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Nick Nurse was quick to praise Fred VanVleet for his first career triple-double in a thrilling comeback win over the Jazz, and enjoyed pointing out the less glamorous stats that summed up his point guard's monster night. Follow our Raptors coverage all season long on Yahoo Sports Canada.
NICK NURSE: Well, we got to plan a little bit. Obviously Freddie had a pretty good quarter. He had seven deflections in the quarter. So jump starters-- I think we just came out. I thought the biggest thing was he did as he came out and started picking those guys up full court, made a couple of adjustments defensively to help us.
- It's been some pretty special firsts like that from a bunch of players. I mean, how high-- don't expect you to rank them all right now, but [INAUDIBLE].
NICK NURSE: That was an incredible one all the way through the quarter-- all the way leading up to that race up 3 at the end. You know, it was almost like it was not-- you couldn't believe that one in as well. But, uh, yeah, it was a spirited effort by him to lead us, you know, with the ball in his hands and defensively at the same time.
- You mentioned what he did defensively. Which is more impressive to you, you don't need to score [INAUDIBLE] defensively [INAUDIBLE].
NICK NURSE: Yeah. It's-- it's hard to score like that, that's for sure. Right and especially to string them up like that. Um, so for sure, the offensive part was really-- really special tonight. And the rebounding for a guy that's, you know, smallest guy on the court. It's pretty impressive to pull down 10 of them. Got one of his own misses. Must have really felt he was going to miss that one because he was all over it, right, when he shouted. He was the one that had it, so.
NICK NURSE: I don't know about that. He knew it was short. I know that much because he reacted quick to that.
- What do you say to your group at half time in the way they defended [INAUDIBLE]?
NICK NURSE: Yeah. You know, it's, um-- it's, um-- I mean, not much, Michael, to be honest with you. I mean, I didn't-- didn't, um-- you know, we just looked at some clips and talked about, you know, a bunch of things. I mean, we weren't keeping the ball in front very well. That was-- and it was causing a-- causing a layout problem back to the big problem, a corner 3 problem. And we had to adjust, you know, our mindset there of squaring up and keeping the ball in front better. Um, and that-- you know, it's kind of what I focused on.
I think that was really causing all the problems. And again, I didn't want to-- I knew we were in for a game there way that was going, right, where things were going. And-- and we were going to have to really play, which we did. We did really, you know, really play in the second half. And, um, we needed to but, um, I don't know. We've been kind of just going in and treating those about the same, show the clips, make some adjustments, and get out there and play a little better.
- [INAUDIBLE] it'll be a point you'll bring up again [INAUDIBLE].
NICK NURSE: Yeah, maybe. I mean, it's-- I think-- I think in like normal times, Michael, you would. But this like doesn't totally shock me. We really been-- we really been hooping. We've really been energized. We've really been, you know, and you don't that just doesn't-- that just doesn't stay all the time. And-- and, you know, I also thought that, you know, like the empty arena would get to us at some point, you know, energy wise. And, um, couldn't create our own fun tonight in the first half. So we-- but we did in the second.
So I'm not totally like in this kind of time we're in. I'm not like totally shocked by about anything these days. So just kind of really happy we get a W to put after the game and see what we can learn. Um, maybe-- maybe talk about it a bit. But I think they know. They were talking about it in the huddles and the timeouts. And-- and they were still, I thought, very encouraging and stayed very positive with each other, which was a good sign.
- As great as Fred was, could you see the impact that he was having on everybody else. It seemed like once he took it to another level, bunch other guys--
NICK NURSE: Yeah. I mean, he was trying really early, right? I think that, um, he-- he kind of saw what was happening early. Um, and, uh, he was trying kind of vocally and things like that. And I just think that, um-- I don't know. He-- he was missing a good share of shots himself in the first half, right? He was trying to kind of get us going and get us going with the scoring. And that wasn't quite working either. But then I think once he-- once he was, um, kind of vocally stating his case and then doing it in the scoring column at the same time.
And I thought again, I always think that when the point guard is up there working really hard, the rest the guys see that, that are back there. And they kind of start getting ready to-- to move a little more too. So I think he kind of did all parts of it tonight.
