By Patrick Patterson, for NBA.com
This is the most excited I’ve been to write a blog post since I started — the Toronto Raptors are in the Playoffs! This is what I have wanted ever since I was a rookie and I am so proud to be part of this team.
When we clinched our spot, there was a feeling of relief, but we were also so proud of ourselves and one another. We worked so hard for this all season, to finally achieve it is a great feeling. We all celebrated with a team dinner, just having fun and enjoying the moment.
What makes it so much better is that our success this year was really a team effort. Whether everyone’s unselfishness and willingness to move and share the ball, or DeMar and Kyle’s ability to become those leaders and star-caliber players we needed, every single person on this team contributed. We all knew individually what we had to do for this team in order for us to be successful, and all bought into what the coaching staff was telling us. We work hard and play hard, with lots of energy and young guys on the team.
Prepping for the Playoffs has been all about watching film, correcting previous mistakes against our opponent, knowing what they like to do and how they took advantage of us as far as plays on the court, mismatches and areas of the game we have to get better at. Practices and workouts are short and sweet, a few reps, a few contact plays. It’s all mental and all based on what we see on film, just trying to memorize game situations.
My personal goal for the Playoffs is to get to the Eastern Conference Finals. I want to make sure I work hard every single game so I don’t ever wonder, “What if I had given more?” I want to always be satisfied at the end of every game knowing that I gave it my all.
An added benefit of having my first Playoff series with this team is that I’m alongside two guys that were there my first year in Houston when we finished 9th – Kyle Lowry and Chuck Hayes. These guys have always treated me like a younger brother, watching out for me, so being able to have this experience with them is great, and hopefully there will be more to come!
It is not going to be an easy road to the Finals. First up is Brooklyn, a team full of veterans with Playoff and Championship experience. After that, we would face the winner of the Miami and Charlotte matchup. LeBron and his basketball IQ alongside D Wade and Bosh, all returning champs, all extremely tough to beat. Charlotte can slow down the game and have Al Jefferson who will punish you inside and get rebounds, in addition to Kemba Walker’s one-on-one ability.
Whatever matchups come our way, I am so confident in our team and know that we will leave everything we have on the floor every single game. We the North!
Before the Playoffs started I had a chance to see Oculus, my next #patspicks movie review. The plot of this movie made it one of the best I have seen in a long time. It was able to jump from flashbacks to present day in a way that was intriguing instead of confusing. You were on the edge of your seat trying to guess what happened next, but there were so many twists that threw you off. Overall I give it an eight out of 10. I originally thought this was a horror movie, which is one of my favorite genres, so I was expecting a little more gore, but this was definitely more of a thriller that messed with your mind.