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Speaking to the media after Toronto’s season-saving win versus the Sixers, Gary Trent Jr. couldn’t hide his excitement over Scottie Barnes being named NBA Rookie Of The Year. GTJ also discussed how much Barnes impacts the team overall, winning without Fred VanVleet, and how the Raptors defended differently in Game 4. Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.
- What does it say about your team, the fact that you guys can come through all this adversity all year, and today, again, spread out and try and scrap and count points. What's it say about the character you've got?
- That no matter what, we're going to continue to fight. We're going to go out there, play hard. Leave it on a line. And whatever the outcome is, the outcome gon' be.
- We saw Pascal far more aggressive today than maybe he was in game 3. You know what I'm saying? Do you feel that on the court? Or what do you think of his game tonight?
- He was exceptional. You know, it's Pascal Siakam. He's been doing this all year.
He's always done this. He always does this. So you know, so just another performance by Siakam
- What was practice the other day like, when-- or when Scottie won Rookie of the Year? It seemed like you guys were pretty excited for him. What was that moment like?
- Most definitely. It was an amazing moment. You know, that's an amazing accomplishment, you know, for anybody to get, as a rookie. He came in. He sure improved. He put in the work.
You know, he can continue to get better and continue to grow. But you know, it was a great moment. We was all happy.
You know, he'd been chipping at it. And you know, and the talks about it all year. So you know, for it to finally pay off and finally, you know, actually get the award, you know, it's I'm happy for him. I'm ecstatic for him. And it's a great thing.
- And what kind of moves did you think he provided on the floor? And didn't like you had to balance, normally it's not for a good reason. But did he kind of help your offense and help your defense in a particular way?
- He helps us in every way you can think of. Offensively, our locker room. Screaming, you know, to everybody, "Let's go," his energy.
You know, so whether he's playing, whether he's not playing. You can feel him. You know he's there. And you know, obviously he helped us a lot, being part of our team.
- Yeah, offensively, you didn't look for too many of his old shots. But you did move the ball pretty well. And did things flow a little better with him up there?
- For sure. You know, he come out there. He tries to look for guys. You know, he's trying to pass it. He's trying to defend.
He's playing hard. He's energy. You know? That can't do nothing but help any team. So.
- Gary, what was going through your head when you see Fred walk off there, in the 2nd quarter?
- Just really continue playing. And I didn't really see him leave until after I seen him gone. I'm like, where'd he go?
You know, didn't know if he was going to return. Didn't know he was going to get checked out. Didn't know the circumstances.
But you know, anybody goes out, you're not going to see the play. Next man up, so either hard, you know, help your teammates out.
- How much better are you feeling, Gary? Does it feel more like you're back to your self?
- 100%. Man, it's wish I felt like this the first two games. You know, how my body's feeling, you know, I'm good. I'm strong. I'll just continue to take it game by game and chip away, you know?
- You talk about losing like, 8 pounds or something, through that. How'd you get it all back so quick?
- Water weight, food. Hydration. You know. I'm usually around like, 210 to 208. I was down to like, 198, 197. So I cracked back 200. So we're good.
- Knowing Scottie is like, so about winning and making his teammates better or anything, but as the season went on, did you get that sense that winning in [INAUDIBLE], meant something to him?
- Well, I'm sure that'd mean anything to anybody. You know and obviously, there's not a lot of people that's even put their self in that position to be in that conversation, or to even have that opportunity. So if you got the opportunity, go for it.
You know, obviously he was going out there. He was playing hard. You know, I wouldn't really say he was itching or trying to get Rookie of the Year. It just came with his natural flow and his natural play of game. And you know, it fell into his hands.
- Defensively, did you guys-- do you feel like you guys kind of wore them down? As that game went on, made them a little uncomfortable?
- You could say that. You know, we try to obviously do that in every game. But obviously it worked tonight in our favor. You just, so continue to watch the film. Show what helped us, see what helped us, and continue to try to do that.
- Was this the first time in the series that you felt like maybe they weren't getting to the same spots and having the same level of comfort that they're used to?
- You could kinda that, yeah. You know, whether it was the same shots, whether it was the same defensive schemes we had, we're going out there. And we're playing hard, you know? So about it.
- We have a question for you online. Go ahead, Louis.
- Hey, Gary. You mentioned how great Pascal was. A lot of stars kind of rest of the defensive end. And it seemed like he was actually using even more energy on that side. How much does his ability to cover space on defense make up his greatness?
- Louis, you're going to have to give us that again, maybe in a shorter form. Couldn't quite hear it.
- It was choppy, I couldn't hear it.
- Yeah, sorry. In the arena. How much is Pascal's ability to cover space on defense part of what makes up how great he is?
- It's been great. You know, he's doing a lot for us on the offensive end. He's doing a lot for us on the defensive end.
You know, he's out there. Everybody's going out there to play hard. Everybody's going out there to make a play.
And everybody's trying to go out there and win. So everything you see from him tonight, whether it was an offensive end or a defensive end, just really, really him giving it all and trying to get the W.
- Thanks very much, Gary.
- Appreciate it.
- Thanks, Gary.