NURSE SIGNS EXTENSION

RAPTORS SIGN NURSE TO CONTRACT EXTENSION

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have signed head coach Nick Nurse to a multi-year contract extension. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. This past season, Nurse guided the Raptors to a 53-19 record during the regular season (second best in the NBA) and set a franchise-record with a .736 winning percentage. Toronto also reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the fifth straight year.

“Our confidence in Nick just continues to grow, and part of that comes from what we’ve experienced together. The past two seasons have been unlike any other in our team’s history – first, winning our championship, and then navigating a global pandemic and committing long-term to the fight against racism and for social justice,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “Nick has proved that he can coach on the court and lead in life, and we’re looking forward to accomplishing great things in the future.”

In his two seasons at the helm of the Raptors, Nurse has posted a 111-43 record (.721) during the regular season. In the playoffs, he has compiled a 23-12 mark (.657), while leading Toronto to its first NBA Championship in 2019. Nurse has earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honours three times (Jan. 2020, Oct./Nov. 2019, Nov. 2018) and coached Team Giannis at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

“My family and I will always be appreciative of Larry Tanenbaum and MLSE ownership for this opportunity. I’m grateful to Masai, Bobby, and the players for their trust and their hard work,” Nurse said. “Toronto has been my home for the past seven years, and I look forward to it being home for many more. I’ve watched this franchise grow and reach the pinnacle, and I look forward to the challenge of helping us win another championship.”

Nurse was named the 2019-20 NBA Coach of the Year, becoming the first coach to be selected as Coach of the Year in both the NBA and the NBA G League. Highlighting Toronto’s season last year was a franchise-record 15 straight victories (Jan. 15 – Feb. 10). The winning streak was the longest in Canadian sports history (NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and CFL).

In 2018-19, the Raptors won 58 regular season games and set franchise records for points per game (114.4), assists per game (25.4), rebounds per game (45.2), and three-point field goals made (1,105). The team went 16-8 in the postseason, defeating Orlando, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Golden State en route to the Raptors’ first NBA title.

A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Nurse was named the ninth head coach in Raptors history on June 14, 2018, taking the job after five years as an assistant coach with the team.

Nurse came to the NBA after several successful years in the NBA G League – where he was the only coach to lead two different teams to the league championship – Rio Grande Valley in 2013 and Iowa in 2011. For his accomplishments with the Energy, Nurse was named the 2010-11 recipient of the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year award.

-RAPTORS-

Jaylen Brown bothered by Jayson Tatum-Nick Nurse play (video) — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

Tension flared after the Raptors’ Game 6 win over the Celtics Wednesday night.

Jaylen Brown bothered by Jayson Tatum-Nick Nurse play (video) — ProBasketballTalk | NBC Sports

By Dan FeldmanSep 10, 2020, 9:15 PM EDTLeave a comment

Tension flared on the court after the Raptors’ Game 6 win over the Celtics last night.

It continued into Jaylen Brown‘s postgame press conference.

In double overtime games, there are always plays that could have swung the result in the other direction. One came late in regulation, when Jayson Tatum drove and passed… directly to Toronto coach Nick Nurse, who was standing near Celtics center Daniel Theis in the corner. Nurse was hunched over and touching the out-of-bounds lines – maybe even crossing them at one point.

Tatum, via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston:

“That was my fault. Can’t blame Nick Nurse. He’s not playing. It was my fault,” Tatum told reporters.

Jaylen Brown, via Hartwell:

“Things like that — sometimes things seem to go overboard at times,” Brown told reporters when asked about Tatum’s turnover. “Let’s keep it in check. Let’s keep it respectable, and let’s keep playing basketball. Grown men should be able to control themselves, especially coaching staffs.”

Tatum showed a lot of maturity with that answer. It is his responsibility to avoid a turnover.

But that play shouldn’t fall on him.

The NBA should crack down on coaches and bench players crowding the court. It’s not safe. It’s not basketball.

