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Toronto Raptors guard Malachi Flynn discusses what is different about playoff basketball, advice he's received from Raptors vets and the challenges of guarding James Harden and Tyrese Maxey.
- What have you learned in the minutes you are playing in the playoffs that is different from what you're used to? And then what do you see your development in play?
MALACHI FLYNN: Yeah, just a lot more intense. Every possession matters. Everybody's locked in to the game plan. You don't really get nothing easy. So I think that's the biggest difference.
- When you were guarding Harden in a couple of switches the other night, you did a very good job getting and staying in front of him. What unique problems does he present as an attacking guard?
MALACHI FLYNN: He can pass it. He could shoot it, and go to the hole, so I mean, if he can kind of do pretty much everything offensively, so you're just trying to limit his touches, stay in front of him, and do the best you can.
- You can be softly spoken.
MALACHI FLYNN: I'll scoot up.
- Malachi, when you're on the other side of the ball, when you're trying to generate some offense, what are some of the challenges against Philly attacking in a little bit because they've got some weak sides to their game, so what makes it a little more difficult from a point guard point of view to create some good possessions?
MALACHI FLYNN: Like you said, they've just got a lot of size. They've been packing the paint against us and just kind of playing really good team defense. So for us, just trying to move the ball and get good looks the best we can.
- I mean, is there are opportunities to get to the rim, do you find? Or there's just more like you're just going to kind of mash it through?
MALACHI FLYNN: I think both. I think we're kind of gnashing through, though, and just trying to get the offense set up. I think that's kind of my main thing out there right now, just trying to get it set up. And then if something comes to me, be ready to capitalize.
- When you know you're going to have, in your minutes, you're going to have a large part, a starting part, and like days like this, or even days like yesterday, are you watching extra video on him, specifically, or is it more within the whole team concept?
MALACHI FLYNN: I mean, I've watched him a lot just in general. I always watch basketball and he's been in the playoffs pretty much every year. So there's not too much more I could watch and pick up on him, to be honest. So it's just kind of watching all the team film and just knowing everybody else.
- Malachi, what has Fred been like as a leader in this series just in terms of helping the younger guys get prepared and manage the ups and downs of the playoffs?
MALACHI FLYNN: He's been great, just kind of telling us what to expect. I mean him, Pascal, Thad, those guys have had a lot of playoff experience so they're kind of the main ones talking, and just sticking with us throughout the whole game, and just kind of telling us what to expect.
- Obviously, Fred has that role, that leadership role throughout the course of the season. Has he been any different? Has it felt any different, just in terms of his message over the last week or so?
MALACHI FLYNN: I think he's just been more locked in. Sometimes, he's just kind of locked in and you feed off of that itself. He doesn't have to say too much all the time. You just kind of see what he's doing. He's locked in, playing hard, and it just kind of brings everybody else up too.
- Malachi, what are the main things you kind of focus on when you're defending a guy like Harden versus someone like Maxi?
MALACHI FLYNN: Harden, just kind of stay in front of him, just because he can pass so well, too. You don't want to give him an angle, and then if he gets by you he's just helping everybody else out. And somebody like Maxi, just super fast. You just, I mean, kind of the same thing. Just stay in front of him. Don't show him too many angles. Once they get an angle, it's kind of hard to cut him off.