortunately there is so much hostility already built up in the stands, even before the opening tip off you can hear the sarcasm and put downs circulating in pockets around the ACC, that many fans need very little provocation to get on the teams case and start booing. The regulars are getting restless. Negativity begets negativity though, and it will certainly not improve the product on the court if fans jump at the first chance, no matter how slight, to berate the team.
The Toronto Raptors are presently reeling, compiling a 2-6 record since the hiring of Jay Triano. The Coaches are wondering what can be done, the players are struggling to pull the trigger and struggling to keep up with the uptempo offence, and the fans are voicing their displeasure quite loudly now. There's only one of the factors listed that the fans can control here, and they might want to consider what side of the fence they're sitting on while taking their seat...