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Toronto Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. discusses his offensive game against the 76ers, what the mood was like in the Raptors locker room when they were down 3-0 in their series vs. the 76ers, and Scottie Barnes.
- What did you sort of learn about yourself in this last series? It's the first real run you've had in the postseason. What did you learn about your ability and willingness to handle the load and responsibility?
GARY TRENT JR.: I just believe in my work. Showcase-- continue, I work on. Go out there. Try to help the team win any way possible.
- Has anything caught you by surprise-- the atmosphere, the energy, the daily changes to game plans that you've been involved in in any game?
GARY TRENT JR.: Oh, no. Not even. It's everything that I expected it was going to be and more. So, you know, it's fun. It's exciting. Glad to go out there and compete.
- How much [INAUDIBLE]?
GARY TRENT JR.: Depending on what you're asking, it could change a lot to how people are feeling. But for me, just staying level-headed through it all. Stay constant, consistent. Go out there and compete. Whatever happened happened. It's the playoffs. So, you know, anything could happen any time during the game.
Is there something to the fact that you're feeling 100% back as to why things might have slowed down for you a little bit in game 4?
GARY TRENT JR.: Sure. You can say that. Especially, obviously, them knowing I was sick too. They was trying to go at me, play me in pick and roll, certain situations. But they just showing I can hold my own, continue to defend, what I've been doing all year.
- Gary, what's the experience in game 3 losing a game like that at a critical point? What do you guys take away from that? And how did it change [INAUDIBLE] in game 4 or 5?
GARY TRENT JR.: The only thing you really can do with that situation, you know, is look at the drawing board. Take it on the chin. Continue to keep pushing, you know. Obviously, you want to win that type of game. But that's not always the outcome. So, you know, go out there. Control what you control. And just hoop.
--really screwed ourselves or, like, was it more like-- what-- how do you rebound from there?
GARY TRENT JR.: The only thoughts we had was winning the game, next game, no matter what that was-- how we had to do it. Whatever-- nothing else was in our head but trying to get a win.
- What was it about this season [INAUDIBLE] that allows you to believe that every single game [INAUDIBLE]?
GARY TRENT JR.: Just everything we've been through all year, whether it's injuries, whether it's COVID protocols, whether it's-- whatever it may be. We weather the storm every time. We try to go out there and play. Again, and stay level-headed. Don't get too high or too low, no matter what the situation is, good or bad. So, you know, continue, just go.
- Gary, is it a little easier on the work when you've won two games in a row versus when you've lost three in a row? Is the morale any different?
GARY TRENT JR.: No, I wouldn't say that. You know, I would say it's always a certain amount of focus-- you know, a focus level that we have when we come into this building, whether it's practice or whether it's game. So I haven't really gone too far with that one.
- And despite that this team is so young, [INAUDIBLE] as much pressure as the situation when we're all in the playoffs. How can this situation you just faced [INAUDIBLE]?
GARY TRENT JR.: I wouldn't really say it's too much pressure. You know, besides individual pressure, you know, that guys might put on theyself to play good. But, you know, we feel like we can win and play with anybody. So experience or not, we feel like we got a chance.
- Is it too early to realize [INAUDIBLE]
GARY TRENT JR.: With coming back?
GARY TRENT JR: We ain't really put too much thought into it, I haven't. But obviously--
- [INAUDIBLE] it's never been done before. [INAUDIBLE]
GARY TRENT JR: Yeah, for sure. No. Just go out there and play. Whatever happens, happens. If you make it you make it, if you don't you don't. Control what you can control believe in your outcome.
- Gary, as a scorer, how come you've been able to translate your scoring so seamlessly from the regular season to the playoffs, when a lot of people struggle in their first couple playoff series to kind of make that adjustment to the more physical defense?
GARY TRENT JR: Yeah, just going out there to showcase my work. You know, obviously I've had a regular season to prepare you for the postseason. We played against this team about six, seven, eight times now. So you obviously know how they're going to guard, you know certain players on the team, their roles and their defensive schemes. So just really going out there, watching the film, and showcasing my work, that's it.
- Gary, how does your offense change when Fred's not on the court?
GARY TRENT JR: It changes when everybody's-- different positions, different. Whether it's Fred's out, whether it's Scottie out, whether it's Pascal out, it changes, obviously. Might be more shots there for me being a primary scoring guard. Without another guard being out there, but it could change, vary by whoever is out there.
