Thursday, December 18, 2008

Raptors vs Toronto

A portion of fans have taken to booing the Raptors at the ACC now, as evidence by last nights home game against the Dallas Mavericks. It's disheartening for the players, who now see their home court as a potentially hostile environment, and are even looking forward to a 6 game road trip. To me this talk of bonding on the road seems far too reminiscent of things that Maple Leafs players have said in the past.

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...


Dennis Prouse said...

I don't profess to be a big hoops expert, but I do know that the ritualistic sacrifice of a coach rarely helps to turn things around. The Raptors are proving it yet again. In pro sports, coaching is good for maybe a few wins a year, tops. The rest is personnel driven. Hey, no one has ever doubted that Pat Riley could coach, yet he coached a train wreck of a team in Miami when his personnel wasn't any good. Switching back to the ice, the Ottawa Senators have been losing now under three different head coaches in the last year. Clearly it ain't the coaching.

How long is Bryan Colangelo's contract again?

Mike Radoslav said...

Many people ARE calling for Colangelo's head and saying that he has failed to live up to expectations but - Bargnani draft pick aside - I feel that he was a victim of circumstance as well. I say this because Sam Mitchell would have been gone long ago were it not for winning Coach of the Year, and he couldn't be let go the season after winning that award, would not have looked good at all! So that's unfortunate, as it's true that Mike D'Antoni would likely have been here instead.

While I agree that Coaching is not the be all and end all there are people like Pat Riley and Phil Jackson that can maximize their players and bring a team that shouldn't function together. Toronto has missed that though, as you rarely see them playing over their heads against really top opposition nowadays.