Fred VanVleet battled foul trouble all night in Game 1 of the Raptors’ first-round series with the 76ers and shared his thoughts about some of the calls that went against him. The point guard also discussed how Toronto can respond in the next game, and what conclusions to draw from Game 1, if any.
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- Like, that's super tough. I think it was less than minute in it. I believe it was 15 seconds. Do you, because you're such a competitor, do you have to mentally kind of shift into a different space or do you just kind of say, I just gotta play the game?
FRED VANVLEET: I try. I try. You know, it's tough. You don't wanna lose too much aggressiveness. I think that was probably the toughest part is, we were already on our heels a little bit, our defense was a step slow. So just trying to set the tone and not carry a lot of weight for this team in a lot of different areas.
And one of those is being locked in on defensive ends, so just trying to make plays. I got caught up in there. A couple of them I wouldn't argue, a couple of them, you know, we'll move on. This game's over and there's nothing we can do about it now. But definitely, it's hard to play that way.
- In your experience, what's the biggest-- or the biggest key to the response, with just the day here, to kind of get back on track?
FRED VANVLEET: Oh, I mean, you've gotta trust the film, you know. Stay-- everybody stay emotionally locked in, stay levelheaded. Don't get too carried away there's no drastic assumptions or, you know, conclusions we need to come to. Go watch the film, see where we-- we're bad.
And we were bad in a lot of areas, defensively. And see where we can be better, see what adjustments we can make. And then you go out there with the same intensity and energy and effort, if not more, for game two.
- I don't want to get you in any trouble, but is it tough to find that balance in terms of the physicality? You know you guys need to be visible, especially with this team, but you also know that-- you don't want these guys to live on more.
FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, well, there's-- there's different ways to do that, right? I mean, I think I've been a pretty good defender in this league for a few years now. So I feel like, you know, I know how to defend without fouling. I'm not gonna sit up here and say that I didn't foul anybody tonight, that would not be true.
But at the end of the day, I think it's a tight-- tight line, fine line you gotta try to walk to be aggressive and-- and, you know, make plays on the ball. But also, you know, adjust to the way the whistle's blowing. So they were-- they were really locked in and-- and these were our vision tonight to make some of those calls.
And you gotta live with it, so-- Got my best defensive performance. I'm not happy about it, but again, there's a lot of basketball left to play and I'll let you guys talk about the officiating a little bit more. I don't know if the fines are the same on the other side of the table. So you guys had fun.
I got to get some different angles, I watched them from the game angle after the game. So I'm not-- I'm not too upset about it. I feel like, you know, I was right.
- Did it feel like you guys lost yourselves a little bit, especially in that first half? They didn't commit any turnovers, they won the rebounding battle. For those things that they sort of-- any concerted effort to take away from you or-- or--
FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, I mean, I wouldn't say we lost ourselves, I think we just weren't ourselves in a lot of areas, you know what I'm saying? Whether that's just being disruptive. Again, I think a lot of what we do is predicated on our aggressiveness and our length and making, you know, players on the ball, causing turnovers, blocking shots.
And I think, whether that was jitters from some of the newer guys or the whistle or whatever the case may be, we're just a little slow, a little behind. They were more physical, they won the physicality battle. And you could argue about officiating all day, but there's still ways to be physical without fouling. They won that battle tonight.
- What are guys gonna happen to do to-- going forward to kind of beat Maxey's speed.
FRED VANVLEET: Just guard him little bit better. I-- I think he found cracks in the defense and kind of our game plan. Obviously, we loaded up the turnover to Will and loaded up a turn on James, and he was able to find success in the-- in the cracks in the creases. Just gotta guard him better, give him a little bit more attention.
He's a heck of a player. He had an amazing, almost standard perfect game tonight, so give him credit. Obviously, we're showing him a lot more attention going forward, but, you know, it's one game.
- Obviously, you have to hope that Scotty is-- is OK and that it's better than it looked. But how tough was it to see him go down like that?
FRED VANVLEET: Oh, it's just tough, man. Kid's playing his heart out. He actually was playing really well. You know, he was keeping it steady there for a while with his playmaking. They're gonna try to take me away and load up on Pascal and Scotty was the third guy there for a long time.
So you just-- you feel for him. And it's his first playoff experience, he's playing well, he goes down with an injury. That's the part of the game that, you know, sucks. So we'll see what-- what, you know, the-- the images say and what the doctors say and get him some rest and try to get him back out there.
- Yes, Nick was saying how [INAUDIBLE] basically cut [INAUDIBLE] of them out there rather than throw. Now all over you guys--
FRED VANVLEET: Yeah.
- Did you-- did it feel that way? Like, was it just them not playing [INAUDIBLE] or--
FRED VANVLEET: I mean, you know, Mike, it's a-- it's-- it's both, right? You know, I think that's a-- that's a great way to look at it. I mean, when you look at 51% from the field, 16 for 32. We had 10 offensive rebounds.
They only missed five free throws, they had three turnovers in the game. Three. I mean, I don't know if it gets much better than that. So we certainly helped them a lot in those areas. But they played-- they played a heck of a game, so give them credit. We'll lace them up on Monday and give it another shot.
- OK, let's go online questions. Josh, anybody there?
- Yep, Michael [? Branch. ?] Go ahead, Mike.
- Hey-- hey Fred. What did you think of the way, you know, Embiid really came out and physically wanted to impose himself on the offensive glass. He put a couple of guys on the floor. How-- what is it like dealing with that, when he's in that kind of mood, and how do you kind of respond? How do you kind of let them know that, you know, he's not gonna have his way like that?
FRED VANVLEET: Yeah, I think you just gotta set more bodies. We gotta be more physical. We didn't-- we didn't really answer the call there in the paint, you know, like we normally do. He-- he had his way a little bit there, but I thought we guarded him pretty well. You know, we got the ball out of his hands.
We're able to disrupt them a little bit, change his rhythm. And the other guys, you know, really played well. The other-- everybody, pretty much who stepped in, shot, you know, 50% or better, other than Danny. So I think the other guys, really, made plays off of him. But again, he's, you know, we don't have a body that looks like that on our roster, so it's gonna take two and three-- sometimes just come around there.
And again, back to, you know, kind of how the game was going from a whistle standpoint, it was a little harder to get our physicality back once he already established his. And they were able to carry that, you know, for the rest of the game.