“I worked my…” The 30-year-old Cavs guard said before he paused. “I work a lot. I was ready for that. I was just waiting for the opportunity. It means a lot to come out and help the team to win a game like today.”
Raul Neto, who tipped a shot from Suns guard Cameron Payne and stole a pass from forward Ish Wainright, said his near-decade in the league taught him how to prepare for nights like Wednesday.
“I’ve been in this league for eight years,” Neto said. “I’ve been in every position you can imagine: Starting, backup point guard, third or fourth. You’ve got to find times where you can work on your game, work on your body, make sure you stay ready physically and stay ready mentally.”
Neto’s defensive performance against the Suns netted him the night’s “Junkyard Dog” chain. The former second-round pick said he always wanted to be ready to step on the court for the contending Cavs.
“I always want to play well,” Neto said. “I always want to impact the game. I know, on this team, it’s not what they want from me. If I go in and just play defense, take my shots, it’s not going to be a good night.
“I was just ready to play. This morning, I didn’t know if (Darius Garland) was going to play or not. I don’t really follow the medical stats. But I was just ready. I’m ready even when I know that I’m not going to play. In this game, things change so fast. One guy goes down, and I just try to stay ready for whatever it is. If I need to start, I’ll be ready to start. If I need to play through minutes, I’ll be ready for that too.”