Quotable: Pacers and Raptors after Game 7

Frank Vogel addresses the media after Game 6.

Frank Vogel addresses the media after Game 6.

In a Game 7 that was decided in the final 10 seconds, the Toronto Raptors held for the win, 89-84, over the Pacers Sunday evening at the Air Canada Centre. Paul George scored 26 points and had 12 rebounds but it was the Raptors, who finished with five guys in double figures, winning to advance to second round against the Miami Heat.

At the Buzzer: R1 G7 — Raptors 89, Pacers 84

Pacers season ends in Toronto, Paul George says ‘I learned what I was made of

This is what was said afterwards:

Pacers coach Frank Vogel:

Opening Statement…

I want to start by congratulating the Raptors, Coach Casey and their whole organization for a great series, and a good victory for their franchise. Coach Casey is a helluva coach. I know he hears a lot of criticism from time to time because they haven’t advanced but matching wits with him game to game, seeing the adjustments he makes and what he has created here is really remarkable. It’s remarkable. The way they play, the way they share the basketball and work to defend, I’m very, very impressed and I’m happy for him, for his success and congrats to the Raptors for their success.

Did Paul George run out of gas in the fourth quarter?

That’s always the concern. In Game 7 you have to play, he knew that. He went out there and competed. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys and how far we’ve come this year. We remade our franchise this year, completely recreated an identity, worked through several shifts this season and played our best basketball down the stretch when it mattered, played a great series and hung in there and fought to the end.

How did the team come together down the stretch?

I think we kept pushing buttons; we recreated our identity and just played the guys that are playing well for us. Solomon Hill became a big factor for us. Myles Turner emerged. Myles Turner showed what he’s made of by having a great series in his first go around in the NBA playoffs, he just had a great series. He didn’t shoot the ball well tonight but he played well, had dominant defensive stretches and learned to read and trust the pass. There’s a lot of reasons to be excited and hopeful about our future because of that kid. We made a lot of off season moves coming into this year. We knew it was going to be a little bit of an adjustment period, we worked through that and played well down the stretch.

On not being able to sustain your offense for 48 minutes…

Credit their defense. They played really well, they played so hard and they are so well prepared. It’s not going to be easy when you’re competing on the road. We had a couple of turnovers late that were problematic but I thought our guys tried to run, tried to make the extra pass, tried to play the right way and put ourselves in a position with the ball down three in a Game Seven on the road. You don’t win Game 7 on the road and we were in a position to do that tonight. I’m very proud of our guys.

On what adjustments you have to make to take the pressure off Paul George…

First of all, when you talk about Paul George, Paul George broke his leg in half two years ago. This is a remarkable triumph and a remarkable return, to get back on the court this season and to play the way he did in the playoffs was just remarkable. In terms of taking pressure off him, we have a complete team and our guys played well and he played well. We have to continue to grow, continue to build.

On the last possession down three…

He (Paul George) got a great catch on the wing, attacked the basket, drew two to the ball, made the right pass. We weren’t able to complete it.

Paul George:

On the season…

Heck of a run. If they would’ve told me I would have a chance to lead my team first year back from injury, give us a chance to advance to the second round, bring that back to Indiana after missing it last season, and then have to go against five different defenders and have to figure out how to score and make plays, as well as guard. If you would’ve told me that I would have to go through all of that this and be healthy, I probably would’ve laughed. It’s been a long journey. I’m very proud of this team, I’m very proud of my guys. It’s been a good season for us.

On if it was a successful season…

At the end of the day, we had a good year. We had a good run. It’s our first year together. We had a rookie in our lineup who’s going to get better, who’s going to learn, who’s going to figure things out, and is going to come back a totally different player. And we took a two-seed, people forget this is a two-seed, a 55-plus win team, and we took them to Game 7.

I think one thing we can take away from this is the reason why you play in the regular season. To earn that right to be a number two seed and earn that home-court advantage.

On the offensive foul called on him against DeMar DeRozan in the fourth quarter…

I feel like there was a couple calls they (officials) blew tonight, to be honest. I thought the Ian (Mahinmi) foul was a blatant foul. And I wasn’t sure that I offensive fouled DeMar on that play. Again, that’s why it’s tough playing a Game 7 on the road. I’ve been in this situation a couple times now where games have been kind of lopsided and the home-court team is given the advantage.

On if he ran out of gas late in the game…

Yeah, I ran out of gas a little bit. Not going to try to sit here and be Superman. I definitely was winded late in the game, but it wasn’t to the extent of me losing focus or not being able to make enough plays for my team.

On if he was surprised to stay healthy all season and how well he played in the postseason…

I play this game the only way I know how to play — play hard and leave everything on the floor. The last thing I want to say is I didn’t give it enough. I played with nothing but heart. Fortunately, it wasn’t enough in this series, but it’s a lot to take away from it. It was the first year as being the prime leader and I can only build off that.

On being the guy in the playoffs and if he learned anything about himself along the way…

I’m very, very pleased. Very pleased. I was ready for this moment. I was ready to step up. I was ready to do whatever it took to win. To give us the best chance, I knew I was going to have to be at my best. There’s still a lot to take away from it.

I think one thing I can really take away is the game just really slowed down and I had a better understanding of my game and how I can attack different defenders and how I can free myself, regardless of how they were going to guard me. I learned a lot. I learned what I was made of.

