Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse discusses his conversation with Chris Boucher prior to the 76ers game and when he can expect to have more players back and out of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
- Nick, can you talk about what [INAUDIBLE] you guys-- been away from the game. Certainly got it for [INAUDIBLE]. What did you think of the way they played, considering that?
NICK NURSE: Well, I think they both got pretty tired, Doug. But I think it was certainly a night for them to get conditioning. The biggest thing is I thought they played really hard on defense. And I thought they continued to try to carry the load on offense.
I know Gary didn't have the greatest shooting night there. But he still made a big shot. Pascal, I thought, really had a good-- just a really good offensive game. He was making plays, making passes. They had Embiid on him a lot, so he got involved in a lot of ball screens and handoffs. I thought both those guys, obviously, played almost 42 minutes apiece.
No doubt they were tired. They'd be tired under normal circumstances. But under these circumstances, they were pretty gassed, I would imagine. Where it is, we actually get a practice tomorrow. So I would imagine we're not going to get much out of those two guys in practice. But it'll be nice to welcome, I think, a couple other guys back as well.
- Chris has given away a lot of weight and a lot of size. But 28 and 19, that's about all you can ever ask from a guy like.
NICK NURSE: Yep. Biggest thing was he was ready to take the challenge, right? I kind of had a little meeting with him before the game about giving away a couple of pounds tonight. So just do your best. And he was ready to fight him. And I thought he hurt them.
They had to get Embiid off him because he was hurting him at the other end equally or more, to be honest. I mean, he wasn't the beneficiary of all those free throws like Embiid was. So Chris was actually playing him from the field. But anyway, again, fought him hard.
I thought Daniel came in, fought him hard. And I thought DJ did a great job too. They battled. They really battled. Kind of smiling at one of the biggest plays of the night. I thought Chris made that steal on that lobbed pass and ended up throwing it back in bounds right to Embiid, who threw in a floater, which I thought was a big play because we kind of had them rattled and had got a few stops in a row at that point. And that was another tough one.
- DJ Wilson looked pretty good in the second half. What did you think of him? And what was the deal with him in the first half?
NICK NURSE: Well, he had to clear protocols. And I don't know. At some point there in the first half, I just know that when I got back to the halftime locker room, I had word that he cleared. So just that's that. And then again, that's two good games for him. I think he's showing some rebound. He's showing some bounce. He's showing some IQ right place, right time, right place, right time type of guy.
Looks pretty good. Looks pretty bouncy out there, which is good to see.
- I think you played the last six minutes without a point guard pretty much. What did you like in that group? And why did you decide to go with DJ over Malachi?
NICK NURSE: Well, it gave us a chance. For the most part, I would say this, Doug, we did it in the first half as well. And it looked pretty good. And we were just fine with it. And just, again, looking to get who we thought was playing the best in the game out there. I thought Malachi did a nice job, didn't shoot it particularly well. But I thought he did a nice job everywhere else. He guarded well and ran the team good and things like that.
And then I think DJ was the other one. And that was just again, he got thrown in there and kind of looked good on Embiid and was working hard and just decided that's the way we would pretty much finish.
- You may have touched on this before, but you expect to get some guys back. And if this all kind of winds up as you only have these two games with a really short lineup, if guys aren't healthy, you look like kind of got through this or are getting through this better than it could have been maybe?
NICK NURSE: I guess. So I mean-- [CHUCKLES] I mean-- [LAUGHS]
The good news is we got three games postponed I think. And Golden State didn't bring their team here. That was a couple of good newses out of it. I mean, there's still two losses here, right? The last two that we're not going to get back. And I'm hoping that we do get back and ready to go.
Again, I would have liked to had a couple more guys tonight, not only for tonight's game but kind of getting that first one over with and being ready. So you just never know how it's going to go.
Although I would say this, it seems to me that everybody's reacting pretty well. There's just a little bit of general conditioning and in-and-out a little bit that you have to watch that you wouldn't be at this point of the year. We hadn't been worrying about for a long time. But that's kind of back to kind of early season thoughts, I guess, on that.
But that's a good positive question you asked there, Michael. Good positivity. I like it. I like it. Thank you.
- You didn't have four games this week.
NICK NURSE: My life the last four or five days hasn't felt as positive as your question came off to me. So thank you for--
Yeah, thank you for cheering me up a little bit, yeah. Thank you, I needed it, so thanks.
- Is Fred expected to be one of those guys coming back tomorrow?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I think so. Yeah, I think so. Again, it's time for him. And it's just a matter of, again, every day is kind of a new day. You got to make sure. There's always another four tests a day you got to pass before they let you on the floor. So we'll hope we can pass all those four. Go ahead.
- This is actually pre-game. But Danny Green still can't get his ring. Is that a shame?
NICK NURSE: It is a little bit. But it wouldn't have been much of-- what turned out tonight, 6,000 fans? Wouldn't have been much of a reception for him tonight, as it normally probably would be on any other circumstance. So hopefully, let's all hope that the next time they roll into town, he's healthy and our arena is full, so it's a proper--
He certainly was a huge part of that team, really a tremendous glue guy and a tremendous locker room guy and a tremendous player, a winner. So let's hope it's a big celebration when he does get it.
- Just one question for you online. Go ahead, Takeshi.
- Coach, thank you for your time. My question is, I Yuta hurt his right leg. So if you have a situation, please tell me. What does he have in his leg?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, no. He did take a knock there, Takeshi. Good news is he came back and played after that. So it was just one of those things that's pretty painful, probably really painful when it happens. But good news. And as he was able to come back, that's always a good sign. I'm sure it'll be sore tomorrow. And we'll see how it goes. He probably won't be able to do much tomorrow at practice either. But I think that's a good sign that he was able to come back and play. He did, again, a good, solid job out there tonight.