12/28 Arbella Quote Worthy: Raptors vs. Celtics
Click on a player to reveal quotes from their postgame press conference.
RE: Not starting off well defensively:
I just don’t – you know, we haven’t been – I haven’t felt like we’ve been great on that end as much recently, but we’ve had our moments certainly. Had our moments tonight on defense but they absolutely destroyed us in transition, which was bad. You know, those transition layups in the first half – they were up five, but they’ve got eight points that are uncontested on run-outs. You can’t allow that. It’s not – it’s not good. And then they were great in the pick-and-roll all night. They destroyed us. And so, we have to be much better defending that. And, but that’s, you know, I don’t think we’re very good at it yesterday either. So, we’ve got a lot of work to do to be the best version of ourselves. I don’t think tonight is as much about us. I think that they – I think that our – that our guys did some good things and had some moments, but that – they deserve a lot of praise. They came in here and set the tone for how the game was going to be played; played with great energy. They looked like people that were the last team standing last year, just from the standpoint of even though it’s a lot of different guys, just, they played with great make-up today.
RE: Officiating seeming to get on players’ nerves:
“I would say – I don’t want to speak about individual moments. I would say generally Toronto played a fast, physical, tough game and we were on our heels all night. And we probably were frustrated by that, as much as we were by anything else, and that – I’ve got absolutely no complaints with the officiating. I thought the officiating was fine, good. I thought Toronto was better than Boston; that is the bottom line.”
RE: Transition defense:
“We haven’t been very good at it recently, but we’ve been winning, so we’re not talking about it a lot. You know, I think the bottom line is, is that we have to – we have to be better on, on that end of the floor generally. We’ve had – we’ve had some moments, as we’ve talked about, and we certainly had some possessions tonight, but we’ve got to get back to being a better defensive team. And we’ve got to find – we’ve got to find the right mix of guys that will defend well together and that complement our best players to defend well. And just get back to that. You’re not going to win a game like tonight by outscoring these guys again, right? They other day was a little bit of an anomaly. They – that was a tired game for them. I mean, hey played the 22nd and 23rd and then a noon game on the 25th. That’s tough. To expect that we were going to see the same team tonight would’ve been silly.”
RE: Raptors’ rebounds and second-chance points:
“First of all, they’re great athletes. You know, all the way across the board, all the way up and down their roster. So, anybody they check in can fly to the ball. And what they give away in size and strength with (Marc) Gasol being out, you put (Chris) Bouche, you put (Oshae) Brissett, you put (Serge) Ibaka and then you put all those wings running in there. They just get to the ball quickly. So you better hit them before they get to the paint on block-outs, and we just didn’t do that. We let them run all over the place and they were faster to the ball than us. They outplayed us. They deserve credit.”
RE: On the game:
“We definitely missed some shots that we normally make, but so much credit to those guys and the way they played and how they came out from the very beginning of the game.
RE: What happened with rebounding tonight?
“I wish I could tell you. They wanted it more man, you could tell. They deserved that win, no question. We just have to look at this game and just get better; that’s really all we can do. I think we have to get back to the drawing board a little bit. We had a game last night, obviously, and we came out. They pounced on us from the very beginning of the game, and like I said, they deserved to win.”
RE: Do you feel like the Celtics are the team to beat in the East right now?
“We beat those guys (Toronto) two times already. Obviously, a few days ago on Christmas – they definitely remembered that of course. Those are defending champs; they’ve got a target on they’re back. They’re the team to beat, and they came in like they were the defending champs tonight. Like I said, just so much credit to those guys and the way they played, man, they were great.”
RE: How did it feel out there?
“It felt great. It felt really good out there. My body felt amazing and my shots just didn’t fall. It is like that first game back so I’m not too worried about it. I am sure they will fall next time.”
RE: How is your vision? Sensitive to light?
“To start off, it was really sensitive. Throughout the game it eased up a little bit but my vision is still a little blurry and my eyes are still really dry. So, it takes a little bit longer for me to adjust but for the most part it was good. It didn’t really affect my play on the court which is good so I can deal with it. But, there is a little sensitivity to light.”
RE: Are you still on medication for your eyes?
“Yes, I am still on steroid drops that they prescribed to me. I am taking them now two times a day instead of four, so that is good. Just slowly easing my way off of them.”