This had been better in the bubble – a potential factor in the offensive surge. But it’s obviously not good enough.

Raptors Coach Nick Nurse Rips NBA Refs After Game 2 Loss To Celtics — NESN.com

Sign In Nick Nurse might be getting desperate. The Toronto Raptors head coach strongly criticized the officials Tuesday after his team’s Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics. In particular, Nurse was upset at a non-call on Marcus Smart late in the game as well as the overall treatment of Celtics star…

Raptors Coach Nick Nurse Rips NBA Refs After Game 2 Loss To Celtics — NESN.com

Nick Nurse might be getting desperate.

The Toronto Raptors head coach strongly criticized the officials Tuesday after his team’s Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics. In particular, Nurse was upset at a non-call on Marcus Smart late in the game as well as the overall treatment of Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

“The only frustrating part about it is this: (Tatum) shoots 14 free throws, which is as much as our whole team shoots,” Nurse said.

” … They took very good care of him tonight.”

Take a look:

Nick Nurse was asked how frustrating it was to see Jayson Tatum take over.

“The only frustrating part about it is this: He shoots 14 free throws, which is as much as our whole team shoots. … They took very good care of him tonight.” pic.twitter.com/KvIgFS3RXc— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 2, 2020

Not to be overly technical, but the Raptors shot 16 free throws as a team.

At the end of the day, it’s entirely possible Tatum received the star treatment Tuesday night. However, the young forward was called for a soft technical late in the game in a decision that sure seemed like punishment for consistent complaining toward the officials. So, it’s clear the refs don’t love Tatum that much.

The Celtics hold a 2-0 lead over the Raptors in their second-round NBA Playoffs series. The two teams will meet at 6:30 p.m. ET on Thursday for Game 3.

Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images

More NBA: Did Kyle Lowry Take Dig At Marcus Smart After Celtics’ Game 2 Win?Boston CelticsShare   

The NBA Coach of the Year is a Rockstar – and everyone finally knows it — Unbenched Sports

Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors as he wins the 2019-20 NBA Coach of the Year… The last time the Toronto Raptors had a head coach of the year, he got fired in a series of shocking changes in personnel. 2 years later, they have a championship and another coach of the year. This time, […]

The NBA Coach of the Year is a Rockstar – and everyone finally knows it — Unbenched Sports

The last time the Toronto Raptors had a head coach of the year, he got fired in a series of shocking changes in personnel. 2 years later, they have a championship and another coach of the year. This time, he is here to stay. Embed from Getty Imageshttps://embed.gettyimages.com/embed/1164573676?et=S6W6knFGTl53GmtW-JwFMA&tld=com&sig=6OSmlnrw6b0HTcenDtLW7wdrImNmM8PDAW6J9s-60-k=&caption=false&ver=2

Nick Nurse has quite a resume to his career that most people may not know about. After a successful run in his university experience, Nurse decided to take on coaching as a career. For 11 seasons, he coached in the European League. He made his way to the NBA through the G-League, where he had plenty of success, leading the Iowa Energy to the best record in the League as well as obtaining a championship with them, before going on to coach the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The next year, he won a championship with them too (as if he couldn’t be any more awesome). 

Nick Nurse Head Coach of the Iowa Energy is sprayed with champagne as…

Nick Nurse Head Coach of the Iowa Energy is sprayed with champagne as he celebrates their NBA Development League Championship after defeating the Rio Grande Valley Vipers…

He moved into the NBA in July of 2013, working as an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors, under Dwane Casey. Although he worked on offense, he became a staple for defense when he became the head coach in 2018.

Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors speaks to the media at a press conference…

 The media has a history of doubting the Raptors. When Kawhi Leonard left the team in the offseason to go home to the LA Clippers, many analysts didn’t even have the Raptors making the playoffs.

