RAPTORS 119, PACERS 118. WHAT THE TEAMS SAID: “They’ve been good for a really long time, even before this year and last year. They are well-coached, their players know their roles, they know what they’re supposed to do, and really not supposed to do. They know certain parts of the game, when it’s going to happen, what needs to be executed, they know who’s going to have the ball, who’s not going to have the ball, and they know what they need to do to help their team win. That’s why they’re successful.” –VICTOR OLADIPO.




On staying with Serge Ibaka after he picked up his fifth foul … At that point in the game, it was kind of on the line – I thought, anyway. I think we might have been down around 10 at the time or something and I just figured you try that for a little bit and see what happens. He was playing really well, and it was like save him for what. Fortunately he was able to last it.

On the guys just going crazy when they are trapping and pressing on defence … We certainly had some energy left at the end the way that we were moving. You are just trying to get them into something that changes the rhythm of the game and they were in great rhythm. They were really carving us to pieces and we got them out of their sets and then as we have seen with that press before, once you get one they look shaky quickly. It is not just them – you have seen us do it, we’ve been pressed and we give one up and all of sudden it turns into three really quick. It takes you out of your offence. The play of the night really was, obviously that last possession, it was like 29 seconds long I think and they had it the whole time until we got out of there, but we had decided to blitz the next (Malcolm) Brogdan pick and roll about 1:50 earlier and we were pre-rotating to (Domantas) Sabonis on that and we remembered to do it. Which after all that stuff that was going on and they did it. Sabonis kind of got stuck right there at the beginning and when Brogdan came off that thing and let go, I was like, perfect, I thought maybe we would steal that but we were there. Then we froze him and kind of got back and (Victor) Oladipo got a pretty good look there at the end, but still we were flying around pretty good.

On a strange game from Pascal Siakam, but coming through at the end … That’s what he did, he stayed in there. He wasn’t getting to really balanced shots in there, he was getting to some great positions, like one where he got to like two feet and shot it about six all the way over the basket to other side. It was like he made a really good move and for some reason his balance was being affected I thought pretty much early in the game and then he just decided to start coming downhill at the. He would go for it once, then slam on the brakes and kick it out once, then go for it. He made great reads again, this is maybe his third, fourth close game we’ve had where he has delivered scoring or passing down the stretch and of course those guys have made the shots which is big.

KYLE LOWRY (32 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds)

Do you feel like this team is never out of the game regardless even when you’re down 10, 15 points? We play 48 minutes. That’s how we play. We put a little pressure on them and made some shots, got aggressive and started playing a little bit better defense down the stretch. We played a little faster, more aggressive and Pascal made some great plays. He made some big shots.

Does it give you confidence, knowing you guys have gone to the press late in games with success? It’s not confidence, it’s doing what we have to do to try to win basketball games, no matter what it takes. It’s what we’ve always tried to do and something we build on. We try to get better as a team. Every game is learning a lesson and you continue to get better throughout the season and enjoy this journey.

Is there something you guys have been doing differently during this winning streak? Day-by-day, game-by-game, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute. We don’t think about the streak. … We think about how to win games.

Have you seen an improvement in Serge Ibaka’s passing? Yes, he has made a very conscious effort to make the extra pass. He made a great pass to Pascal on the run tonight. I think he’s getting comfortable doing what he wanted to do and what is needed.

PASCAL SIAKAM (25 points, nine rebounds, five assists)

Do you feel the team is never really out of it regardless of the score? Yes, we just keep playing. We understand that most of the time it’s about us bringing the intensity up and correcting some of the mistakes that we make. We always know that it’s just a matter of time that we are going to get a rhythm to the game and get stops. Anything can happen.

Is there a method to the press late in games? I think we just make it powerful, especially during the whole game they felt like it was easy and got whatever they wanted. We wanted to make sure we made it hard on them. Better pressure, flying around. They made a lot of threes so once we collapsed we had to get out to them.

