Watching this Toronto Raptors team and seeing how happy their fans are is kind of like watching the Golden State Warriors in 2014/15 and I write that with a heavy heart.
In the Warriors first championship run, they'd routinely fill opposing stadiums and echo the 'Warriors' chant across the league. Their fans had suffered through some awful seasons and were so happy that home-grown talent had been so successful and could even raise a banner.
Seasons of excellence later and one Kevin Durant and the Warriors are still amazing, but the fans seemed to have changed. Klay Thompson even said so in a regular season loss to the Phoenix Suns. It might be the type of fans at games, the price of tickets blocking out day-one fans or something else, but Oracle Arena hasn't been 'Roaracle' in a while.
At the end of Game 4 of the NBA Finals and potentially the last game ever to be played in Oracle Arena, there was a chant of "let's go Raptors". Even as the Warriors fans tried to drown out the Toronto fans, they remained the loudest in the building.
This was the same for the on-court performance. Golden State was as healthy as possible barring Durant and they put up their lowest point total these playoffs in a 105-92 loss to the Raptors.
Despite returns from Klay and Kevon Looney (side note: both injured players played arguably the best on the team in Game 4 and Looney looked like he had a pillow stuck up his shirt for the entire game as he was nursing a fractured collarbone) it was the same old story these Finals; not enough firepower.
Kawhi Leonard looked like the best shooter on the court even with Steph and Klay out there pulling up off the dribble and after crossing up Draymond Green late in the game. Leonard was in his bag as usual with 36 points, 12 rebounds and four steals.
The series has also been played extremely fast and it's only benefitted the Raptors. The series is being played at a pace that would've ranked third in the league if it were a team in the regular season. Getting as many shots up as they can only benefit Toronto since they have more weapons on offence this series.
Credit to Nick Nurse for allowing the game to be played at this pace heading into the series. An argument for him to slow the game down would be because the Warriors were more deadly but now it's the opposite and he can even get away with playing a box and one defence when Steph is the only large threat, something he tried again today.
Steve Kerr tried to counter this as soon as he saw the box zone and Fred VanVleet guarding Steph by subbing in Quinn Cook. But if Quinn Cook is the golden key to beat this Raptors defence then there are troubles.
The Warriors now need to win three games in a row if they want to win, but even if KD comes back and tries to save the day, the rest of the team has to step up. Yes, the 'rest' will get better looks with another player like KD to command attention, but the non-Splash Brothers starters scored 19 points on a collective 7-of-18 shooting.
It'll be hard work to overcome a Raptors team that is in the form of its life as well as the belief that they can do it, they've proven that they're the better team and can close out at home in Game 5.
It'll be interesting to see what the crowd looks like in a potential Game 6, whether another Raptors chant will break out and how will the Warriors fans send-off their stadium of nearly fifty years. Or what we just saw was the last game in Oracle Arena history.