There is no panic about Game Two in the Raptors locker room and there shouldn’t be. This isn’t last year’s offensive-minded squad or the inexperienced group from two years ago. This is a team of players who have been here before with the addition of veterans that have overcome adversity in the playoffs.
President and general manager Masai Ujiri targeted Cory Joseph and DeMarre Carroll for their playoff experience as much as their obvious skills. Players that have been there and done that can bring a sense of calm to other players that have yet to taste success.
“Last year against Washington we were down a game and we got that second game and then we went to Washington and won on their home court,” Carroll told Pro Bball Report prior to Game Two. “It’s easy, it’s easy to do. Just we got to have the right mentality and you can’t take one game for granted.”
DeMarre Carroll interview:
“We don’t feel no pressure. I don’t think anybody feels pressure. Yesterday in practice was very relaxed. Guys were laughing. Nobody was down. We knew we played a bad game. We knew we beat ourselves. Thing is for tonight is just for us to go out there and play our game and continue to keep doing what we’ve been doing all season. If we do that, we’ll take care of home court and not home court.”
Carroll believes the better team can win anywhere they play and he’s ready to be a difference-maker.
“I’m great,” Carroll said. “I am going to push myself until I can’t push myself no more. Biggest thing for me is just to play as hard as I can. Don’t leave nothing back.”
Head coach Dwane Casey has made one change to his starting line-up for Game Two and that’s to start the veteran Carroll in place of the rookie Norman Powell. This was always Carroll’s spot in the rotation just as soon as he was ready to step up and take it and the Raptors new Junk-Yard-Dog is chomping at the leash to be turned loose.