Raptors coach Nick Nurse was seen having a few conversations with Joel Embiid during Game 2. He discusses what they talked about and highlighted where Toronto came up short vs. the 76ers.
- A lot of their guys under control, but Embiid kind of got you again. What are you seeing that you could do better to get him slowed down a bit?
NICK NURSE: Well, I mean, it's tough. Doug, you know, we changed a few things schematically. I thought they made a real concentrated effort of getting him the ball a lot more and in a lot deeper areas tonight. You know, he gets 31, 12, 14 free throws. I got to look at the tape and see what we can do to clean some of that stuff up.
I'm encouraged because I thought we started turning him over a little bit. And he just about turned over another probably a handful of them. But I think it's a pretty good night there if we can maybe cut those free throws in half a little bit.
- And you've got Fred, Pascal, and OG kind of character. But getting that third or fourth or fifth guy to help you out just didn't materialize. I guess Chris had a nice game.
NICK NURSE: No yeah, Chris had a good game. I thought Khem had a good game. You know, he played 19 minutes there. I thought he started finding some plays and playing some guys up. We weren't getting any stops in the first half, right? They were really, again, just-- we had a couple of really good possessions where they made some tough 3's at the end of them.
They had one where they got a kick out off an offensive rebound. Another one, Tobias Harris totally covered in the corner. And then we went through just a little bit of a spell of Pascal at about three great looks right at the rim, they all rolled off. Fred had kind of back to back 3's. And we didn't make any of those. And all of a sudden our opportunity to kind of stay right there with them-- and it's not it's not good to trade baskets, we sure could have there to keep it a little bit closer there in the first half but.
Still, I thought our guys were better physically tonight. I thought our guys were giving great effort. And it's certainly not easy. And Gary, give him credit again, but he had nothing. I probably should have held him out. But he went out there and he tried. And obviously it's hard enough, right? But it's still hard. We've got to hope these guys can get healthy by game 3.
- The non-Embiid minutes in the start of the second quarter, I think you went up 1 and then all of a sudden down 10 when he was on the bench, kind of turned that first half do you think?
NICK NURSE: A little bit. I think that, again, we got to stop in the initial possession. The next possession, we got to stop it. They got an offensive rebound kick out 3. The next possession Danny Green hit a corner 3. Mistake by us. That one wasn't a good possession. Then the next possession was a really good possession. And Harris at that tough corner 3. And that was too bad because I thought schematically we were good on all those possessions but one. And they still made they made-- better offense, just a shade better than our defense was.
- Nick, you said before the game that you hoped that the refs would call some of the more physical fouls you thought they didn't call in game one. Did you notice the difference in how they officiated tonight?
NICK NURSE: Well, again, we did draw a couple of charges. We absolutely-- I mean, on the challenge, I don't see how that's not a charge. I mean, they see it live and it looks like a charge. Look at it on the film, it looks like a charge. So I thought that was a missed one. There was another open handed slap to the face that, again, I don't understand why they will not call them. But other than that, at least there wasn't as many elbows thrown to the face tonight that we had to endure.
- What did you think that Malachi gave you defensively?
NICK NURSE: He was pretty good for a stretch there. I thought he was doing a good job on Maxey and racing around with him pretty good. Just had a little bit-- and he did a decent job kind of organizing us down there. He's usually, you know, in those situations, he'll stick a shot here and there. Wasn't able to do that. I thought he had a big play when we cut it back to 11. OG got twisted up, there was a kick ball that got missed. But it was laying on the floor at midcourt and I thought Malachi could have got on that one maybe and saved that possession.
And that's the kind of plays he's going to have to make. And I'm always asking him to get dirty, right, and come up with some of those loose balls. But he was OK. You know, tough situation for him to be in. I'm not thinking he probably thought he was-- I mean, he was this close to starting tonight. And that's probably a long way from what he thought when he got on the plane to come here.
- You started off 11 and 2. You guys--
NICK NURSE: Yeah.
- --set a physical tone early. Then I think Embiid missed the last 12 times in that first quarter. Does that take some of that momentum away?
