Real-Time Tweets About the Toronto Raptors
After winning a franchise-high 56 games this season, the Toronto Raptors and their fans felt good about the postseason. However, after bouncing out in the first round of the playoffs the past two years – losing 4-3 to the Brooklyn Nets in 2014, and 4-0 to the Washington Wizards in 2015 – fans remained skeptical and tempered their expectations. Would this be the year their team finally made it out of the first round?
They couldn’t answer that question, but hopes remained high that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozen would figure it out. Fans – including the beloved rapper behind “Hotline Bling,” Drake – signaled on Twitter that they’re in support of their Raptors in their postseason campaign with the hashtag #WeTheNorth. Their adopted “us versus them” stance would be vocalized in the Air Canada Centre and shared socially through tweets. (If you’re interested to see how active your team – or rivals – have been, take a look at all the engagement on our live-ranking NBA Playoffs on Twitter feature.)
Taking the Indiana Pacers to 7
The Indiana Pacers arrived in Canada ready to steal wins away from the Toronto Raptors. Raptor fans just wanted to see their team make it out of the first round of the playoffs. Despite holding onto the lead for the first half, Paul George and the Pacers surged ahead to win Game 1, 100-91. This didn’t dampen the spirits of Raptor fans; they continued to remind Twitter: #WeTheNorth.
The Raptors clawed back in the next two games winning by margins of 11 and 16 points. Ahead 2-1, the two sides started trading wins. Indiana won Games 4 and 6 and Toronto won Games 5 and 7. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan worked magic and helped their team out of the first round of the playoffs. Fans fired out tweet after tweet, keeping the digital after-party alive as they prepared themselves for their next adversary, the Miami Heat.
Miami Bring the Heat
Not one fan expected the Heat – with Dwyane Wade and Goran Dragić leading the assault – would make it an easy series for their Raptors. Game 1 turned into an extended contest, with both sides unable to settle things in regulation. In overtime, Wade helped secure victory for Miami. Unnerved fans wondered if their first trip to the second round of the playoffs would be short lived.
As the series progressed, tiny margins separated the two sides. Toronto took Games 2, 3, and 5, while Miami claimed Games 4 and 6. Again, Toronto found themselves in a must-win Game 7 if they wanted to appear in their first Eastern Conference Finals. While the first six games were close – settled by an average of 7 points or less – the Raptors roared ahead with a statement victory, beating the Heat by 27 points. Lowry and DeRozan combined for 63 points, and the fans erupted. Tweet after tweet welcomed their next challenger to take a swing. They were on to Cleveland.
Toronto’s Next Test: Cleveland
Facing a team that won 10 playoff games in a row, Toronto’s fans – thoroughly active via Twitter – were less sure about their ability to beat Cleveland and their all-star lineup of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving. In Game 1, the Raptors experienced a blowout losing to the Cavs, 118-84. Even as they attempted to battle back in Game 2, Cleveland played the bully and swatted the Raptors back, taking a 2-0 lead over their northern rivals.
With an early exit looming, Toronto battled back taking Games 3 and 4, reenergizing their fans. Hope remained, and the possibility of a trip to the NBA Finals stayed alive. Tied 2-2 heading into Game 5, Toronto’s players and fans were shocked by Cleveland’s complete domination. Losing by almost 40 points, Raptors fans again questioned if this was the end. Now the Raptors have to force a Game 7 to keep their dreams alive.
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