After Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant went down with what turned out to be an Achilles injury in the second quarter of Monday night’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Toronto fans cheered as he was helped off the court.
They weren’t cheers of support — at least not initially — and that reaction from the crowd at Scotiabank Arena has angered many NBA fans and players, some of whom spoke out after the game and on social media.
Raptors fans cheer after Kevin Durant gets injured
Keep it classy Toronto 👎 pic.twitter.com/6Aq7eLkW69
— Thizzler On The Roof (@TheThizzler) June 11, 2019
“You don’t like to hear the fans cheering,” ABC’s play-by-play man Mike Breen said during the telecast.
“I’m surprised by that, and the players are telling them not to be doing that,” Jeff Van Gundy added.
Raptors players — including Danny Green, Serge Ibaka and Kyle Lowry — told the home crowd to pipe down and not cheer the injury.
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) June 11, 2019
Kyle Lowry and the Warriors tell fans to stop cheering as Kevin Durant walks off with an injury. pic.twitter.com/UldE49bF22
— ESPN (@espn) June 11, 2019
Despite the loss of their superstar, the Warriors won the game 106-105 to close the series gap to 3-2.
Steph Curry, who had a game-high 31 points, expressed his disappointment with the fans in Toronto.
“I’m very confused around that reaction,” Curry said in the postgame news conference. “It’s not my experience with the people of this city, and I commend Danny Green and Kyle Lowry especially. I think they were the ones that were kind of signaling to the crowd to like, let’s check ourselves a little bit and understand this is about an individual, a human being and not, ‘Oh shoot, he’s out, he’s hurt, we won the championship.’
“That was probably their initial thought, and you hate to see that when a guy is going through pain like that. Again, that’s not my experience with this city, and I just hope that ugliness doesn’t show itself again as we go forward in this series.”
Stephen Curry on the fans in Toronto initially cheering after Kevin Durant’s injury.
— 95.7 The Game (@957thegame) June 11, 2019
Durant will be evaluated Tuesday, but Warriors GM Bob Myers confirmed in the postgame news conference what many expected.
“It’s an Achilles injury,” Myers said. “I don’t know the extent of it. … He’ll have an MRI tomorrow.”
Gotta love Bob Myers. This isn’t business. This isn’t sports. This is a man with a true appreciation and care for another man. This is what it’s all about. pic.twitter.com/PAR1vitJCS
— Dustin Dorsey (@DustinABC7) June 11, 2019
Durant had been making his first appearance since he suffered a calf strain in Game 5 of the Warriors’ second-round series against the Houston Rockets. He had 11 points in 11 minutes before getting injured early in the second quarter.
Other Golden State players also spoke out about the fan reaction.
“Trash. So trash,” Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins said. “But like I said, we’re known on the outer lines as superstar athletes, not human beings. It’s always about what we can do between those lines. That’s it. That’s all that ever matters.”
After they were told by the players not to cheer the injury, Toronto fans started chanting “KD!, KD!” — but it was too little, too late.
“It’s bulls—,” Draymond Green told USA Today after the game.
Players watching at home reacted as well, including Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.
Why are they cheering for his injury? Come on man #Disguting
— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 11, 2019
Houston Texas star J.J. Watt even chimed in.
“Major props to the Raptors players for getting the situation under control. Cheering for an injury is unbelievable, no matter who you’re a fan of or what team you’re pulling for,” Watt tweeted.
Major props to the Raptors players for getting the situation under control. Cheering for an injury is unbelievable, no matter who you’re a fan of or what team you’re pulling for.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) June 11, 2019
The series moves back to Oakland for Game 6, where the Warriors have a chance to even it at 3-3. But it’s apparent they will have to do it without Kevin Durant.
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