(29-17) PHILADELPHIA 76ERS, 95 VS. (30-14) TORONTO RAPTORS, 107 SCOTIABANK ARENA WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2020
TORONTO RAPTORS QUOTES
NICK NURSE (HEAD COACH)
On the defence helping to establish the pace … Yeah, I think we’re going through a little bit of mid-season things, I think, just a bit. I think this is a couple games where we just don’t quite seem – we just seem to be a half step or a half second slow at the start of a couple of games here lately. I thought they had five totally uncontested threes in the first four minutes …. We did when it mattered, we were really moving and flying and playing physical most of the second half I thought. We just kind of have to play through some of that stuff once and a while, but I am really proud that they dug in and played defence and gave themselves a chance.
On Fred VanVleet’s shooting since he has been back … He is playing good, and I think again the fresh legs thing, we have seen the benefits for just about everybody and he is a really good shooter and let’s hope he keeps up at that pace.
On the team feeding off Serge Ibaka … I think the biggest asset he has is his rim protection and his rebounding. I think it just changes, when he is really aware and there is a drive coming and he is there early, it just changes the whole possession from there on out. Would-be layups turn into high floaters or pull-ups or stopped drives even, and then usually if they throw something up that doesn’t go in, he is the one that is pulling it down as well. I thought he was really solid on offence too. He was patient, he set good screens, he got to the right spots and he made some key buckets. He is really shooting the ball well too, and he has worked really hard on his mechanics as of late. When they come off his hands, he is hitting them right in the middle, a lot of them. So he has put in some good time and he is doing a good job.
On how much easier the offence is when Serge and Marc Gasol are shooting like they are … That’s the tough one when Serge is rolling and the team is kind of rolling and the game has changed and I look and see Marc is sevenfor-seven, what’s he doing sitting over here. I was contemplating going back with both of the bigs, since they were both playing so well, but they were kind of smallish for them, with (Tobias Harris) at the four. That’s a guy that puts it on the deck pretty good and that group was playing too well to mess it with it probably.
NORMAN POWELL (18 points, eight rebounds)
On team’s slow start to games… It was really mainly our defence. I think we were a step slow to start the game – reacting to what they were doing instead of being the ones dictating where they go. Being physical on the defensive end, and we made it a point to put a little more into the game and that’s what we were able to do in the second half.
Do games against teams close on the standings mean more? For me every win means the same to me. We’ve got to get as many wins as we can to get to where we are going for the playoffs. We are trying to set ourselves up for the best possible run, but games like this it’s really a little bit more weight for the outside, what it is being Eastern Conference teams and top teams in the East, so I just think every game is important.
KYLE LOWRY (16 points, four assists)
On the zone changing the game tonight… I think we’ve got to keep Ben (Simmons) out of transition. Once we were able to score and set up, it was good for us. We really communicated in the zone tonight and made sure we knew where everyone was going to go. We just wanted to switch it up and change the flow of the game a little bit and I think that’s what coach wanted to do.
Is the rest he got the reason Marc Gasol has been shooting better? No, we’ve been on him a little bit and I think he’s been on himself to make sure he’s looking for his own shot, but Marc can still play basketball at a high level and he’s proving it.
FRED VANVLEET (22 points, eight assists)
On his success extending his shooting range… I broke my thumb last year and I was out and couldn’t really do much and I was shooting, I was working out and Nurse just kind of mentioned to me why don’t you just, he said he was looking at the numbers on 35 footer uncontested versus toe-to-line contested three, so we had a conversion about it and I started to implement it. He gave me a little freedom to shoot it and I started then and so obviously the Philly series was a chance for me to say okay, if I can’t get my shot off or if I’m getting contested because they do a good job, taking it a step back or a step two back is a viable option for me, especially if I’m going to put the work in to make it a good shot for me.
PHILADELPHIA 76ERS QUOTES
BRETT BROWN (HEAD COACH)
How do you characterize tonight’s game being shorthanded? I thought that we competed. There was a physical difference I felt from them to us as the game started to get going in the fourth period. I give them credit, when you play in June there are lessons that you learn that spill over to the regular season and there was physicality to their game that you felt. You know, we got Matisse (Thybulle), Furk (Fukan Korkmaz) ,Shake (Milton) and Norvel (Pelle) and the young guys that are feeling what it’s like to play against an NBA champion. We will come out of this thing I think more realistic of what it really takes to play as deep into the calendar as we hope to.
