So the dream of a sweep against the Wizards is dead. If it had happened, if the Raptors had won last night and then again on Sunday, we’d never have to hear about 2015 again. As it is, we shall never truly shake those feelings (at least I won’t), and now we have to reflect on the disaster that was Game 3.
Warning: Watching the following post-game clips from the Raptors will not help your mood.
Here anyway is coach Dwane Casey talking about the two biggest problems — turnovers and the Wizards’ shooting over 50 percent. Casey is a professional about it, but still, you can tell it pains him.
Casey does acknowledge the Wizards aren’t “your typical eighth seed” and says the Raptors have to push all that “bullcrap” about that squad not being together to the side. He also, as per his old school basketball roots, talks about the game getting physical — and subtly admonishes his team for not quite matching the level of intensity required.
(Also, you’ve got to love how subtle Casey is with his ref trash talk here. He says he believe the whole game should be played that way, e.g. with physicality, which is a sly way of saying the referees were letting the Wizards getting away with some things that the Raps weren’t quite able to do. But that’s none of my business.)
Now here’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan (with a bandage on his cheek), far more muted than their post-Game 2 frivolity:
“Ain’t nobody fighting out here,” says Lowry when asked about the kerfuffle in the first half between OG Anunoby and Markieff Morris. And he’s absolutely right. No one was going to fight, but then he also notes that all of this helped get the Wizards fired up and going the right way. DeRozan, for his part, concurs.
Here’s an interlude about Jonas Valanciunas, looking positively Ron Burgundy-esque in that turtleneck, talking about the Raptors’ turnovers, the Wizards’ gambling more on defense, and, yes, you guessed it, playing with intensity.
Building on the theme of turnovers, here’s Jakob Poeltl talking about the inexplicableness of the slippery ball for Toronto, the aggressiveness of John Wall and Bradley Beal, and what the Wizards did to get going.
I’d like to nod to Poeltl here for saying that the Raptors were not actually affected by some of the pushing and shoving in the game. “No one wants to back down,” he says, which is something I want firmly to believe. The Raptors did look shook though, those turnovers were in part because Toronto looked a bit out of sorts, a tad tentative.
I don’t know if guys were afraid to shoot, but as Casey noted earlier, there were a lot of passes made that just weren’t there, and a lot of guys looking to play a little hot potato with the ball. Someone needs to be confident here.
And here, finally, is Pascal Siakam with an actual busted lip — which really feels emblematic of the entire game (but hopefully not the series).
Siakam is asked about the missing Fred VanVleet, whose absence is surely having an effect on the Raptors’ bench unit play. It’s a theme that runs through all of the clips above — Toronto misses his composure and confidence. But Siakam also says something else of importance here: everyone needs to step up.
Here’s hoping for Game 4 on Sunday.