Game 6 of Raptors vs. Wizards goes down tonight at 7pm. We’ve had a day and a half to absorb that fact, while revelling in the delicious win on Wednesday night. As per usual, the main Raptors — Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, and coach Dwane Casey — hit the microphone, along with a bonus appearance from Delon Wright. Here’s all the fun from the past two days.
First up, we go to Dwane Casey from back-to-back shootarounds. On Thursday, Casey was again beating the drum of staying aggressive and shot ready, and also was forced to talk about rebounding, which was a huge problem in Game 5 for the Raptors. Hey, did you know Casey refers to long rebounds as “moon rebounds”? Who knew!
There’s also a lot of talk here about Casey and his gut — his coach’s gut! This is actually an interesting (and perhaps eye-opening) peak into Casey’s decision making process. Obviously there are numbers, and he’s got to use those to inform his choices, but he’s also got a lot of experience to work with, and that ol’ gut to rely on. I’m sure this will calm many of you down about Dwane Casey.
Oh yeah, an update on Fred VanVleet from Casey: “Fred is Fred,” and then he confirmed FVV is still day-to-day.
Then on Friday Casey spoke about turnovers — e.g it’s best to turn the ball over into the 15th row instead of in the open floor — and maintaining a sense of urgency in tonight’s close-out game.
There’s a brief chat here about Serge Ibaka as the Raps’ quote-unquote third guy, the next man to step up. It’s a fortunate thing Toronto has gotten something from Wright when they’ve needed it (more on that in a bit), but Ibaka has been MIA now for three games, which continues to be bizarre.
As for a VanVleet update here, well we’ll see (and also, he’s been upgraded to Questionable).
Now, a segue into Kyle Lowry and his chat on Thursday after Game 5. He spends most of his time talking about rest and minutes and workload. It’s acknowledged that Lowry is playing more minutes but, hey, he feels great.
Back at shootaround on Friday, it’s no surprise DeMar DeRozan remains totally unperturbed by the road, by the Washington fans, and by the Wizards runs that are certainly coming.
The highlights here include DeRozan’s comments about a possible Game 7 (it’s win or go home, folks!), and the apparent special glow around OG Anunoby. According to DeRozan, the Raptors rookie is “special” — whatever that means — though he declined to explain what he meant. (I decided not to embed today’s shootaround clip from Kyle Lowry, but for the record: Lowry says OG is “different.”)
And then of course there was this classic throwback DeRozan analogy:
“You’ll walk around at home in your drawers, that don’t mean you’ll go to your friends house and feel comfortable doing the same thing,” said DeRozan, before clarifying: “I don’t know where the hell that came from. I just thought it was a cool analogy.”
DeMar is in peak readiness mode.
Speaking of some interesting quotes, here’s Delon Wright on Thursday discussing his aggressiveness in Game 5, and the shots he decided to take. Comparing Delon’s performances between Games 3 and 4 on the road, and his play in the Raptors’ home games, including Game 5, really is like night and day.
There’s not a ton of other noteworthy things to mention here, except this weird little war of words (such as it is) between Wright and Kelly Oubre Jr. on the Wizards. After Oubre was dismissive of Delon’s home/road performance splits, he had some words to say:
A little motivation for Delon Wright on his birthday: Kelly Oubre Jr. to Washington Post: “The next game is a different story. We’re back at home. Just like Delon doesn’t play well anywhere else, you know, other than at home,” Oubre said.— Mike Ganter (@Mike_Ganter) April 26, 2018
“I saw it. I mean, that’s his opinion,” said Wright. “I didn’t play as good as I did at home there, but he made it seem like I was just a total bust. We’ll see in Game 6.”
That’s a perfectly respectable answer, one that continues Wright’s self-effacing streak, acknowledges the ups and downs of his play, and leaves the door open for good things in the future.
But then, here’s Delon again:
Delon, under his breath as he walked off: "I've got a quote ready for (Oubre) after we win."— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 26, 2018
It is on. My little brother is fed up. Now, what could that quote be? Oh to be able to go in Delon’s head and hear him turning this killer line around in his head. Would it be wild? Mean? Intense? Scary? Funny? What could Oubre possi—
Oubre: "I'm not trying to do this psychological warfare. He can take it very personally, but at the end of the day if you want to go to war I'm the wrong person to go to war against, because if I die I'mma come back to life and kill you."— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) April 27, 2018
(Admittedly, Oubre actually did explain, before dropping the above psychedelic quote, that his comments were misconstrued. He wasn’t say Delon was only good at home, ever. Also, it doesn’t really make a ton of sense to get into a trash-talking contest with Wright — I’m just not sure he would respond.)
Hoo boy. On to Game 6.
Update: I should include this news story too, as originally reported by the Washington Post’s Candace Buckner:
BREAKING: Otto Porter Jr. is undergoing a small procedure on his left leg today to address a build up of blood flow in the area of his contusion, the Washington Post has learned.— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) April 27, 2018
He is OUT for Game 6, as well as the rest of the series if it continues.