Following a massive Game 5 win over the Sixers on Monday, Raptors forward Thaddeus Young credited the team’s game-planning, pace, ball distribution and defensive execution, among other things, for pulling Toronto back into the series. Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.
- Has the game plan, has it been good for what's going on?
THAD YOUNG: Yeah, I think our game plans have been good from game one. You know, it's just a matter of just going out to execute. I think the biggest thing was for us, losing the first three games, was disparity in free throw count. Now, there's not very much disparity in the free throw count.
And I think that the game is kind of like going into a good flow. I think we're playing at a good pace. Constantly running that stuff, giving the ball to the guys that need the ball, and letting them make plays. And just feeding off the energy and everything that defense is giving us, and just making sure that we're prepared to go out there and knock down shots or make plays and make 3s.
- And you talked about speeding up faster with Joel. Was there the same approach or a different path just with [INAUDIBLE] So first couple of games, the pass spread was spot-on, pass spread. Was there something else that would obstruct that?
THAD YOUNG: I think like with James, we were just kind of like over-sending him to one place, as opposed to just guarding the ball straight up, and then making him go around guys, and then bringing guys when we need to bring guys. Sometimes, you bring so many guys to the basketball. And James is a superstar player. He's going to make plays. I mean, for the most part, that's what he wants to do. You know, he knows he can score the basket, he knows he can get to the free throw line. But he wants to get his guys involved, because he knows how to open up the court and open up the game for everybody else.
So for us, it's just all about time. Make sure we bring the guy at the right time. They can see bodies at the right time, at the rim. And hopefully, he doesn't finish the ones that he usually finishes at the rim. And when he does kick them out, make him float the ball, as opposed to just on a straight line as it passes around the court.
- Offensively, you obviously have to pass the premium a lot more. I've seen so much confidence in your work. But this difference with Scottie [INAUDIBLE].
THAD YOUNG: Scottie's a really good facilitator. He's a very smart basketball player. Obviously, like, he's young, so he's gonna throw up some crazy shots here and there, but that happens with young guys. And he's easy to reel back in. You can talk to him and say, hey, like, that's not a good shot. Do this, this, and this. And he'll do it. So for us, we need Scottie to keep facilitating, keep taking advantage of the mismatches that he has.
I mean, he's kind of like what Ben Simmons was for the Sixers last year, or the year prior. He's that big body that's a point guard. They switch on him, and now he can take them to the post. And he can make plays, he can make 3s out of the post. And he can abuse them. And he's done a really good job of doing that, but also done a really good job of orchestrating the offense and getting us into some good flow.
- [INAUDIBLE]. Were you surprised? Or I guess, what's your reaction to how sort of [INAUDIBLE] of a performance this was?
THAD YOUNG: I'm not surprised at all. Like, these guys, from day one when I got here, they seemed like a great group of guys who are very poised to have a really good coaching staff. We have a really good staff that puts gameplans together. And our job is to go out and execute the game plans out to our best of our ability. That's what we all do. We go out there, we play as hard as we can. Everybody listens to each other. Because no one man is bigger than the team, you know? And that's why we're able to go out there and win basketball games, we're able to get ourselves back into this series, and continue to fight each and every night.
- You had it 93 times in the fourth quarter. It seems like every time you would string together two or three buckets, you know this city well, this fan base well. How important was it to keep the crowd out of it?
THAD YOUNG: It's very important to keep this crowd out of the game. You know, they can get very loud. This building can get them rocking, and you don't want that. But I think with us being the team that we are, we're a very resilient team. And the crowd hasn't really bothered us too much. But it can get that way sometimes, and we don't want that to happen.
So we want to come out and make sure we give our best punch before they're able to punch us, and get up and control the game. I think we did a really good job. We controlled the game from start to finish. Yeah, they're going to run, but every team makes a run. It's about withstanding those runs, and we did a really good job. Danny started making some 3's. And we didn't get too overanxious. We came down, we articulated, ran our offense, and we come down with knock-down shots.
- Is it standards for fans to leave the room?
THAD YOUNG: Say that again?
- Is it standard for fans to leave that room?
THAD YOUNG: I mean, sometimes. The Philly fans, they're tough. I think that's one of the reasons why, like, I loved being here for the seven years I was here. They're a tough crowd. They let you know when you're doing great, they're going to let you know what you're doing wrong. And they want to see everybody play hard. This is the Blue-Collar City, and that's what they believe in. Blue-collar work and making sure that you're bringing your 100% maximum effort each and every night.
- You had them going it a little bit. With them being favorites and you guys frustrating them, what kind of pressure, given the crowd and the talents, does that put up?
THAD YOUNG: I mean, I'm not really looking too much into the pressure thing. For us, it's all about us. Just coming out, winning games, making sure we take care of business. Putting the ball in the guys' hands that need the ball, and making sure that when every guy who's stepping out there, they do their job. That's the only thing we care about. Doing our job, making sure we get wins, and then seeing how it goes at the end.
- Thanks, everyone. That was a good one here.