NICK NURSE: Well, it does. And again, I got to look at them. I would imagine there's some kind of contact there. They can't just-- but I would also think that some of those were probably with our hands up and benefit of the doubt there. I guess it does take a little bit of steam out of you when you're playing good, playing hard, playing physical. We just got to do a better job of it.
- Is that what you were talking about doing about the last 14, 15 seconds?
NICK NURSE: He was saying to me that I'm going to keep making all the free throws if you keep fouling. And I said, well, you might have to. Good player, man. Like I got a lot of respect for him. He's certainly playing great here. There's nothing there. But also trying to compete against him and him trying to compete against us.
- What did you make of OG tonight? I mean, you're going to need him to step up [INAUDIBLE].
NICK NURSE: Yeah, he was good. Especially in the second half, he really had it going. And it was something we haven't seen for a long, long time. Where we've got him in a rhythm and a run and trying to get him back to some of his sets, running some of his stuff that we haven't run for a couple of months. And again, I think conditioning and rhythm wise he's still there. I should have helped him tonight. And we need it. We need it. Because again, I thought Pascal had a lot of good looks. And just had one of those tough nights where it rolled off on him a lot tonight.
And obviously Freddy started off on fire and continued, I thought, to get a bunch of good looks there, especially in the first half. And just wasn't fortunate to kind of keep that rolling. So we're going to need him. We need to make those open ones. They're making their open ones. I mean, I looked at one time I think they had eight different guys hit a 3. So that's pretty good. We need some of that.
- Nick, you mentioned the physicality [INAUDIBLE]. But after game one, he's not just matching it but bringing it. How did you feel about the way your guys set the tone in the first two minutes?
NICK NURSE: Pretty good.
NICK NURSE: Pretty good. Yeah, I thought we stood in there and brought some physicality. And tried to play the game at the level it needs to be played at this time of year.
- Not to go too far from the game plan, but because everything focused on stopping Embiid or at least containing him?
NICK NURSE: Well, there's a lot of scheming for him, obviously. I think there's the same for Harden, there's the same for Maxey. I mean, there's game plans all over the place for them personnel-wise. But no, I mean, we're doing a lot of things on Embiid, for sure. He's getting used to seeing some of them.
And I think we just got to figure out how to not get him to the line as much.
- Nick, now obviously the [INAUDIBLE] gods aren't great. Where do you sort of finds the silver linings to look for?
NICK NURSE: Well, listen. Like I said before, this was going to be a huge challenge tonight, right? Completely healthy, coming here and getting the game I think would have-- you know, people would have considered that a major upset. So here we are 2-0. We go back home and hopefully we can take advantage of some home court. I think the way we finished the game, I don't see our guys are discouraged at all like there's no chance here. I mean, I think they'll rise up and they'll play better.
And we need to get one. We need to get one and get ourselves back in the series.
- A couple of questions online. Go ahead, Josh.
- Next, Jacob Wood.
- Nick, just wondering with the 3-shooting we've seen over the course of this season when Gary is not there or Fred's not there or OG's not there, it's kind of tough to get the volume and the distribution. Did you feel like maybe there were some shots from the other guys-- whether it's Boucher or Precious-- that maybe they turned down that they should have taken?
NICK NURSE: I don't recall any from Precious, which surprises me a little bit. He usually gets his chances out there at the 3-point line. But I was happy with the way he played in general. I thought he played pretty aggressively and was working really hard. Obviously, Gary didn't get any looks I don't think. He got one 3 look. You know, he just wasn't himself or anywhere near himself. Like you mentioned, we need that spacing and shooting with OG and Gary and Fred all out there, for sure.
- And with the way you guys ran through OG for a while there, is that something that's going to be a must in game 3?
NICK NURSE: Well, I think that the situation presented itself tonight. And in the flow of the game, you see a guy that's got it going a little bit and you and you try to capitalize on that. I think, yes, we need OG, Pascal, Freddy. But we also need Gary's points and Scottie's points and those guys chipping in off the bench. Our eight, nine guys are going to play, all got to play. And they got to contribute.
- Thank you, Nick.
NICK NURSE: You're welcome.
- That's it.
NICK NURSE: That's it? OK. Thanks, everybody.