All three of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Dwane Casey—the undisputed leaders of the Raptors—are expecting an energized and hungry Washington Wizards squad in Friday night’s Game 3 match-up in Washington D.C.
Should the Raptors defeat the Wizards tonight, their chances of taking the series becomes a near certainty. No team has ever come back to win a series after being down 3-0.
For his part, Casey is ready to weather whatever onslaught comes his way. His demeanor in the final media session before the game tonight says everything—he even denied to give an update on Fred VanVleet (instead choosing a cryptic, noncommittal answer when asked of Fred’s status), making him a tip-off decision as to whether or not he’ll suit up and play.
On matching Washington’s intensity from the start, Casey says, “[t]hey’ve been in this situation before...we need to treat it like it’s zero-zero. We gotta come out ready for them to be in attack mode...we should expect it and be ready for it.”
Watch Casey’s full interview here:
DeRozan seems to share his coaches mindset, saying “the hard part comes now...everything is going to be against us tonight, and we gotta treat it like that.”
These three have been in this type of situation enough times now to understand the magnitude of the challenge they face. Despite being an excellent road team during the regular season, the playoffs are obviously a different story, and the energy around a Game 3 on the road is even more intensified.
In terms of the highly discussed “lineup changes” surrounding Washington entering Game 3, DeRozan had the same attitude he has carried all season. “Just be aggressive. I think whether they’re big or they’re small, just be aggressive,” he suggests.
Check out his full interview below:
As is expected just hours before tip-off, most of the questions asked by reporters were about what the players expected to see from Washington now that they’re on their home court. Lowry, like DeRozan and Casey, expressed his understanding for how important it will be to match the Wizards’ intensity—which will surely be at fever-pitch—but also not to abandon the game-plan.
Says Lowry, “[T]hey’re gonna come out swinging, you know, we gotta go out there and stay the course; just do what we’ve been doing all series.”
On the Wizards going small: “Still play our game. You know, communicate—that’s the biggest thing. We gotta make sure we communicate at a higher level...if they go small, we gotta make the adjustment and we’ll be ready.”
The Toronto Raptors YouTube account even offered up a Game 3 preview video including Paul Jones and Sherman Hamilton. You can have a watch below, or visit the Raptors’ YouTube account homepage here.
Game 3 tips off in less than three hours! Let’s go Raptors!