But when Eric Smith spoke to Green prior to Game 3 in Orlando, he knew how important it was to have a short memory and for the Raptors to take care of business in their first road game of the 2019 post-season.
The following is a transcript of their conversation ahead of Game 3:
Eric Smith: Danny, how do you guys take the success you’ve had – I would say in Game 1 and 2, but especially in Game 2 with the victory – and bring that sort of intensity onto the road as well?
Danny Green: Basically, be mature as a professional team, not get too fat and happy, and understand that we haven’t done anything. We’ve lost home-court advantage. Just because we won the last game doesn’t mean we’re up in the series. We’re still behind. They have home-court advantage right now so we have to win this game tonight to even the score.
ES: I was speaking to Serge [Ibaka] moments ago and he was mentioning “sacrifice” – one of the main keys, one of the main elements, that it takes to go on a Finals run. You’ve been there twice, you’ve won one. How important is that for each individual, to just look at the greater good and not individual glory or stats or anything else?
DG: That’s probably the biggest thing for any team in the playoffs, for every team – if you want to win. It’s not about your numbers. It’s not about scoring. It’s about the team and whatever it is you need to do to help the team win. Whether it’s rebounding, taking charges, getting steals, blocking shots or guarding somebody. Or it is scoring or knocking down an open shot!
Obviously, it’s everybody stepping up and doing what’s best for the greater good. Sometimes that doesn’t mean getting your shots off. Sometimes it means finding out that you might not get as many shots as you normally take, but still doing your job and doing it to the best of your capability. It’s about raising your team’s level. It’s about the last team standing.
ES: We often talk about physical attributes or we talk about numbers. How important is the mental aspect of the game and staying mentally strong?
DG: More important than anything at this time of the year. Especially after going through an 82-game season, the team that’s more mentally locked in and focused is usually the team that makes it to the Finals and wins the NBA championship. So that part of it is probably more important than anything else going on in guy’s minds, bodies or situations in this league.
ES: Alright, best of luck tonight Danny.
DG: Thank you.
The veteran forward certainly lived up to his words, scoring 13 points for Toronto, including a 3-for-3 stretch during a 16-0 run for the Raptors midway through the third quarter. Green was a key cog in helping Toronto take a 2-1 series lead over the Magic.
And as we all know by now, his response to that final question certainly proved to be prophetic for the eventual NBA champs.
You can watch Game 3 between the Raptors and Magic Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE.