RAPTORS 101, 76ERS 96: POSTGAME QUOTES: “The first thing is that we have to guard (Embiid). Like, we try to take away his trail 3s, a lot of times he will come down and just be the last one down and they will flip it back to him and we just really tried to take those away and make him bounce it. We tried to stay a little closer to home on him, more than normal.” — NICK NURSE.




On way the team executed in the last 90 seconds … Yes, really good defensively. I thought we really started getting into them and stopped some of that DHO action, we were just beating them to the spot and I think we ended up with eight consecutive stops to end the game. That’s pretty good, especially in a close game in like that.

On how the kids handled the game … I think they did okay. It was too nice to see, I thought OG (Anunoby) had a pretty solid game, he hasn’t played that much against them. We executed our schemes really well obviously on certain players, (Joel) Embiid especially. But yeah, I think Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson), Terence (Davis), Chris (Boucher) all made some plays pretty good. I kind of just liked our composure. I thought all game long even though we didn’t shoot a really good percentage, I thought we were composed on offence and kept getting good shots, decent shots. We never really were panicked, we didn’t seem frustrated at the offensive end and whoever was out there. I think one time I had what we would probably consider four four-men and a centre at one point. Pascal (Siakam), OG, Rondae, Chris and Marc (Gasol) or something weird like that. But that’s okay we keep it simple, we get it to Marc like I said and do some cutting and those guys did a good job.

On the defence against Embiid … The first thing is that we have to guard him. Like, we try to take away his trail 3s, a lot of times he will come down and just be the last one down and they will flip it back to him and we just really tried to take those away and make him bounce it. We tried to stay a little closer to home on him, more than normal. A lot of times you are sending your big to help or rim protect or whatever, but that is kind of why you see a few breakdowns. You have to live with some of that stuff, like to start the half (Ben) Simmons came off the ball screen and went straight downhill a couple of times. That is because we are trying to not let the ball go back to Embiid as much, so we are not providing as much help as we should there. You have to change the scheme and bring somebody else over from the weak side, or whatever. You just keep making adjustments as you go. Just again, try to guard him in the low block, obviously we like to send a couple of bodies, don’t let him get his low post game going. Marc does a great job of fighting him for position. He doesn’t catch to many right under the rim and just turn and use his size and lay it in.

PASCAL SIAKAM (25 points, seven rebounds)

What did you learn from the playoff series, and the matchup with Embiid? Just that I had to work on shooting. I had to be able to shoot the ball, I had to be able to be dangerous, not only going to the basket but on the perimeter. That’s something that I continue to work on every single day, because when they put a big on me, I have to be able to make those shots, so they can come up a little bit and be able to take them off the dribble. That’s on me.

What were guys able to do to them defensively in the last four minutes? Just being physical. Just being physical with them, not giving them easy shots. Obviously making it tough for Embiid to catch it or anything like. They made a lot of threes so we had to make sure we got out on shooters, make them bounce it. So I think that’s what we did at the end there to get the stops that we needed.

What is Marc able to do to get under Embiid’s skin? Marc is a big body, he’s smart, he has being doing it for a while. He kind of understands how to guard, and positioning. Obviously, we’re helping but I think initially, his presence is a problem for a lot of people. When we are connected as a team on defence we can do a lot of things out there.

FRED VANVLEET (24 points, eight assists)

What was the team able to do to hold them scoreless the last four minutes? We just turned up the intensity, they missed a couple but I thought we did a good job at the rim covering for each other. Pascal had a couple of big blocks, Marc was great. OG got in there and Norm (Powell) got some rebounds. Just try and cover for each other, wasn’t perfect all the time but shrinking the paint on those guys is usually good, puts you in good position and then fire out to the shooters. They obviously missed some shots I’m sure they felt that they could make, but I thought we did a good job with our defensive intensity and coming up with the rebounds.

MARC GASOL (three points, six rebounds, nine assists)

What did the team do to hold them scoreless the last four minutes? We moved around and we were in front of the ball. I felt that we did a better job of taking away their drives to the basket and not allowing their size to enter the paint and making multiple efforts.

On team defence against Embiid… They have a few plays that they run for him to allow him to separate from you. I didn’t help much off those plays because it’s set up to allow him to roll and that’s the game plan we had. The coaches did a great job preparing us for the game plan.



On the final 11 seconds … Well, we got a shot and we had an offensive rebound. There was more time available, maybe, to find something else. I give Toronto’s defence credit.

On the struggles of Joel Embiid tonight … It’s all about him quarterbacking the gym. They double teamed him every single catch and I thought there were times he did a really good job of inviting that, and passing out of it. We shot a lot of threes because they doubled him and that’s what the game produced. I thought we did a pretty good job from time to time of getting off the post, and passing it around and trying to find his floor spots. You give Marc Gasol, a former defensive player of the year, credit, and Toronto credit. But it was a long night for Joel.

At this stage of the season, are there any takeaways you can take from this game? If we are big boys, you’d say of course there has to be. You are going to walk out of here and find something that is going to make us better, and we will do it. At this moment, 10 minutes after the game, it stings. You’ll wake up in the morning; you’ll be wiser for it and learn things that we have to just respond to better. We had a stage where we missed four free throws, they came back and hit a three and it’s kind of like a seven point swing. You would like to have a few of those turnovers back, at the end of the game. That’s where I’m at.

JOEL EMBIID (13 rebounds, two assists)

What does this win say about the Raptors? It says a lot. They are a deep team. They’ve got guys that can do a lot of things on the basketball court. They’re well coached. They did their job and they made sure to stick with the plan they had, especially taking me out of the game. That’s also on me to try and figure out and take advantage of it. Defensively they are everywhere. They are so long and they make sure to pack the paint, and tonight we didn’t make shots. When you’re not making shots and you play against a team like that, it’s really hard. We still came pretty close, but we have to get better, especially me.

Were you fatigued, playing the fourth game in six nights? I didn’t look fatigued and I was definitely not fatigued. Obviously, the defensive scheme … they were trying to make sure I didn’t touch the ball, and that forced me into a lot of tough shots. It didn’t matter … Marc didn’t help on the picks I was setting and on the post, obviously, they were doubling from the time the ball was in the air. When you’re not making shots, it’s tough, but I tried to take advantage of it by setting screens and holding it until my teammates got open.

TOBIAS HARRIS (18 points, five rebounds, two assists)

On the team’s mental lapses … Yeah, definitely too many of them. The last three minutes, too many to count, so that’s the most disappointing thing about tonight’s loss, for sure.

What did you learn about this team today? I mean, we have to be better. (In) the late fourth quarter we have to be better engaged offensively and defensively — executing on both ends of the floor.

Did this feel more like a playoff game? Honestly, all the games feel the same. We are out there to win. Obviously, it was loud in there and whatnot, so I guess that may be where you’re getting that from, but for us it was a game that we wanted to win.

BEN SIMMONS (10 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds)

On the second quarter … I think it was just overall the whole game – a lot of mental errors that we didn’t correct. Joel had a tough night, so that also doesn’t help. When we look back at this game, we know that we should’ve won this one, but Toronto made plays.

Did this feel like a playoff game down the stretch? Yes, no. It just felt like a game.

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