- Not to belabor the point, Nick, but I imagine that it's not beneficial that your team can climb back and get this win and have this moment to remember it, have open floor. But is it a slippery slope that you don't want to get comfortable being, playing from behind like that?
NICK NURSE: I mean, I don't think so. I think that, um, you know, you certainly don't ever want to get comfortable in that position, I think. Um, but I do-- I do say that, um, you know, we have-- it's a few halftimes and-- not-- maybe not in a row. But, again, I thought we were-- we were super positive at the half in Milwaukee, even though we just gave up 77 points. And we were down 9. But I was kind of like, gees, we are lucky. We're here and let's-- let's-- let's go play now and we did. You know, we really played good on the second half there.
Yeah, and again, I don't know maybe we've got to, uh, get to some adjustment sooner, right? That's probably a couple of games in a row where we went to some pretty drastic adjustments in the second half defensively and totally-- totally turned the game around. So maybe we got to look at that too.
- Offensively early on, were guys turning down shots? Like it looked like they were--
NICK NURSE: It's weird.
- [INAUDIBLE] the middle.
NICK NURSE: It was weird, right?
NICK NURSE: It was-- it was, uh, one of those things where, again, they were kind of taking their chances with playing plans, you know, kind of offence. And-- and guys weren't so-- you know, it's tough that we did. We looked reluctant-- even the ones we took, we looked reluctant. You know, some of them were wide open. And you're not probably going to make many of those. And we didn't, right? Unless you're really confidently stepping into them.
And-- and, um, that's a little tricky, I think, too with-- with all the-- you know, you've got to try to the-- you know, when you're having a cold shooting night like that. And it was cold. Like, you know, you feel it, right? And, you know, you saying, you know, we got to kind of get away from the 3 and get it in the lane and try to get some cutting. And it's not that easy when Whiteside's parked at the rim, right, to just drive it in there and make something happen. But we were-- we were fortunate to start. I think in the second half, we started getting to some second side, second actions, third actions. And, you know, we were moving them around a little more, which enabled some guys to get inside.
- One question for you online, Nick. Go ahead, Doug.
- Hey, Nick. Thanks very much for listening. I know Gary banged in a big 3 there in the fourth quarter, was a very important shot at, a key moment. But he is shooting I think 28% over his last five or six games--
NICK NURSE: Yep.
- --from 3. Are you finding him having a difficult time adjusting to the lineup and the spacing? And what do you attribute that to?
NICK NURSE: Well, I attribute the first couple of games to, um, a guy that-- that was out of rhythm, right, being off the court for a long time. He's-- he's, um-- you can just tell kind of in general he-- he's really spending a lot of time before practice, after he's coming in. You know, he's trying to get his rhythm back a little bit. I think that'll take care of it, Doug, again.
And he's kind of-- he's kind of strange a little bit, I think. I can't remember. But I mean, we-- we ran those-- those were set plays for him. And he hadn't made a shot. I mean, we just kind of felt like Gary's, he's-- he's going to do it here. We need one from him. And let's-- let's get him-- let's get him one. And we ran around two or three sets for him.
And-- and, um, I don't know, he's-- he's really a confident guy. I just think-- I just think, Doug, it's, uh, him working out a rhythm. If you want to kind of pile those last five games together. And I thought, you know, he certainly had a-- a good game last game, not so good again tonight. But hit a couple of important ones.
- Man, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
NICK NURSE: Thanks, Doug.
- Thanks a lot.
- [INAUDIBLE] with Scottie seemed to-- I don't know if it's his hip or [INAUDIBLE].
NICK NURSE: He just banged it. Yep, he just banged it. I think he-- I think he left for a minute, didn't he? And he came-- it was a pretty quick one. He was-- he was out. And I thought maybe, um, you know what, he took off. I thought maybe it looked like, you know-- the-- the-- the hit look pretty hard to me and that kind of stuff. But he came straight back in and seemed to be fine. Probably be a little sore in the morning but hopefully he'll be OK.