TORONTO — Raptors guard Delon Wright refused to take the bait Thursday when asked about some trash-talk from Washington’s Kelly Oubre Jr.
The Wizards forward slid in a barb after Wednesday’s 108-98 Game 5 loss in Toronto. Wright was a key man on the night, scoring 11 of his bench-high 18 points in the fourth quarter to help the Raptors take a 3-2 lead in the first-round playoff series.
“The next game is a different story,” Oubre told the Washington Post. “We’re back at home. Just like Delon doesn’t play well anywhere else, you know, other than at home. You can kind of chalk it up as the same story.”
Asked about the comment, Wright chuckled.
“Yeah I saw it,” he said. “That’s just his opinion. I didn’t play as good as I did at home there but he made it sound like I was just a total bust. We’ll see (in) Game 6.”
As he walked away from reporters, he suggested he might have a fuller response after the game “when we win.”
The Raptors head to Washington, looking to wrap up the Wizards on Friday by notching the first away victory of the series. Toronto lost Games 3 and 4 there, reverting to some bad old habits.
“We need to go out there, execute the game plan, play our game,” said point guard Kyle Lowry. “Understand where we are. We’re on the road. We understand that things are going to be a bit different but we’ve got to stay focused.”
With backup point guard Fred VanVleet nursing a shoulder injury, the minutes are up for both Lowry and Wright. Coach Dwane Casey hopes Wright will continue his fine work from Game 5, taking shots he passed up in a tentative fourth quarter in Game 4.
“He’s got the green light,” Casey said of Wright, who turned 26 Wednesday. “He’s a very good three-point shooter … If the game gives him the three-point shot, he’s got to take it.”
Casey had complained about some “uncharacteristic” play from his team in the two losses in Washington, pointing to shots not taken and increased turnovers.
Wednesday was more to his liking — Toronto had 10 turnovers, down from 18 in each of Game 3 and 4 — although rebounding was an issue. The Raptors were outrebounded 38-20 in the first three quarters before pulling down 15 to the Wizards’ 12 in the final quarter.
Casey said the Raptor guards had to do a better job of corraling rebounds from long-distance shots.
Toronto also loosed centre Jonas Valanciunas off the bench in the fourth quarter Wednesday. The big man responded with six points and seven rebounds in the quarter.
Casey said he had his reasons for opting to use Valanciunas in the business end of the game but declined to share them other than to say “I go with my gut.”
As for VanVleet’s status, Casey was non-committal.
“I’m sure his shoulder still hurts but he was here today, (he) worked out today. He’s day-to-day.”
VanVleet played just two minutes 49 seconds in Game 2, his lone action of the series.
If needed, Game 7 would be Sunday at the Air Canada Centre.