On coming up big on both ends late in the game… It was a tough game. At the end of the game, it doesn’t matter what the result is – if I make 20 shots or I miss 20 shots – as long as I continue to be aggressive and you could argue that I could have calls or no calls, whatever the case may be. I think at the end of the day for me I have to stay aggressive. No matter the result, I have to have the same attitude. It was on me to contribute to make sure I go out there and be the best player I can be.

Is there anything that stands out about this winning streak? I think it’s a little bit of everything. We play together, no matter what happens we stay calm and weather the storm and continue to play basketball. We don’t get down on ourselves when we miss shots or have turnovers or be down 20. It’s about us staying together as a team and I think we did a great job of that tonight. Even when it wasn’t going well, we didn’t really have anybody talking down on anybody or anybody pointing fingers. It was about us getting together. Once we turn it on we know we can win any night.

SERGE IBAKA (30 points, seven rebounds, three assists)

What do you think was the biggest key to the comeback? I think we keep our composure during the game. We know we’ve beat them before. We’ve beat them many times before in the position. We just didn’t give up. We try to keep competing to the end.

How did feel when that feel when that 3 dropped at the end? It feels good. I missed a couple open 3s earlier. Coach told me at the timeout, “hey Serge, keep shooting with confidence and push the ball.” He gave me a lot of confidence.

Is that something you’ve been working on? Yes, I’ve been working on it. That’s another reason, too. Once I got the ball I said to myself, “I have to shoot it.” I work on the shot every day and it went in.

It feels like you’re never out of the game, is that how you approach it? Like I said earlier, we’ve been there before, even in the playoffs. It’s a mindset of don’t give up, keep trusting each other, don’t point fingers when things go bad. We stay together. I think that’s what makes us very special.




What went wrong in the last couple of minutes? Turnovers, just not handling the ball, executing down the stretch, 27 points off of turnovers. You just got to take care of the basketball.

What did you see from your team with Victor Oladipo inserted into the starting lineup? We gave ourselves a chance to win tonight. We had this game; we’ve got to finish games when you have a team down. Just poor execution the last five minutes of this game. Defensively, the second half we gave up 71 points. So we’ve got to finish games.

What do you think contributed to the turnovers? Spacing, being careless with the basketball. You’ve just got to execute. We knew they were a team that had a trap, and we didn’t get our spacing, and just didn’t care of the basketball.

VICTOR OLADIPO (13 points, two assists, two rebounds)

On tonight’s game… I think down the stretch (it was) little mistakes. I felt like we were playing to just maintain the lead instead of playing to win the game. That’s just my personal opinion. They executed. We didn’t execute. I felt like they knew exactly what they wanted to do down the stretch and I felt like we didn’t. We weren’t really sure, but again, it’s probably because I haven’t played with them in a long time. But it’s good for us to have these kinds of games now than later in the season or in the playoffs so we know what we need to do better … Something to learn from. Obviously we’ve all got to watch film and get better. We play them again on Friday, so it’s a quick turnaround. We’ve got to be ready to play.

Are you surprised by Toronto’s win streak? No. They’ve been good for a really long time, even before this year and last year. They are well-coached, their players know their roles, they know what they’re supposed to do, and really not supposed to do. They know certain parts of the game, when it’s going to happen, what needs to be executed, they know who’s going to have the ball, who’s not going to have the ball, and they know what they need to do to help their team win. That’s why they’re successful.

MALCOLM BROGDON (24 points, six rebounds, six assists)

On tonight’s ending… We couldn’t get stops at the end. They made some tough buckets. (It) was just sort of a series of things.

Do you guys have an issue with dealing with this kind of pressure down the stretch? No. I mean, it’s happened a few times, but we don’t have a problem with that. We just struggled with it tonight.

What in particular made it difficult tonight? It was on us. We just weren’t organized. It wasn’t a special press. We just weren’t organized in our spots. We didn’t get the ball up the court fast enough. We didn’t attack it. A lot of the time with press breaks, you’ve got to attack it (and) try and get a bucket or layup on the other end. We were really just trying to get it over half court.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s