Raptors fans are used to being overlooked, and have learned to appreciate what they have. Nick Nurse is a perfect example of this. Initially, Nurse was among the finalists for the COTY award, along with Billy Donovan of the OKC Thunder and Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks before getting the proper recognition in the official vote. Many may have underestimated the Raptors and what Nick Nurse has done for the team. They have the second best record in the league this year, a record that is better than the LA Clippers and Kawhi. They are about to play in the second round after sweeping the Brooklyn Nets and are looking to reach their second championship.

The Toronto Raptors are championship contenders, and they have a powerful force at the wheel: Nick Nurse. Now that everyone knows, it’s time to defend the north.

NURSE NAMED TOP NBA COACH

NURSE NAMED NBA COACH OF THE YEAR

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday that Nick Nurse has been named the NBA’s Coach of the Year for the 2019-20 season. Nurse guided the Raptors to a 53-19 record during the regular season (second best in the NBA) and set a franchise-record with a .736 winning percentage.

 “When you see Nick on the sidelines, that’s who he is as a person. Relaxed, but so hard-working. Creative and dynamic. Always setting the tone for our team – attacking our next championship, rather than defending our last,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “That is who Nick is, that is why we believe in him. His journey to this tremendous honour has been a long one – we are so happy to see him recognized this way.”

Highlighting Toronto’s season was a franchise-record 15 straight victories (Jan. 15 – Feb. 10). During this stretch, the Raptors averaged 121.2 points and shot .504 (672-1333) from the field. The winning streak was the longest in Canadian sports history (NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and CFL).

Nurse earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honours twice during the 2019-20 campaign – January and games played in October/November – and coached Team Giannis at the NBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

The Raptors finished the regular season leading the NBA in points allowed (106.5 ppg) and opponent three-point field goal percentage (.337) and ranked second in opponent field goal percentage (.428). Toronto also held its opponent to fewer than 100 points in 22 games – most in the NBA.

On the offensive end, the Raptors averaged 112.8 points (second most in team history) and a franchise-record 13.8 three-point field goals per game. This despite their top five leading scorers all missing at least 10 games due to injury or illness. Toronto had three players average at least six more points this season than they did in 2018–19: Norman Powell (+7.4 ppg, 8.6 to 16.0), Fred VanVleet (+6.6 ppg, 11.0 to 17.6) and Pascal Siakam (+ 6.0 ppg, 16.9 to 22.9).

After finishing the season restart in Orlando with a 7-1 record, Toronto also extended its streak to 24 consecutive calendar months with a winning record (Feb. 2017 – Aug. 2020). The streak is the longest in franchise history and the longest current streak in the NBA.

A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Nurse was named the ninth head coach in Raptors history on June 14, 2018, taking the job after five years as an assistant coach with the team. On June 13, 2019, he became just the ninth rookie head coach in league history to win an NBA Championship. Nurse has led the club to a 111-43 (.721) regular season record in two seasons.

Coach of the Year voting from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters was based on games played from the start of the regular season through March 11 and did not include “seeding games,” which took place July 30 – Aug. 14 for the 22 teams participating in the season restart.

Nurse is the third coach in franchise history to win the award, joining Dwane Casey (2017-18) and Sam Mitchell (2006-07).

-RAPTORS-

Nurse makes the right moves again as Raptors begin playoff push — Toronto Sun

Nick Nurse loves to experiment, so why should he act any differently in Game 1 of the NBA playoffs? From going big early with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, to changing his coverage of Nets star Caris LeVert on the fly, to trying Matt Thomas in the first half and then going to fellow rookie […]

Nurse makes the right moves again as Raptors begin playoff push — Toronto Sun

NBA champions Toronto Raptors ready to pick up where they left off — Global News

The NBA’s suspension on March 11 was just the first domino to fall in what would become a worldwide swath. Continue reading →

NBA champions Toronto Raptors ready to pick up where they left off — Global News

By Lori Ewing The Canadian Press

Posted August 1, 2020 12:12 pm

The Toronto Raptors were the hottest team in the NBA in early March, on a league-best four-game winning streak, coming off a solid west coast road swing and having just clinched a playoff spot. They were gleefully making their pre-season critics eat their words.

Then the threat of COVID-19 swept through sports like a prairie fire. The NBA’s suspension on March 11 was just the first domino to fall in what would become a worldwide swath.

Now, 145 days after the Raptors last played a meaningful game — a 101-92 win against the Jazz on March 9 — the Raptors will resume defence of their NBA championship Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers in a world that looks vastly different than when they walked off the court in Utah.

The Raptors will try to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy again in the NBA bubble’s almost-empty arena at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., while the coronavirus rages all around them. And they hope to continue their work on social justice while they’re at it.

After the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer that sparked an American uprising, players worried that the NBA’s resumption would stall the momentum. Their voices wouldn’t be heard. So the league and its players have dedicated much of the restart to racial justice work.

As the team’s senior basketball adviser Wayne Embry says in a Raptors’ promo video: “We are not just returning to play, we are coming back to fight — ball in hand and fist held high.”

The Raptors are No. 2 in the Eastern Conference (46-18), and shouldn’t fall any lower than third through the eight seeding-round games that determine post-season matchups.

While the loss of Kawhi Leonard to the Los Angeles Clippers last summer had people scoffing at Toronto’s chances at another deep playoff run, the Raptors paid no attention, climbing to second in the conference despite being hobbled by injuries — Toronto was fifth worst in the league in games lost to injury.

A place in the NBA Finals would mean being sequestered at the NBA’s campus until mid-October. Coach Nick Nurse believes his team has what it takes to ring in the fall at Disney World.

“I think we’ve got some special players, I think we’ve got a good combination of experience with some energetic youth, I think we play defence and we really like to play defence. I think if you play defence at a level that we’re capable of doing it, you can go a long ways any season, really,” he said.

Nurse spoke of the “specialness” of certain players, and then proceeded to list off virtually his whole roster.

“It’s a good group of guys, and we’ve got some toughness and we love to play and we love to compete,” he said. “We’re looking forward to being able to do what we do out there and we think we’re hard to beat.”

The Raptors have the toughest schedule of the 22 teams in the bubble, facing teams such as Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Boston over the next two weeks.

Nurse said his players can’t wait to get going.

“The feel, there’s an excitement and an energy there but it seems to be very similar, back to regular season,” he said. “It feels like it’s March . . . as far as the games go, it’s an attitude that it’s March rather than November, October (the traditional start of the regular season), whatever.”4:05Coronavirus: How major sports leagues are returning to play amid pandemicCoronavirus: How major sports leagues are returning to play amid pandemic

Injuries are a concern after a four-month layoff that for many players was the longest of their career.

Nurse likely won’t tighten up his rotation until the playoffs, to allow his players time to ease back into playing full-out games. But it could be tough to rein them in.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“You know it’s gonna be too hard for me and players like myself and all pros to hold back,” scrappy guard Kyle Lowry said. “Nick’s gonna do his best for us and we trust him and what he’s gonna do and we’re gonna roll with the decisions that he makes and we’re gonna go out there and try to get better and try to win every game.”

Serge Ibaka believes the Raptors’ experience and sense of togetherness will carry them far into the post-season.

READ MORE: Vagabond Blue Jays stuck on the road with no one to play

“We have that confidence in us now, after last year, we believe in us,” he said. “I think it’s our confidence, nobody can take that from us, we trust each other, we know what to do to win. . . No matter what’s going around out there, whatever they’re saying (about us), I think that’s one thing they cannot take from us is our confidence, and how we live with each other, how we know how to play with each other, I think one thing that nobody can take that from us.”

Is there anything Lowry is curious about seeing from his team after the long hiatus?

“Nah,” he said. “I just want to get back to work, to be honest with you.”

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One scrimmage in, Raps still have some work to do — Toronto Sun

Having finally played someone other than themselves, the Raptors sound content with their progress in this NBA re-start but still focussed on cleaning off some rust that has set in over the long break. Read More

One scrimmage in, Raps still have some work to do — Toronto Sun

Having finally played someone other than themselves, the Raptors sound content with their progress in this NBA re-start but still focussed on cleaning off some rust that has set in over the long break.

Here is what head coach Nick Nurse took from it:

“Well, I think it told me that we looked OK,” Nurse began. “I think there’s, again, a lot of the stuff we talked about already. We expected different levels individually of conditioning, we saw that. We expected some inconsistent, out of rhythm play. We saw that. And we saw a lot of really good stuff. The ball moved, we got stops, our defence was pretty darn good. Especially when you look at the numbers after the game. It was .89 points per possession. That’s going to win you damn near every game. A lot of good things.”

But for Nurse it was also served to change the way he will approach the final two scrimmage games.

His initial intent was to ramp up the minutes of his starters and key rotation players but that changed for Nurse after the win over Houston.

“I thought we would ramp this way (upward hand motion) through the scrimmages, minutes-wise, and my thought today is maybe it will stay the same or even go the other way. I think the scrimmages are going to provide just an opportunity similar to last night, and we still have the eight regular season games to maybe ramp up.”

Pascal Siakam who looked in fine form throughout the game, said it pretty much came as advertised.

“ I think just that it was expected, it wasn’t gonna be pretty, it wasn’t gonna be the best performance or whatever but that’s the reason we have these scrimmage games to come in and get the rust off or whatever, get out there and get shots up, focus on defence, kinda get used to the environment and all those things so that’s what we’re working on,” Siakam said. “I think it was a good day, good game for our team, obviously we got the win, but also just getting out there and playing against somebody else, I mean, we’ve been playing against each other for a little while here.”

A GENTLE REMINDER

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson sat through about a seven minute interview with various members of the media (mostly Toronto based) and didn’t have one question asked of him about the issue or social inequality or police reform or accountability that the NBA has been focussed on since its return.

Full disclosure, having been on most of these calls with players and coaches and management these past few weeks, that is a rarity but in this instance it happened and Hollis-Jefferson called us all out for it.

“One final thing I just wanted to say,” he began. “I didn’t say anything. I just wanted to see how the questions were set up and what you guys wanted to ask. Now some of you guys have the biggest platforms in the media and talking points and lots of people follow you guys so I want to challenge you all, man, to kind of … we know what it going on in the world and where our focus should be. I know basketball has been missed and it’s loved but there are a lot of crazy things going on in this universe and we need you guys along with a lot of other people to put this word out, to put this message out, that we need unity. We need love. We need positivity and that starts with us and then it starts with you guys because you guys get our message out. So please, please take this a little bit more seriously. I appreciate you guys.”

GETTING USED TO THE QUIET

The lack of any noise over what they actually create themselves has members of the Raptors a little unsure as they got their first taste of a game – or in this case a scrimmage – without actual fans.

Nick Nurse said he stopped short when he began to call out a defensive alignment when he realized all five of his own players and all five Rockets were hearing what he was saying.

“I caught myself stopping about halfway through because all 10 players were listening to me instead of just my five,” Nurse said. “I think when there’s crowd, music, your guys are used to kind of hearing you. That was noticeable, that you maybe are not gonna be able to just bark out whatever you wanna do, and if you do, they’re gonna know, they’re gonna hear it.”

Siakam said it was just going to take some getting used to.

“Obviously it’s an atmosphere we haven’t been in (before),” he said. “I made a joke that it looks like some of the arenas we wouldn’t play at but, nah, there’s nobody there, I think we just gotta figure out a way to give each other energy and I think the bench is gonna be important or whenever you’re on the bench, having that energy to kinda like boost your teammates, I think that’s what it’s gonna take.”

QUICK HITS

ESPN was reporting last night that the league is investigating Clippers guard Lou Williams who, while on an excused absence from the NBA campus, was photographed at an Atlanta Gentleman’s club on Thursday night. He could be looking at a 10-14 day quarantine before he can re-join his Clippers teammates … Nurse was asked by a reporter Saturday evening what his expectations were for the Raptors in the bubble. “We’re coming here to win the thing,” Nurse said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We like our team, we think we have incredible chemistry, and some toughness and great competitors, man. There’s some really special players on this team that play to win each and every night, and we just are going to see how far we can take it. And, for us, we set our goals high.”

Games haven’t started and things already plenty hot in Raptors camp — Toronto Sun

Maybe it’s the bubble living, or all that time away from the game. Maybe it’s because the playoffs are so close and this Raptors team, despite the lack of respect from south of the border, really is locked in on repeating as NBA champs. Whatever the reason, the intensity or ‘the juice,’ as head coach […]

Games haven’t started and things already plenty hot in Raptors camp — Toronto Sun

Raptors settling in nicely with Orlando NBA return around corner — Toronto Sun

Having run his troops through mostly individual workouts the past week at Florida Gulf Coast University, Nick Nurse says he is pleasantly surprised by both their approach and their conditioning. The Raptors head coach admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect from his team after a near four-month layoff. “I think I would say I […]

Raptors settling in nicely with Orlando NBA return around corner — Toronto Sun


Raptors settling in nicely with Orlando NBA return around corner

Mike GanterMore from Mike Ganter

Published:June 30, 2020

Updated:June 30, 2020 2:57 PM EDT

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Having run his troops through mostly individual workouts the past week at Florida Gulf Coast University, Nick Nurse says he is pleasantly surprised by both their approach and their conditioning.

The Raptors head coach admitted he wasn’t sure what to expect from his team after a near four-month layoff.

“I think I would say I kind of came in here open-minded,” Nurse told reporters on a conference call from the team hotel in Naples, Florida where the team convened and will remain until the NBA campus opens in Walt Disney World just over a week from now.

“I didn’t know if we were going to be not really in the right frame of mind or whatever and whatever it was I was going to kind of deal with it, but I would say I am pleasantly surprised with the frame of mind, I am pleasantly surprised with the conditioning and I just think you have a bunch of guys who have a high care factor,” Nurse said. “They love to play, they are guys that are concerned about getting better individually, about their own careers, and it just seems like they are doing a really professional job. I just think there is a strong love of the game there for a lot of these guys.”

And in a season that was going along rather nicely for the Raptors before the world was stopped in its tracks by the Coronavirus pandemic, that should bode well for the team going forward.

In fact Nurse sounded very much like a guy still waiting to see the best from his team, and for obvious reasons.

“We went into this last season obviously missing a couple of really key pieces to our team (Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green), so you were kind of selling an opportunity to a few guys, there’s some opportunities for some growth and even usage and chances and stuff like that, but you’re not sure how that’s going to turn out,” Nurse said. “Could this guy go to there and this guy go to there? Fortunately Pascal (Siakam) took a jump, Fred (VanVleet), Norm (Powell), Serge (Ibaka) is playing amazing, OG (Anunoby) has been fabulous, so that opportunity there in the middle, the 3-4 spot, there’s a lot of guys that have taken it. I expect to kind of come back into this and see what we are going to look like coming back here but we have a little cheat sheet to know there is a place we’ve been with this group. So I think if it isn’t all holding hands and skipping rope at the beginning we just have to stick with it and see if we can get back to that level. I think there’s another level this group can go.”

Health will certainly be a factor and that’s before anyone even begins to consider the possibility of the Coronavirus overcoming all the precautionary steps the league has taken inside the Disney bubble.

For starters the Raptors were on pace for 60 wins this season pre-pandemic and that was with just about every regular missing a month or more save for Anunoby.

The near four month break has brought everyone back fully healthy, including Marc Gasol, who looks like he went back to Spain and lived in his gym eating nothing but the healthiest of foods.

Powell confirmed on Tuesday during his call that Gasol, in fact, is the envy of all his teammates these days.

“He looks great, man, he’s moving great. He’s feeling great, in talking to him,” Powell said. “I’m supposed to be playing tennis with him either tomorrow or the next day, so hopefully I’ll still be able to give him a run for his money.”

