'We love O.G.': Scottie Barnes after win vs. Pelicans

Raptors forward Scottie Barnes discusses the presence of Jakob Poeltl on both ends and the returns of Gary Trent Jr. and O.G. Also, why he finds it easier to get assists in the NBA.

Video Transcript

- Scottie, what impact is it to have Jakob down the stretch start getting those offensive rebounds when some of the shots weren't falling and really kind of seemed to keep the Pelicans at bay, sort of?

SCOTTIE BARNES: That was really big for us tonight, for sure, just being able to have that presence down there, getting those offensive rebounds, putting it back up. He just shows it on both ends, with his rim protection. And then on the other end, being that big presence in the paint. When we're missing, being able to get those rebounds put in, late in the game, that was big for us.

- Couple-- I mean, you were playing point a lot tonight, there's a couple of plays where they attacked the ball-- you with the ball, and you could just kind of outlet to him in the middle of the floor--


- You could just kind of get it to Jakob in the middle of the floor and just sort of calm things down a little bit. That's got to help too.

SCOTTIE BARNES: Yeah, he's a smart player. I trust him when he's out there on the floor to where I could just throw it to him, if he deep [? steals ?] to be able to put it up or even if he gets the elbow catch or even at the top of the key. Be able to go right into the next action. He's a smart basketball player. So that's why we can just trust him in those positions to be able to play make from the top or the elbow or wherever he is on the floor.

- Scottie, you won 5 of 6, heading into the All-Star break. How important was it to continue that momentum when you returned?

SCOTTIE BARNES: We need these wins in order to try to make this deep playoff push. So every game is very important to us. So we just got to keep trying to win and play hard every time we step on the floor.

- Over the last two months, you've always had lots of assists at the NBA level, but your assist to turnover ratio has been like 3 to 1, which is really, really great. You came into the league as a really great playmaker. But what have you learned in your year and a half about playmaking against NBA-level defenders and creating for NBA-level teammates.

SCOTTIE BARNES: I think, in the NBA, it's easier to get assists, to be honest. College, if they take like a dribble or two, you don't really get an assist in college. And then people at this level, they may make tough shots, contested shots. So I feel like it's easier to be able to get assists in the NBA. Being able to attack, so much space on the floor, if someone helps, you can just make easy kick out reads.

Or if someone helps, like, the big man helps, it's easy to give it to a role. Or like I used to do a get that type of key and dribble handoff offs had a really good screen. Gary come off and he shoots that [? middie. ?] That's an easy assist. So I would say it's easier.

- And then, as far as being able to limit the turnovers to such a degree over the past couple months?

SCOTTIE BARNES: I don't think I really try to force anything. I'm just trying to make the right basketball play. So it works out.

- Scottie, maybe a month ago, Nick talked about sometimes with the team, when you guys are struggling with a lack of effort, a lack of professionalism at times. Do you think those things have improved over the last month or so, as you guys are really playing better? And if so, why?

SCOTTIE BARNES: For sure. I felt-- we all felt like wasn't really stepping up to our standards of really trying to guard the ball, defending the ball like we did last year. And we went over that. And we all had a meeting that we just really want to just get back to it.

So we started playing harder, guarding the ball better, closing out to shooters, not allowing them to get so many easy looks. So I feel like we just came together and picked up our slack.

- You guys have also been practicing a ton over the last month and just kind of really focusing on the work, that's been the message. Has that helped you, personally, those extra practices and that extra film sessions and all that stuff, because you're also kind of playing the best basketball right now? So do you think those things are correlated at all?

SCOTTIE BARNES: It helps, for sure, watching extra film, having that attention to detail in practice. But I feel like that's one thing that we all just try to stay in the gym, keep trying to get extra work. And no matter if it's within practice and in our times, we just still always try to get extra work in.

- Nick talked yesterday about getting you more catch and shoot 3-point opportunities. When the ball swung to you, I mean, you catch me on the perimeter, what are you thinking about, either taking that shot or to drive and make the next pass? What are you thinking about when you catch the ball?

SCOTTIE BARNES: Just depends on how I feel, really. If I want to shoot it, I'll shoot it. If I want to drive it, I'll drive it. Just depends on, really, how I feel. If I really want to take the shot or if I don't. It just depends on how I feel.

- Is that in terms of, like, being in a rhythm from previous possessions, or what do you mean by that?

SCOTTIE BARNES: Just depends on if I want to take the 3. Time, score of the game, momentum, if I'm open, I really need to shoot and my teammates keep encouraging me to shoot, I'll shoot it. But sometimes, I just want to get to the rim and be able to attack. If I see a wide open lane and be able to attack, I want to catch it and go and try to make a play from there.

- Scottie, Jakob is such a willing passer. How have you noticed him impact the team's off-ball movement, when he catches it in the middle?

SCOTTIE BARNES: Like I said, he's a smart player. He knows how to make the right play and make the right decisions. He sets amazing screens. So I throw on the floor and no matter where it's out on the floor, he's going to try to get that defender off of you.

Like I said, he's just a smart player. And you can play through him at anywhere, at the top of the key, the elbow, or the block. He just willing to make the right plays.

- What did you make of Chris Boucher's sequence, when you had that dunk and then the block?

SCOTTIE BARNES: Chris Boucher-- he-- that was crazy. He almost took off from the free throw line. He always gives it a hard effort on defensive end, rebounding, trying to get block shots. He always comes up big in those categories for us.

- How was it having the OG and Gary back in the lineup?

SCOTTIE BARNES: It's amazing having OG's defensive presence. He's still trying to-- I feel like he's still getting back in his rhythms. So of course he's going to have some fatigue, haven't played in a while. But I'm sure he'll get it back soon. But he still just helps us so much out there on offense and on the defensive end.

So we love OG. His presence is undeniable on the floor. And Gary, he's a tough shot maker. Made that big shot down the stretch. We need him, for sure.

He brings that intensity on defense, trying to ball pressure. And then our offensive end, we see what he does.

- Any thoughts on the atmosphere for Peruvian heritage night?


- Any thoughts on the atmosphere tonight for Peruvian Heritage Night?

SCOTTIE BARNES: Yeah, I messed with [INAUDIBLE]. Get a little bubble in before the game. Felt good. It was-- I like hearing that. It's a good atmosphere.

- Thank you.