Scariolo: "Kawhi rises to the level of LeBron and Durant"

"He plays at ten degrees cooler than the rest", praises his coldness the Italian coach, who gives the favoritism of the conference final to the Bucks and relativizes Anteto: "His strength is the team."


Hours after the historic triumph against the Philadelphia Sixers, Sergio Scariolo is already working at full speed in the offices of the Raptors preparing the final. The Italian coach, who serves with his usual exquisiteness to As, has become the man of confidence of Nick Nurse and in the last 25 games has taken over the entire offensive structure of Toronto. His image watching the flying of the launch of Kahwi Leonard was commented on in networks. This is how the coach of Brescia is living this exciting adventure.

-I would ask him if he held Kahwi's basket like that of Pepe Sánchez who gave a Final Four to Unicaja but it is still very short. How did he live it?

-Basketball lives from such moments. The cruel and the beautiful. So much passion of the people, so much investment of the franchises. How many things are at stake I have experienced the good but also the bad. As in that triple of Teodosic. I dont know. This is something that affects you relatively in terms of repercussion. It is a limit play, it is an expectation that later brings an explosion or a disappointment. You see all those shrunken heads looking to see what happens with a ball ...

-Basketball in its purest state.

-I do not know how there are people, even within basketball in Spain, that has been able to pass through the brain to remove the playoff. It has magical moments. We, for example, have had better and worse moments in the series. The important thing was to get up in difficult times. I think that draw in the fourth game was basic.

-A early in the season, in an interview with Ace just before the start of the season, he said that Kahwi was at the level of the best. The facts have proved him right.

-The thing on Sunday, despite having great impact, does not add new information. I will not deny that the shot had a point of luck. But what Kahwi is doing this season elevates him to the level of LeBron and Durant.

-How is Kahwi?

-A very normal guy. It is not an uncle who speaks when there is no need to talk but if he has to speak and touch, he speaks. He's a serious, professional guy, a show on the court. A player who also knows how to listen. It does not give joy to the party. Maybe he's not a leader in the sense of a vocal leader, let that be more Kyle Lowry. He is a leader because he is respected. A family type with a great emotional balance. Let's say that he is able to be ten degrees below the normal temperature when the games are hot to make the best decisions,

-The celebration of the costumes had much to do with how you live in European basketball?

-Al final are emotions. But we have not won any title. We live with joy and with episodes of euphoria, but we are only in the conference final. I liked how a player like Kyle Lowry was, who has been here since 2012 (he lived the other conference final). He told the boys to celebrate it but the next day they came with the five senses to prepare the series against Milwaukee.

-Does the series against the Bucks conditionally represent one hundred percent Antetokounmpo? In the sense that it can be a game of chess, protect the area but release external shooting even from centers like Brook Lopez.

-Well I do not see it that much. We are going to give Antetokounmpo the best player of the year in the NBA. Maybe he's in the top five, yes. But given that he was the best, I think the strength of Milwaukee is the team, the good players he has. The improvement of Bledsoe, Brook Lopez. You can look at the statistics. They are great in a lot of different aspects apart from their superstar. They are favorites. They do not have an original way of playing basketball but it is effective. And they have commitment and sacrifice.

-What role can Marc play in the series? Before Orlando and Sixers has been able to have a more concrete one before Vucevic or Embiid.

Has been key before Philadelphia, the way in which it has worked before Embiid. Against the Bucks it will be too but we will not ask him to go running like crazy to stop shots. I believe that its function as a center can give us guarantees to be stable. They are easy to get the faults.

-Do you like that the series will be more followed in Spain by the presence of Mirotic, Marc Gasol, Ibaka or his own?

-It is not a central focus for me. I'm telling you the truth. When I'm in the Raptors I have to be one hundred percent. So if I have to limit Nikola, I will! (laughs) What is certain is that I am very happy for him and for how things are going.

-What would Pau have given Milwaukee?

-His knowledge of the game, his experience, to limit our penetrators, his chapCidad to get three at certain times ...

-At the beginning of the season said he did not see much difference between East and West separating a bit the level of the Warriors. Everything he said has been fulfilled. Where are they right now?

-I think there are the two best eastern teams in the final. Just as the Sixers have competed to the end, Boston has disappointed in the conference semifinal. I imagine a conference final with moments of quality of game and others marked by competitive tension. They have won us in the balance of the regular league. We go with humility and knowing the things we have to do better if we want to match them.

-Are you having fun? Because, of course, it seems.

-No doubt. There are hard times because you work, you travel. You are in a process of total immersion in basketball. It has allowed me to improve, to reflect, I have received a mission that could be said special in the last 25 matches (responsible for the offensive facet). The physical level is so high that I know that later (when it's time for the Selection) I'll have to recycle but I will also love it and it will be fantastic.



Photos from as.com

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