Maybe it isn’t safe to even passively call out your own fans, but head coach Dwane Casey has asked the Raptors fans to step it up in Game Five.
“Yesterday’s environment (Saturday in Milwaukee), it was a hostile environment,” Casey said. “I hope our fans are the same way against them, the way they were against us. They were on us. I mean it was loud (at) the game.
“Our hard play helped us in the second game there, but the first game, it was very loud, it was one of the loudest. I think Portland a few years ago, when I was in Dallas a few years ago was loud, San Antonio was loud, even in Seattle and Utah, but Milwaukee was really really loud in game one at their place.
“We have a great crowd too, but that crowd was hot. Hopefully our crowd will come out (Monday) night and be the same way, which I know they will.”
If Casey wanted to make a bolder message, he would have compared this year’s Raptors playoff crowd to those of the past three years when the Air Canada Centre was full and deafening long before tip off and throughout each game.
Jurassic Park too used to be full and heavily featured inside the ACC because of the overflow crowds, but not this year.
“Have you been here before?” DeMar DeRozan said last year when asked about the ACC crowd. “We got our home crowd energy to feed off.”
The Toronto Raptors previously enjoyed a significant home court advantage inside the Air Canada Centre and outside Gate Five in Jurassic Park. It was loud inside and loud outside, so loud in fact that even the Raptors used to struggle with the noise level in every playoff at home in the Dwane Casey era. Visiting teams couldn’t help but notice the crowd impact.
By comparison crowds inside the building for the first two games this year showed up late and sat on their hands until the in-game announcers told them to cheer and Jurassic Park crowds looked suspiciously light, especially if you compared them to the crowds for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
For the first time in living memory, Leafs fans have been louder than Raptors fans and that shouldn’t sit well with the faithful. The Raptors fans used to be the biggest part of their home court advantage in the postseason.
Casey’s right, it is time for Toronto Raptors fans to get back in the game. Getting out-cheered by Milwaukee should be embarrassing.