Jonas Valanciunas has looked like the most prepared Raptor in the first two games of the post-season, playing with intensity and consistency, while not taking a moment for granted. It also helps that Jonas views his low-post match-up, Marcin Gortat, as one of his personal rivals.
As such, Valanciunas knows what to expect when it comes to the Wizards’ centre. “We know each other’s moves... maybe he didn’t have it going last game, but that’s not what you can expect from him on Friday. He’s going to come out with special energy and special motivation to play.”
Valanciunas was also asked how he would respond should the Wizards decide to put Mike Scott in place of Gortat in the starting lineup. You can watch his entire interview here:
Dwane Casey was his usual self this afternoon, and discussed the teams’ defense at length. However, Casey refused to give specifics on how the Raptors would respond defensively if the Wizards decided to “go small,” (presumably with Mike Scott replacing Marcin Gortat at center) saying “we’ll see, we’ll see. We’re not going to announce how we’re going to play certain situations.”
A good decision by the Raptors’ lead man. Overall, Casey has liked what he’s seen from the entire team so far, specifically mentioning Valanciunas’ intensity and OG Anunoby’s veteran poise.
Other than a few blips on defense, he seems confident in everyone’s ability to get on the same page in their efforts to contain John Wall in the paint a little better in Game 3.
Fred VanVleet remains day-to-day, after a short three minutes of floor time on Tuesday, in which he looked totally out of it. Maybe it was the magnitude of the situation after sitting out for almost a week. Whatever it was, Casey didn’t like what he saw. Thus, Fred remains a game-time call for Friday.
You can watch his answers in their entirety here:
Finally, the camera got to Jakob Poeltl. Poeltl discussed the changes he’s seen in his college (and current) teammate Delon Wright, specifically mentioning his ability to knock down threes in rhythm.
He also mentions how his love for volleyball has helped him become one of the league’s best shot-blocking centers, saying, “I think there’s some stuff on the court that translates from me knowing a little bit about volleyball. I think you can take any sport and translate some stuff into any other sport.”
Jakob is thinking on another level with this meta-athletics stuff.
On a more somber note, Poeltl was asked how his family was enjoying his first real playoff minutes. Unfortunately, he said his mother wasn’t able to get time off of work for the first round and legitimately seemed sad in that moment. And now I’m sad for him.
On to Game 3 tomorrow evening in America’s capital city. Coverage starts at 8:00 pm EST on TSN 1/4/5.