Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse discusses details of the team's latest film session, how lengthy road trips can help a team find their footing and more.
NICK NURSE: Hi, everybody. Good morning.
- Can I say good afternoon?
NICK NURSE: It feels like afternoon, doesn't it?
- It does.
NICK NURSE: Early start today.
- Ready for that three-hour time change.
- How's OG feeling? Was he able to practice today?
NICK NURSE: He told me he's 94%. I said, how are you doing, 92%?
- That's pretty good.
NICK NURSE: He said no, 94%.
- Higher than I am.
NICK NURSE: Yep, I know, me too. Way higher than-- anyway. So pretty good. He was OK.
- So no issues with [INAUDIBLE] then?
NICK NURSE: No. He's good. He's clear and went through all practice today and ready to go.
- Christian Koloko was just sent down to the 905. What's the logic behind it? Is there any chance he joins the team on the road trip?
NICK NURSE: Yes. He's going to join us, I believe, for game two. So he's-- they're just again in the same deal. He had a good performance with him with the 905 last game, and we're just trying to shift him a little bit up and down. Leaning towards playing with them a little bit just to get some minutes, reps, and things like that.
- Was this plan just kind of delayed because of the Precious injury? Ideally, this would have been happening all year?
NICK NURSE: Probably. Yeah, probably. Yeah.
- How revealing was-- Thad was just us about the film session you just had looking back at last year's defense. How revealing was that for you, and how revealing was it for your players?
NICK NURSE: We didn't-- we didn't have a film session. What are you talking about, looking back at last year's defense? [LAUGHS] That was a closed meeting.
- Doesn't mean it didn't happen.
NICK NURSE: Well, it was obviously just-- again, just showing some of our consistency tendencies, the things that we need to, you know, take up a couple notches from this, and it's not anything that we haven't talked about already here. Like, again, I probably mentioned it in the last film session. A lot of it is what I would call early offense, right, just transition and/or, you know, one-action offense that's getting way too, I guess, high-efficiency shot for the other team, right? Like, it's something we've always prided ourselves on is transition and taking away the first action, like just taking it out, right?
So that boils down to, like I told them in there, it's not a 30-day process where we need to get out here and grind it out. Like, we got to get our-- I always say defense-- transition is at the top of the list, right? You've got to get your defense set up. But before that, there's about four or five things like readiness, anticipation, toughness. You know, there's a bunch of little things that even start before there's a pass even made. So that's kind of what we were talking about in my closed meeting.
- Hesitant to talk about anything else that Thad told us. I don't want to get him in any more trouble, but he was talking about some of the benefits of a long road trip, and one of the things he said was avoiding distractions. Just given some of the noise of the season and obviously noise leading up to the trade deadline, is this a good time to go on a trip and try to get away from some of that stuff?
NICK NURSE: Well, it certainly feels like a good timing for it. Again, I think that we have played a little bit better, and there's some things certainly improving fairly quickly. And now, I mean, you can only find out if those things are going to continue to improve or stay solid when you play. And I think going out and-- I would expect this-- well, I guess I'm the head coach, so we're going to make this thing pretty business like, professional, leaning towards a lot of work, a lot of meetings, a lot of practices, a lot of-- like, this is going to be a pretty focused and work-themed trip.
- With Precious back-- sorry.
NICK NURSE: That's OK.
- With Precious back and getting his feet underneath him, like, what kind of boost does that provide [INAUDIBLE]?
NICK NURSE: Well, he's really done a good job, I think, providing rebounding, defense, and spirit, right? I think he's played tough. I think he's got up and down the floor. I just-- you know, he's been active. He's been strong. Like, you know, those things are very all, you know, kind of complementary traits that we needed, and I think that rubbing off a little bit.
And I just-- I think I've noticed too-- I don't know for sure, but it seems like our offensive rebounding has taken a big boost. And again, I think it's something that he's been a part of, but I think he's bringing guys with him-- just the energy of bringing guys with him.
And, I mean, you guys can remember too. There's a lot of times there'd be, you know, a little bit of a funky lineup maybe-- we thought it was the last year-- when Thad, Chris, and Precious out there. But just relentlessness on the glass with those guys and not leaving until we get a bucket and things like that, and it seemed to me that that's picked up a little bit.
I don't know if the numbers bear that out. I know we got a bunch last game, but it just feels like the defensive rebounds for the other team have gotten a lot harder, especially with that unit.
- How much pressure is there going into this road trip just to start, like, really racking up wins here? And not that the players feel it, but do you think that it's healthy even to [INAUDIBLE]?
NICK NURSE: Well, I think that we can't really worry about the noise or the pressure. I mean, we've got to really dial in on just playing a little bit better, right? That's it. Like, again, it's focusing in on-- it's almost kind of like-- nothing to compare it, but like you go into a playoff run and you kind of shut out everything and just really dial in on the game plan and your team and all that kind of stuff.
I'd say to that, and that gives you the best chance, I think, to just-- I mean, we got to be concerned with us playing better continually-- coaching better, playing better, just being-- again, I used the word readiness once already but just, like, readiness. When the ball's in play, man, we got to be ready to go and fight and compete and show some toughness and all those kind of things, and I think that's all we need to focus on.