The Toronto Raptors eked out a win against the Los Angeles Clippers, thanks in large part to returning OG Anunoby and Fred VanVleet, alongside Pascal Siakam. Though there is still conditioning and chemistry work to be done, their energy was pivotal in Friday’s win.
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- I resented a lot of it. [INAUDIBLE] awful.
- [INAUDIBLE] good to get [INAUDIBLE] in the fourth quarter, really did what they're supposed to do for you guys?
- Yeah. You know, again, I thought the three guys, OG included, did a heck of a job. They're keeping us ticking over. Again, searching a little bit for some life and energy there, and I know Delano only played three minutes there, but he was a plus 4 in those three-- I mean, it was just him and Justin came in, I thought. Chris kind of stabilized around those other three guys. It was a good result obviously, Doug, for us. Wasn't easy out there, as you can see, there's some conditioning issue. There's some, there's some just movement issues, I think, as well. But good to sneak one, right?
- Kind of like Justin, like you said, [INAUDIBLE] got a couple of offensive rebounds, a couple of possessions alive. Like how important is that kind of contribution in very limited time?
- Well, it's huge. And I think it shows up, right? They're impactful plays, you know, Pascal missed both free throws and Justin comes away with the ball, right? It takes an unspirited moment and puts some spirit right back into it, right? But it's just the matter again, I think, that spreads just a bit. Right? There's a guy that's around the ball, finding the ball, et cetera. And all of a sudden, Chris is finding it, right? I think both those throw Chris in that group. He was just keeping plays alive, and it was good. We were good, we were searching for energy, so we needed it.
- With the conditioning, you mentioned conditioning. Was that mostly-- I didn't see. Did you see it, well, mostly with the new guys coming back? Because Pascal still seemed to have his energy going.
- Yeah, Pascal was pretty good, I thought. I just, yeah, I thought, again, for me, it felt like on the defensive side we weren't reacting very well, in or out, right, we weren't doing either. When they would penetrate and fire it out there would be nobody within. So it was just some stopped movement there. And then I thought on the offensive end, it was showing up in our shooting. Obviously, I think we started 6 of 8 from 3, and about the next 20 were short. Great shots, open shots we want to take, but it was almost like, it's almost a situation where it felt like, man, I'm not sure that those are the right shots to take tonight just because we don't have any legs. And I think Freddie had two big ones after he went short about six times in a row, and then he had two big ones. But I thought again, I thought, oh gee, Pascal did a heck of a job of taking it to the rim and getting us to the foul line and stuff like that the second half.
- Do you just sort of need a win to get-- not to sort of justify this one off, but just to get them rolling kind of thing, get that confidence going?
- Yeah, I mean it's just, it's been a bit, right? A lot has happened between wins. But I think, again, the most part is, again, it's like the other night, I was so anxious. Some guys were right on the border of being available or not. I wanted, really wanted them to play to get this game out of their system. So this, but I wanted it to be-- so they, again, so we'll make some progress. I think like we've done all year, Doug, every time we've got a whole new look, it takes us a moment to kind of regather the chemistry and some of that stuff. So it's good to get it over with and still get a win.
- Does it get easier when you're [INAUDIBLE] on your roughly third regather?
- Well, no. I mean, I think the only thing that makes it easier is like, you know, yeah. Are you excited about the way the team played tonight or not, especially. But we made a step towards, you know, the regather. You know, even as silly as it sounds, I know we added a couple of guys from-- but even those guys went to Cleveland, and all of a sudden we come back. At least we knew kind of some semblance of how to play together a little better one game later. I don't know, accepting that it's not just going to be, oh, we got our guys back, you know. There's the lawn, you wave, and we're going to be back to midseason form we were in three weeks ago. It's not going to happen. So you just accept it, and I guess that makes it a little easier. Yep. Yep. Yep. Yep.
- And you think the jump is going to be greater getting 2 to 3 than it was 1 to 2?
- You mentioned [INAUDIBLE] just passed out on the last two games. It's his offensive balance between passing, and driving it, and finding them at break for time. Is that sort of where you want it?
- Well, the thing that's happened in the last two games, Eric, more than probably has been happening, which is good to see, we've got him involved as the setter in a lot of screen and rolls. He's getting the ball back on the move towards, you know, on the roll. So that has always been great for him. I mean, you think back to like 2019, all the times, you know, they'd be thinking we're going [INAUDIBLE] and Mark, and we'd go, you know, Freddie and Pascal. And boom, Freddy-- Pascal would be heading downhill right to the rim or whatever.
So that was good to see, and we kind of found that the other night. They moved Embiid over to him, so that was naturally his thing to do. And tonight, they were switching everything, so we could go to them. But I was, he mixed it up good. He screened and rolled into the post, and then he took off rolling a couple of times, just real quick push offs and slip outs to get a couple of different actions. And the biggest thing was, he finished a lot of them. Made some tough shots.
- Anybody else? All good? Okay, everybody.