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Fresh off being named the NBA’s ROTY, Scottie Barnes discussed what it means to hear the news from Vince Carter, the Raptors’ stingy defense, how Toronto executed its game plan versus Philly, how he tries to be a leader, the team’s confidence level as they try to erase a 3-0 deficit, and the Raptors’ family-like dressing room atmosphere. Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.
SCOTTIE BARNES: I just can't wait to get the news, really. They take forever to announce the awards, and I'm just waiting for it to come back.
- Scottie, you were pretty open all year about that being a goal for you, to win Rookie of the Year. Was it almost surreal in that moment, especially coming from Vince Carter?
SCOTTIE BARNES: For sure. In practice, I was wondering, is he talking-- about to talk to us about? Nah. He was just going on. And I was starting to realize-- but of course it was a goal of mine all year to try to win it. But I didn't really try to overthink it or try to do so much. I just did my role, do what I had to do, and when it helps with it as well.
- Cool to see how happy your teammates and coaches were for you, as well, in that moment?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Yeah. We got a family here. We're all together. We all really support each other.
- How did it feel to have the crowd chanting your name in that pre-game ceremony as they watched the video of you learning that you were Rookie of the Year?
SCOTTIE BARNES: That was amazing. They're family as well. They're cheering me on, supporting me throughout the whole year. Can't do without them. It was a real family.
- Scottie, what were you hoping to bring to the floor today when you played, and how did you think you did?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I really just try to bring that defensive effort, step on the floor, trying to get us into different things. Really just try to keep us going, bring energy. I try and do those little things, really, on the floor. So just having that presence, trying to be a leader out there on the floor. That's really all I was trying to do. And not really trying to do so much, just bring that presence.
- Did you just feel a little bit limited by your ankle? It feels like you were driving late [INAUDIBLE] like that, and being a little bit careful?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Not really. I was just really doing me, doing what I can out there on the floor. Really just trying to [INAUDIBLE].
- How scary was that moment, when you stepped on Reed's foot there?
SCOTTIE BARNES: It wasn't really scary at all. I knew it was going to be a little stinger. I knew after some time when it was going to be fine, so I wasn't really worried by anything.
- Scottie, did you feel that, as the game went on tonight, you guys wore them down a little defensively and made them a little uncomfortable?
SCOTTIE BARNES: We just kept sticking to the game plan. We had a great game plan. What we just done, we just kept doing over and over again, and it just worked out so good tonight.
- Nick talks about how it can break a team's spirit if you keep up this defensive energy. But the style that you guys played, did you feel like you guys kind of maybe made them a little bit-- maybe broke their spirit a little bit?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Well, we was just, doing what we was doing. Try to make them change up some things, change their looks, not let people get easy looks. Defending at the rim. We just did what we needed to do.
- In defending like that as the series goes on, do you think you have a chance to really come back here?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Yeah, for sure. For sure.
- What have these last couple of games been like for you, not being able to be up there? And how much were you itching to get back tonight?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Of course I love being out there on the floor each and every night. I love playing basketball. That's what I love to do. It was just-- me, I just try to stay in positive spirits, be happy. Not really just let it take me down. But really just come ready to get back on the floor and be playing with those guys, bring the energy and having fun out there on the floor.
- You always been a quick healer?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Usually I am. I am, I am.
- OK, we're going to do one question online.
- Hey, Scottie. First of all, congratulations about your achievement as a Rookie of the Year. For you hearing Vince Carter said to you that you are up next, what does it mean for you about your presence here in Toronto? What does it mean for you?
SCOTTIE BARNES: Can you say that again?
- Yeah. For you, Vince Carter said to you in his message that you are up next as a Rookie of the Year, the third player of the Raptors as a Rookie of the Year. What does it mean? What does it-- what kind of reward, overall, was about your season as a Raptor?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I felt like it was-- I did a lot of things I needed to do. Set the tone on both ends. Be aggressive, be physical. Really show what I can do out there on the defensive end, guarding multiple positions, one through five. And just having that presence, it just really-- I feel like that really just helped me out throughout the year. And for him just saying that, I know what I can do out there on the floor, and it's just good for him to see those things in me.
- And also for you as a leader, how big motivation for you to be a better leader of this team for the next years, is that reward?
SCOTTIE BARNES: I don't know, I felt like I was born a leader. I was always-- I always set up to lead. I have a voice out there on the floor. I try to make my presence known when I step on the floor every single night. So I feel like it wouldn't be that hard for me to just be a leader.
- Thank you very much.
- Thank you very much, everybody.
- Thank you, Scottie.