Toronto Raptors’ All-Star guard DeMar DeRozan didn’t have the postseason debut that he wanted, scoring just 14 points and shooting 23% (3 of 13) from the field–in addition to just 2 rebounds and 1 assist–on Saturday afternoon in a Game 1 loss against the Brooklyn Nets. This was a disapointing and unexpected performance from DeRozan, who averaged 22.3 PPG (shooting 50% FG), 5.3 RPG, and 3.0 APG in the previous 3 games he played against the Nets during the season.
Looking back at his first career postseason game, DeRozan didn’t feel too overwhelmed by the stage, but the 24 year old, 5th year guard realizes that he needed to calm things down as it seemed like things were moving faster on the court than expected.
“The crowd is more into it, but at the end of the day it’s still the same game. They played me the same way that they played me last time in the regular season. Just go out there and be calm, got that first one under my belt, it’s time to move on,” DeRozan said. “I don’t need a whole nother playoff round to get ready for it. I watch a lot of film, I understand. I’m never going to make the same mistake twice, it’s just adjustments.”
“I really wasn’t nervous, it’s just with much energy that was going on it felt like things went faster than it was. Me just watching the film today, same game. Still slow, I think we was just as slow as they were yesterday, we could’ve picked it up a lot more.”
During the 3rd quarter of the game, the players experienced a shot-clock malfunction that could not be fixed in time, and at the same time, the back-up shot clocks were not functioning. DeRozan admitted to being thrown off by that mishap.
“No it wasn’t tough, it wasn’t tough at all. It was an exciting game, it was definitely fun to be apart of, the energy and the crowd.” That shot clock did throw me off, it threw us off. But I thought we wasn’t going to get no calls, but it wasn’t called too differently, just the shot clock threw me off.”
What DeRozan usually does after a bad game is he returns to the gym to practice on the same night, something he thought about doing Saturday evening, but decided against it and instead decided to relax and take the rest before the team’s on-court practice on Sunday.
“I sat in my room the rest of the day, I didn’t leave out of the room, didn’t turn the TV on, didn’t watch no games. Just clear my mind, just understand I got my first playoff game,” DeRozan said. “I thought about it [practicing], I really thought about it. About 1 o’clock I was going to come back, but I was like, no don’t put too much pressure on myself, just go out there get rested tonight. Regroup today, got two days until we play. And just get ready, try not to think so much and stress myself out, just relax.”
After watching the game film the following Sunday, DeMar will look to make adjustments going into Game 2, as the Raptors look to even the series before heading to Brooklyn. Having to guard one of the best scorers on the Nets squad in Joe Johnson, DeMar has to focus on the defensive end and making Johnson’s shots difficult.
“Kind of be more of a playmaker for myself, try to use myself as a decoy. But at the same time be aggressive. It’s just adjustments, I watched the game this morning, just tried to find more ways to be aggressive,” DeRozan said.
“Do other things, last night I took an onus once I came in, guard Joe Johnson, tried to get the ball out of his hands, make the shots that he took, tough. I just want to be more aggressive on the defensive end, help my team with that. And be more of a facilitator, I think coaches got on me for being too passive last night, but that’s just me trying to get my teammates involved.”
“It’s a tough balance, but you’ve got to pick and choose your spots. Don’t force nothing, let everything come to you, and it’ll be that much easier.”
The full media scrum can be see below: