And in a way, it makes sense. The low lights and parquet floor make for an atmosphere straight out of the ABA, one that is difficult for fans to be energized by the way they are in Oakland or Oklahoma City.
But when the Toronto Raptors enter Barclays for Game 3 of a 1-1 series tonight, they better expect to be smothered by a raucous crowd all night long. Not simply because it’s the playoffs or the intensity of the series heightened following Toronto’s Game 2 victory on Tuesday night, but because of two words that were spoken just prior to Game 1.
When Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri decided to throw caution to the wind and use an expletive next to “Brooklyn”, he made a mistake that will manifest itself into the most hostile Barclays Center environment that he and his team could never imagine.
Had he said “the Nets” instead of “Brooklyn”, the difference in the air tonight wouldn’t be all that noticeable. In fact, given that the remark was made almost a week ago, a great deal of the fans likely would’ve forgotten all about it.
However, although it wasn’t his intention, all Ujiri did was make things personal. Brooklynites are notoriously hard-nosed and exude tremendous pride in terms of representing their New York City borough. If there was any place he didn’t want to say this about, it was most certainly Brooklyn.
There’s no way the Nets liked hearing what Ujiri had to say last week, but they’ll be thankful for it when they hear the reaction from their crowd tonight.