On what the Pacers need for next season…

Not sure. Again, it’s all about how determined and how focused Myles (Turner) is to get better. He’s got to add some strength. I think one of the best things about playing the Raptors is game after game, going against two physical big men and him learning how to play physical and knowing the expectation for a big man. But, I don’t know. Hopefully myself, Monta (Ellis) can do a great job in recruiting some free agents, maybe George (Hill) as well in getting a big name here to help us out.

Monta Ellis:

On the last few minutes…

They played a great game and got a lead. It’s hard trying to fight back against a team like that. We were doing it but came up short. It was a great game. 

One of the keys for your team throughout the series was points off of turnovers and it wasn’t there tonight…

We made them miss a lot of shots and they got a lot of offensive rebounds. They were just quicker to the ball. We didn’t put in enough for the whole game to come out with this win. Take our hats off to them, they came and did what they had to do to get a win.

Should you have ramped up the offensive intensity earlier in the third quarter?

We should have but they were moving the ball around getting open shots. They were knocking them down and that is something they haven’t been doing the whole series and today the ball fell for them.

Solomon Hill:

Is there one point in the series that you look back on, where we could have pulled this off?

Yeah my shot in the corner. If I could have got that off a little bit faster, I think we had the momentum going to overtime and who knows we put ourselves in the position to go back to Indiana for game 6 and have a chance to close it out.

Down 16 in the fourth quarter, what did you do to get back in the game?

Desperation, we were desperate, you have to leave it all out there on the court. We knew we just had to run. No more play calling, no more wasting time. As soon as Paul (George) got the rebound we were looking to go. They want to play a small style of basketball we will get some mismatches and we have to attack them. That same mentality is the one that they had when they made their run and beat us. We kind of just flipped the switch but couldn’t finish it the way they did.

George Hill:

You see a team build a big lead and you know how much energy it takes to rally your club…

It sucks, you have to tip your hat to the Raptors, they did a great job taking care of their home court. We did all we could to start scratching back and make it a ball game. I am proud of this team.

How confident were you the team could get over the hump in the last two minutes?

We were confident. I felt like we played well all series besides a couple of games. Giving one up in Game 5 really hurt us. The fight and effort the guys showed in the fourth quarter being down 16 points to make it a one possession game and gave ourselves a chance to win, it just shows the heart we have in the locker room.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey:

Thoughts on the fourth quarter…

We stunk it up in the fourth quarter. I don’t know if we ran out of gas. The guys were so jacked up emotionally to start the game, going through the game I thought we ran out of gas. That is why I was trying to give Kyle (Lowry) a little bit more time going into the fourth quarter. Leaving DC (DeMarre Carroll), leaving DeMar (DeRozan) I thought we took some tired shots, made some tired plays down the stretch. But again, they were so jacked up and they wanted it so bad I thought they were just exhausted emotionally, physically. It wasn’t pretty, believe me, but our defence carried us down the stretch. The number one thing, I said this before the series started and before the game started was taking care of the ball. We only had eight turnovers, we won that battle, and they had 13. If you look at every game except for one I think it was tied, but every team that didn’t turn the ball over won the game and that was the difference tonight.

On Paul George…

I’ll tell you what, I remember trying to prepare for a young Kobe Byrant and this young man reminds me of trying to prepare for Kobe Bryant back in the Laker days. I was back in Seattle. Even that last shot (tonight), I thought that it was going in. He was always open. We had to tag team him with Norman (Powell) and also with DC. (DeMarre Carroll) in those situations. I think he’s back. I’m happy for him. Now that we’re finished with him, I’m happy for him because he’s a super young man. He represents everything basketball should be about, and he’s back to his All-Pro All-Star form.

On the play of Norman Powell…

He made some big shots in his first rotation when he was in there. I thought he did an excellent job. I thought we needed another ball handler, a bigger body with DC (DeMarre Carroll) on Paul George down the stretch, but that young man is earning his keep right now and is doing a heck of a job. 

Do you feel like you have a rivalry you’ve built with Indiana?

I will say this, they are a tough team. That young man Myles Turner is going to be a player and I want to congratulate them because Frank (Vogel) did a heck of a job. They made adjustments, we made adjustments, that team right there is a big time team. Paul George is back. After his injury, that young man has come back and really made amends with his conditioning, his body, and he played like the All-Star that he is right now.

DeMar DeRozan:

Do you feel a sense of relief?

We got the monkey off our back more than anything, from the past couple years. It feels good to get that off.

On the team tonight…

We were just going to leave it all out there, whatever we had from the beginning to the end. That’s how all the guys played tonight.

What was the feeling like the second you walked off the floor?

It was great. A lot of people don’t get the opportunity to play in a Game 7 when everything is on the line, and with all the things that this guy (Kyle) and this team has been through, it’s tough to get that moment duplicated and you just want to live every single moment of it.

DeMarre Carroll:

How big a win is this game seven?

Words cannot explain how big this was. It’s big on so many levels from a franchise standpoint, for guys in the locker room and even myself. A month ago I didn’t even think I’d be playing in the playoffs. It’s been a whirlwind but it’s been a blessing.

Thoughts on key contributions from everybody…

That’s what the ultimate team is about. Me and Cory (Joseph) come from a traditional team where everybody was depended on and I felt like this series showed that everybody in this locker room was depended on. That’s what we had to do. We had to come out as a team. DeMar DeRozan wasn’t going to beat this team alone and Kyle Lowry wasn’t going to beat this team alone. It had to be a group effort.

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