On what you thought of Shake Milton… The JRich (Josh Richardson) thing hurt, like he went out quick. You knew that you were going to have to make some threes. They’re physical all over the place, they scramble and so we thought that our best opportunity to steal a win on the road without Jo (Joel Embiid) and JRich was going to be to hunt some threes, and spread the thing around and play fast and share the ball. I thought at the start of the game in the first period we did that quite well. We missed some shots in the second period, I give Toronto credit for really sort of amping up their defence, but Shake was a part of that environment that I just said, and I thought played really quite well.
On did you think your guys wore down… This is what I felt: I felt that the athletes and the physicality, and the downhill attack, you felt all of that for the whole game. And then Fred (VanVleet) does what he does in the fourth period and goes bananas on making tough shots, they made a bunch of threes – I think four, I think they had nine free throws. We corralled our turnovers, I think we had nine turnovers in the first half, zero in the third, and then had a few too many in the fourth. But I felt like the physicality, the athleticism was something we felt. That’s a team that won a NBA championship and got used to playing that style, and winning with that style and you have to if you are going to play in June. I felt that side of it more than anything.
BEN SIMMONS (17 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists)
How do you characterize this game? That’s just how we play. Obviously you don’t want to see guys go down, but that gives opportunities to other guys to step up. I think it was a good learning experience for some of the guys, especially against a great team in Toronto who have been to the championship last year and won it. We know that’s the level we have to play at – that physicality – offensively and defensively.
How did you feel about Toronto’s physicality? It’s Toronto, that’s just the way they are, especially defensively. They get into your body, trying to get you off balance when you’re attacking the rim. They have great hands. They’re always in there with their hands getting deflections and steals.
How do you move on from Josh Richardson’s injury? Somebody has to step up. That’s everybody. One guy goes down, everybody has got to step up. Josh is a big part of this team – defensively and offensively – so we’re going to miss him for however long it is, but it’s an opportunity for guys to step up and fill that role.
On Shake Milton stepping up… I think he was great. He got to spots and knocked down shots and got deflections. He stepped up. He did really good.
SHAKE MILTON (nine points, four rebounds, two assists)
What was your experience after having to step in when Josh Richardson went down? Like Ben said, it’s next man up. You don’t really want to see anyone go down with injury, but when your number is called you’ve got to step up, just try to stay locked in and my teammates kept encouraging me, so it wasn’t that hard.
What were your teammates saying to give you some confidence out there? They told me to just get to my spots and knock down shots and play with confidence. Once you get up the floor a couple of times you get into a groove. It’s just like playing basketball again.
How do you stay fresh and confident when you haven’t been playing as frequently? Just making sure I keep up with the plays and everything they’ve got going on offensively and defensively. Staying in the gym and putting in the work and doing my best to stay locked in every single game.
TOBIAS HARRIS (22 points, six rebounds and four assists)
How do you characterize this loss with the injuries to a few key Sixers players? I thought even with guys out we still had a chance to be in this game and get a win. Give them credit, they did a really good job after the first quarter in defending us. We had a great first quarter, but after that they scored too many points in the paint. I think it was 52 points in the paint. That’s too many. They were the more physical team all throughout after the first.
What was it about how they defended you that gave you some trouble? I think they got up into our stuff. Obviously they presented some zone at times that kind of altered our play a little bit. So some things we have to get better at execution-wise, defensively on our part, we let the wrong guys get off and get shots to fall. There are a few things we have to clean up.
Where will you feel the loss of Josh the most? JRich is a great player. Obviously he brings it at both ends of the floor. Like we’ve had all year, it’s the next man up mentality. Whenever it’s presented, come and be ready to go out there. Shake did a great job tonight coming in and staying ready and giving us that lift. It’s just the next man up.
What happened in the Raptors’ 10-0 run over a three minute stretch in the fourth? I think we turned the ball over in that stretch which led to them to get out in transition. That’s when Siakam got the and-one dunk, I believe. On our part we didn’t have good offensive execution. We didn’t get up good shots and the good looks that we needed. It’s something we have to get better at.