- Does it feel like you're defended differently when Fred's not on the court, because you're more of a shooter?
GARY TRENT JR: You can say that. As we was going out throughout the year, different teams was guarding me different ways. Whether it was the streak, or the 30 points together, or coming off 40, or different type of stuff, they guard me different games, different various ways. But you know, it's really just again, watching the film. After you play a certain team so many times, you know how they're going to guard you, you know their defensive schemes, you know you can get your shots off.
- When Embiid is [INAUDIBLE], not necessarily to guard you, but sort of show you another body after the catch, what are you looking for in terms of getting your shot off? Is it his arms, or whether he like slows his motion toward you? What do you look for in terms of like-- now's my time to take that shot?
GARY TRENT JR: It really depends on what the next defender is doing. If somebody either cuts through or runs through, that could get an open spot for you to drive and attack at. Or really just trying to get an open look. Obviously, you know him being a long defender, being seven foot, he's attacking. Meet him at the rim and try to get him off his feet or try to get able to step back and get a release off.
- Have you been the smallest player on the court before this season?
GARY TRENT JR: No, not really. Not at 6'5", 6'6", but it is what it is.
- How much do you feel like the length that some of those lineups have been able to throw at Philadelphia has sort of disrupted things?
GARY TRENT JR: You could say it's done a lot. Putting length out there, everybody being able to fight. It helps with the rebounding, it helps with the defense. It could be a nice [INAUDIBLE] it's been working for us so far. So continue to stay with it. Continue to compete. Next man up, everybody be ready.
- Has it helped-- I mean, this isn't like [INAUDIBLE] guys are growing up in the playoffs for the first time. You've been doing it all season, have had experience playing without Fred up there. Do you feel like that experience of the season-- given these lineups, have helped sort of prepare you for them?
GARY TRENT JR: For sure. Everything we've done this whole season from preseason to now is to prepare us for the postseason. So whether it's learning defensive scheme, learning our plays, learning each other's tendencies, each other's games, everything is for this moment right here.
- [INAUDIBLE] of energy until tomorrow night. Can you guys feed off that or is it the time of year where-- can that help?
GARY TRENT JR: For sure. Energy means everything. Obviously, we out there, we playing, we could feel it. We hear the loud cheers. Obviously on the road, we could hear their boos, we could hear their fans. So you know, you'd be lying if you say, you can't hear it, or they're not there. But it's a great thing. It makes the game fun, makes the game great.
- Gary, do you remember the time when you looked at Scottie and stopped seeing a rookie, have you reached that point [INAUDIBLE]?
GARY TRENT JR: He's shown flashes of that really all year. He hasn't looked like a rookie at all. He's been poised, the way he'd been carrying himself on the floor, the way he's been playing. That's why-- obviously, he was Rookie of the Year this year. He's having an exceptional season. You know he will continue to up the ante and continue to keep pushing and continue to be great continue to grow.
- Gary, [INAUDIBLE] was saying that over here, growth and development is a [INAUDIBLE] process. And Fred was saying you can clearly see how they take it in stages. What have you observed in your time here that stands out to you?
GARY TRENT JR: The thing I noticed the most here is probably-- no matter who it is, it's always focused on winning. It's always talked about winning. It's always talked about putting in work. No matter what it is, no matter what they're talking about. Whether it's Masai, whether it's Bobby, whether it's the coaching staff, you know it's always the recipe to win. That's the main thing they talk about, the main goal. No matter how we do it, no matter how we got to do it, continue to work.
- Do you find that when they're having conversations with you about how you can get better, like it's always presented in a way that hey, this works for you and for the team.
GARY TRENT JR: You could say that. Obviously, everybody has different conversations and different things that they need to work on. But for sure, any time they-- again-- say something to you, it's always in a positive manner, an uplifting manner, a motivational manner to continue to keep you going.
- Gary, when you're going in to a game like this-- game 6, and game 7, do you kind of-- you've had games this year where you've just gone off and then in fact you've done it-- some games like that together. Do you kind of look at it that this as an opportunity? You never know when those games is going to show up, but in your mind, do you feel like you have one in you?
GARY TRENT JR: Most definitely. Any time I go on the floor I feel like I can make something happen at any given time. But again, you take it possession by possession, minute by minute, the outcome is going to be whatever the outcome is going to be. But if you go out there leave it 110% effort, leave it all on the line, go hard, play for the next man, you should have no regrets.