Kevin Garnett Gives Props to Toronto: Loudest Arena He's Played in in Long While

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2014

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Though the Brooklyn Nets ultimately prevailed in a close, seven-game first-round series, the Toronto Raptors certainly left a mark. So did their fans.

Kevin Garnett isn't quick to compliment, so this is noteworthy. The Raptors fans were rowdy and committed, doing everything within their power to inspire the best from their young team. Though Toronto came up short in the end, their impressive effort was clearly fueled in part by all the support at home.

Paul Pierce was impressed, too.

The arena wasn't the only raucous venue in Toronto. 

According to National Post staff, "Thousands of zealous Raptors fans filled Maple Leaf Square, aka Jurassic Park, to watch Game 7 of Toronto's first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday." This wasn't an uncommon scene throughout the postseason.

Per the Post, "Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri made an appearance at the 'Party in the Square,' where he famously made headlines by yelling 'F--k Brooklyn!' to the crowd before Game 1. He was on his best behaviour Sunday."

Ujiri may have been tame, but the rest of the fans were still making lots of noise. The atmosphere at Air Canada Centre had to make the organization proud, even if it wasn't enough to make the difference in a tightly contested Game 7.

Head coach Dwane Casey said his Raptors weren't a "finished product" after the broadcast of Game 7, suggesting that the club's young core needed continued development to improve upon this season's performance.

It was still a big success from a team few expected to claim the No. 3 seed.

It's been a successful campaign so far for Garnett's Nets as well. Brooklyn head coach Jason Kidd proved he belongs, becoming the first rookie coach to win a Game 7 since Avery Johnson in 2005. He'll be tested in a big way as the Nets now face the reigning-champion Miami Heat. Kidd will be pitted against one of the league's smartest young tacticians in coach Erik Spoelstra.

And the rest of the Nets will have their hands full with LeBron James and co. Though Miami fans may struggle to rival their counterparts in Toronto, don't expect the actual team to struggle much at all. They appeared to flip a switch in their sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats, and they aren't done yet.

Though the Nets swept the Heat 4-0 during the regular season, that won't count for much starting right about now.