RE: Toronto’s defense:
“Really they just came out of the gate and we weren’t ready. We were playing catch-up the whole game. When you are playing catch-up like that against a really good team it’s tough. They made every right play out there and you have to give credit to Toronto. We came into their house on Christmas Day and got a big game going. We knew that coming into this game they weren’t going to take that lightly. We just weren’t prepared for it.”
RE: Officiating tonight:
“The way it was called it was similar to a playoff game. They weren’t calling those little hand slaps that we are used to getting and things like that. They let a lot of stuff go on both sides, so it was a fun game to be honest. But, we didn’t match their level that we needed to on a back-to-back. It was definitely a lesson learned but we need to get better and we are not where we need to be yet but we have to continue to keep working.”
RE: What are the benefits to having a reset game like this to seeing what you guys need to fix?
“Yeah this is definitely a game I will watch on film and learn from. On this level of intensity game, we have to be poised and make the right decisions and make the right plays. We missed a lot of easy ones just because of the intensity of the game. We were a little bit excited but we have to learn from it. We are a young team and we will bounce back.”
RE: On the game:
“I think we did a better job at not giving them so many wide-open shots to begin with. We obviously changed a lot of our coverages tonight to get up and try to force them in to make the extra pass, and then fly out from there. I think that’s probably where that started, and we had a lot of guys play very well. Pat (Patrick) McCaw had the game of the year, or game as a Raptor. He had almost a triple-double in 42 minutes; he was doing it all. Oshae Brissett came in, was awesome; first time he’s ever played for us. Rebounding, you know, he got a couple key put-backs for us, sort of keeping the ball alive. And then obviously Kyle (Lowry) and Fred (VanFleet) and Serge (Ibaka) were very, very good.”
RE: McCaw coming out of his shell:
“We talked a little bit about getting him more involved. I thought getting him to bring the ball up the floor and starting a bunch of the offenses early on would just keep him engaged. It’s good because you’ve got Fred and Kyle kind of coming off each side or whatever we’re doing, and if he can get it in the paint and fire it out to those guys, it’s probably better than the other way around just from shooting percentage and shooting-wise and stuff. I think that was important. He’s a really, really good rebounder. He played for me for Canada, and he rebounded like that all the time for us. I thought, also, he was good defensively. He moved his feet; he was guarding some really big-time NBA players out there and he was doing an adequate job against them."
RE: Was there any extra emphasis because you played this team before a couple of days ago?
“No, I don’t think it’s any emphasis. I think we just wanted to really go out there and really compete a little better than we did on Christmas. And I think we wanted to come here and try to win the ball game and play our game. You know on Christmas we didn’t play our game and we all kind of felt those effects. We wanted to come and make sure we just played our game tonight.”
RE: Nick Nurse talked about changing the coverages; did the execution and fight and everything fit together tonight?
“I think the game plan Coach put in, and we kind of followed it really to a T. Patrick McCaw playing point, it definitely helped us out. Being up on Kemba (Walker) a little bit more. Kemba’s still going to get his but try to make it a little bit tougher, make his threes a little bit tougher. But we did our job tonight. Serge (Ibaka) played big, Chris (Boucher) played big, and everyone kind of accepted everything tonight and just played our butts off.”
RE: How did Patrick McCaw bringing the ball up affect you?
“I mean, it gives us more space; it gives us a lot more space out there. It gives a lot more freedom to go out there and kind of execute what need to do. Run around a little bit more, open the floor up a lot more and you know – and give us a chance to attack downhill.”
RE: Is there a natural comfort level handling the ball?
“I think it’s easier when you have guys around you that can score and facilitate as well. And that’s always been my natural comfort zone, just handling the ball and making plays for others and feeding off of other guys. That’s all I tried to do tonight.”
RE: When did you feel like handling the ball would be something you would be doing all night?
“The practice before the game in Toronto he kind of started putting me on the ball in some of the offensive sets. And running Kyle (Lowry) and Fred (VanVleet) up and downs and running plays for them to score and facilitate. And that’s when I kind of figured out I would be handling the ball more kind of setting up the offense. Like I said, that’s kind of my comfort level; I’ve always played on the ball and just handling the ball and making plays is something I’m just used to doing.”
RE: Who was pushing that there’s got to be payback for the Christmas Day game?
“I think it was internal. Well for me, definitely it didn’t sit well for me on Christmas Day. I’ve played a few Christmas games and they’re always exciting and the whole world is watching, and we definitely didn’t give it our best effort. And I think tonight we all took it personally for sure. It wasn’t talked about; guys just went out there and gave it their all. It was fun.”