Now granted these are still early days in the re-start. The Raptors haven’t had and won’t have a full team workout until they get to Disney but all indications point to the defending champs having weathered this pandemic rather well and sit in a nice position to make a real run at repeating.

It’s only been a week but Nurse doesn’t sense or feel any angst within the team that could be at the beginning of a four and a half month road trip, albeit one minus any real travel.

“The days go by pretty quickly,” Nurse said of his initial assessment of this elongated road trip. “We’re trying to mix in some days off. We’re trying to mix in a lot of different activities, as much as we can do under the conditions. We had a barbecue the other day. It was kind of nice. It takes an evening. It was good. There’s ping-pong. There’s pool. There are a few other things we’re trying to mix in, too. I don’t really sense much anxiety or people worrying about, ‘Man, this is going to be a long time. The language has been positive.”

It all has to sound almost too good to the Raptors fan at home anxiously awaiting that first game on Aug. 1. But then who among us doesn’t deserve a little good news given how these past four months have unfolded?

Nurse hopes special Raptors get to ‘keep this thing going’ but thinking safety first — Toronto Sun

On a conference call with the daily beat media, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse made it clear that while he’d love to resume his duties sometime soon, there are far bigger things on his mind. Read More

Nurse hopes special Raptors get to ‘keep this thing going’ but thinking safety first — Toronto Sun

On a conference call with the daily beat media, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse made it clear that while he’d love to resume his duties sometime soon, there are far bigger things on his mind.

Nurse’s priority, for weeks now and continuing for as long as the COVID-19 pandemic goes on, is encouraging his players, staff and fans to focus on safety and best practices during all of this.

“I’ve been really adamant on our safety and health, and doing the right thing,” Nurse said. “I was trying to make those messages clear that we needed to make sure … You know, people were concerned about working out and going to the OVO (training facility in downtown Toronto) and all this stuff, and I was really, really strong in my messaging to everybody that we’re gonna close this and stay shut,” he said.

“(The focus was) lead by example. Let’s make sure we get out and if we can provide any messages, washing hands and those kind of things.”

more….

Nurse hopes special Raptors get to ‘keep this thing going’ but thinking safety first — Toronto Sun

Health means options which means decisions for Nurse … Remember Dewan Hernandez? … The Kawhi myth — Toronto Sun

SACRAMENTO — It should be Saturday at the latest that Nick Nurse will have his full complement of players at his disposal.

Health means options which means decisions for Nurse … Remember Dewan Hernandez? … The Kawhi myth — Toronto Sun

SACRAMENTO — It should be Saturday at the latest that Nick Nurse will have his full complement of players at his disposal.

Then it’s an entirely different form of tough for the head coach.

Rather than filling in the gaps, Nurse will be looking to juggle as many as seven deserving starters while trying to keep everyone happy.

Marc Gasol returned to the lineup Sunday after a 15 game-absence that combined with an earlier injury to the same left hamstring has seen him play just 36 of the 63 games so far this season.

Fred VanVleet, who was questionable coming into the Sacramento game will sit out at least one more and probably a second in Utah before making his return on Saturday once the team gets back home.

“I think we probably (give him the extra time) but we’ll see what happens here tonight,” Nurse said of VanVleet’s return date before the game in Sacramento. “He’s really close so he’ll certainly be in once we get back home but we’ll see what happens tonight with everyone.”

The thinking is that with four full days off between Monday’s game in Utah and Saturday’s at home against Detroit, the prudent decision would be to give the guy with the sore shoulder the extra time off rather than bring him back for one.

With Gasol back and Serge Ibaka playing at a very high level, the decision was made to bring Gasol off the bench for Monday’s game but to hear Nurse tell it that decision and a few more are going to be revisited very soon.

Read More

Health means options which means decisions for Nurse … Remember Dewan Hernandez? … The Kawhi myth — Toronto Sun