The Raptors and Pacers have played a simultaneously contentious, intriguing and at-times boring first-round playoff series this month.
Depending on your point of view, the series reached its nadir/high point in Game 5, when the Raptors overcame a huge fourth-quarter deficit and held the Pacers to nine points in the final frame en route to a victory. The Pacers had a chance to tie the game, but Solomon Hill’s potentially equalizing three-pointer left his hands milliseconds too late.
While the series is heating up on the court, it’s getting testy off the court as well. Kind of.
A couple Raptors players, whose fans proudly rally behind their “We the North” slogan, are upset over some T-shirt the Pacers are giving to their fans for Game 6, shirts which bear the slogan, “We the Gold.”
“Who ‘the gold?’” DeMar DeRozan said with a head shake Friday morning. “I don’t care, I’m not going to wear it.”
Patrick Patterson felt even more strongly.
“Just because we do ‘We The North,’ they just trying to find some thing to get at us,” Patterson said. “I have different feelings toward that... Flattering? No, not at all.”
“The Canadian fans, they sing the national anthem with pride. They’ve done it for a long time and they do it every single opportunity they get, whether it’s regular season, whether it’s pre-season, whether it’s playoffs, whether the singer allows them to sing it and holds the mic up in the air, they’re constantly singing it.
“In Indiana, or when we go on the road, the Canadian fans are there in the crowd, they’re signing along to the national anthem, they’re proud. And then I feel like the Pacer fans. . . they just do it because we did it. They try to do it to be loud or be obnoxious.”
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Wow, strong take from Patterson about the meaning of fans singing along to the national anthem. How will the Pacers respond to this war of words that started with a T-shirt giveaway? Hopefully with anger!
– Rohan Nadkarni