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Nick Nurse on Game 3 heartbreaker: ‘About as tough a loss as I can remember’

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Raptors head coach Nick Nurse seemed pretty deflated as he took the podium to break down Toronto’s crushing Game 3 overtime loss to Joel Embiid and the Sixers. Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.

Video Transcript

[INAUDIBLE]?

NICK NURSE: Well, you know, I think we-- you're right, we did a really, really good job, I thought of executing most of the things. We had to switch some things up obviously when he got it going. And you know, I don't know how many threes he made. Made three of them. And they were all-- two of them were really tough for sure. One of them I think was pretty wide open at the top of the key there.

- But for the most part, our guys were executing what we were trying to do. And then we had to make the adjustment when he was playing really forceful with the ball. You know, he was either scoring it or going to the free throw line on his drives. So we had to start taking the ball out of his hands a little bit more. And we had some success with that. But just not quite enough.

I mean, we had our chances tonight. That's for sure. We had-- I thought, a bunch of great looks right down the stretch of regulation that probably could have put the game a couple of possessions ahead and just never got there.

- I don't think Pascal scored in the second half. Did they do something to take him out of the game or did you find out what happened?

NICK NURSE: Yeah, he was-- they put Embiid on him for most of the half. And Embiid was playing him up a little bit more than normal. He didn't get a lot-- I didn't think-- a lot of great looks. He had a few, but I didn't think he'd get a lot of great looks. But again, you've got to adjust to what the coverages are. And I thought both he and Freddie did that. They got the ball around to some of the other guys and those guys were beneficiaries of that.

- How heartbreaking is this for you? When you're that close? That close?

NICK NURSE: Yeah, I mean it's tough. I mean, I've got to think about this. But that's about as tough a loss as I can remember here for my time. You know, obviously if we pull that thing out, we got ourselves a series. And instead, you got yourself a really, really deep hole to dig out of.

But at least, again-- I thought we brought it and we played with great intensity. Played really tough and we put ourselves in position to win and just didn't go our way tonight. But it was a tough one, Steve. That's for sure?

- What do you say to Precious after a game like that?

NICK NURSE: What do I say to him?

- Yeah he's incredible, he missed those free throws at the end of the game. Sort of both sides of that equation there.

NICK NURSE: Yeah, I mean, listen, he's worked really hard on his shooting and his free throw shooting this year. He's going to continue to work on that. I'm really proud of the way he played, right? You can't-- he obviously put his best effort up there to make those. I thought the first one looked pretty good. Didn't get the bounce.

So I mean, obviously, we'll continue to work with him on that. And his mechanics have improved and all that stuff. He'll improve in that area. Don't want him to live in that play, for sure. Because he was really, really effective and forceful out there tonight. And that's just what happens, man. You get out there and you play this game, you're going to get put in situations like that and you're going to live and die with the results, that's for sure.

- Moments like that, is that sort of what you've been talking about some of the younger players going through this process and kind of learning through the ups and the downs?

NICK NURSE: Yeah. I mean, listen. I mean, we need more games, man. We've got to figure out a way to dig in there Saturday afternoon and figure out how to get more games because I think you can see again some obviously valuable time out there for Precious, OG, Chris. Those guys need these moments.

- I asked you before the game about OG sort of rising to the moment in these big playoff games. Did we see that again from him tonight?

NICK NURSE: Yeah. I mean, he was good. He looked really confident with the ball. Right? I think he got himself to places, I thought he made good plays, he made a few passes out of positions that he took the ball to as well. And made some tough shots as well, made some really contested threes.

But those were the plays at the moment. And he stepped into them. But no, he was good. Looked again like he had a lot more juice again for more minutes. I mean, that's a ton of minutes for him tonight. I didn't think-- he looked like he was winded and a little bit tired the other night. So I think, again, his conditioning is coming along here as you know, he's been out for a long time.

- What about Gary? Like earlier, [INAUDIBLE] pregame you're talking about just [INAUDIBLE] 45 minutes [INAUDIBLE]?

NICK NURSE: He certainly was feeling better tonight. I mean, so that was good. I think most of the illness had left him. And it's obviously a huge factor for us. I mean, he made a lot of offense. So just about any time we called his number, he produced something good and even if it didn't go in, you kind of felt like it was a good shot and it was going to go in.

So it was good to see. I mean, obviously helps us. And we'll get Scotty back for Saturday. And we'll have another weapon to use.

- Thanks very much.

NICK NURSE: OK everybody, thank you.

- Thanks Coach.

NICK NURSE: Yeah.

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