Nick Nurse on Precious Achiuwa's DNP, Christian Koloko's minutes vs. Thunder

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse discusses Pascal Siakam's performance, how he will proceed with backup centre minutes and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Video Transcript

- Nick, you look at those offensive numbers and the way the shot distribution is and the scoring is shared, is that the kind of goal of a coach to get that kind of balanced production from six guys?

NICK NURSE: I mean-- [CLEARS THROAT] I mean, yeah, I think that-- you know, I think, in playing offense the right way mode, right, I think, again, I always say you got to take what's there, right? And some nights, it's a very equal opportunity thing. Some nights, it isn't so much, depending on the coverages. But I thought everybody had their moments tonight all the way through.

And those six guys really all produced shot pretty good percentage, a good number of assists, which is good, low turnovers, you know? So there was a lot of good stuff there. And I really liked our transition offense tonight. I thought, when we got stops, we were down and in the paint and kicking out 4 wide, wide open 3s.

We did a really good job of running the floor and continuing to push it into the paint. And then they collapsed pretty hard. And we were pretty consistent on getting it out to the weak side or maybe a trailer or something like that. So that I like too.


--and stuff in a variety of ways. And--


- --tonight, I guess, you have more free throws on your side of the month and three 3s.


- That's the kind of game you need from him?

NICK NURSE: Yeah, I thought, again, just what we talked about early in the game, he had a few of the hard driving baskets, few spin moves all the way to the rim. I don't know what he had for offensive rebounds, but it looked like he had, yeah, five offensive rebounds. So he's in there trying to find a bunch of different ways to score. It's exactly what I meant. And I thought he did a good job of stepping into some 3s that maybe he wouldn't take normally.

They were pretty good rhythm. He wasn't that wide open, you know? And-- but like I-- like I say, if it's rhythm, a pretty good rhythm, I want them to take them if there's space to get them off. And I thought he took a couple of those as well, which I like.

- You talked about Christian the other day maybe getting him some run--


- --in the backup center spot. Is that just a matter of getting more size on the floor? And then ultimately, how do you think he did before he got hit in the face there?

NICK NURSE: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I think that he did what we hope he can do. And I mean, as soon as he checked in, he blocked a shot, right? I mean, that impacts why we're putting him in there immediately. And that's really what it's about. I think it's a team as you guys saw. They do a great job of running misdirection and then having the ball handler reject the other way, right, and put their head down and just try to barrel to the rim.

And we got to have somebody back there because they are very good at either beating you with quickness or just beating you with physicality off the bounce. And you know, it hurt us a little bit there. Like-- like, I remember saying it the first time out. I said, jeez, we've given up four straight driving layups. We got to-- we got to get better at our rim protection a little bit.

- And for Precious, you mentioned maybe getting him some more time on the wing the other day. Is that something that might be tough to do just given the way the rotation is right now?

NICK NURSE: Yeah, [clears throat] yeah, we will see, right? I think that-- I would think that-- I know I don't want to get carried away here on one game, but I would think that the [INAUDIBLE] on the floor for rim protection in general bodes well for us defensively. So I would say, yeah, Precious is probably going to have to shift down to where he normally would play, you know, like a four. Yeah.

- What did you like about having that match-up of OG on [INAUDIBLE], Fred on Shai to start initially. And why did you move that way in the first place?


I just think that the biggest thing you got to deal with was Shai is his first step, right? I talked about that a lot. And it actually worked out pretty good for us, I think. I mean, he was great, unbelievable 19, 9 for 10 first. He just is so hard to guard because he's by you. And he can score from every point by you all the way to the rim. And you know, like-- like-- like easy.

He, like, makes it look so easy. But anyway, it worked out that, for whatever reason in the rotation, OG ended up on him. The way they were subbing ended up kind of going conversely to with what we were doing. And I like that for a stretch too because I mean, again, OG was really battling. We picked up some fouls on him. But I liked the way he was fighting him. And then when OG got his fifth, we switched back. So again, I kind of liked-- I like to give them a little different looks here and there. But, man, he's good, really good.

- When it comes to Shai-- sorry. When it comes to Shai's defense, I think his leading guards and blocks this year has been a clear buy in from him this year. Were the conversations you guys had this summer in terms of that I know that was the defensive identity of the team want to because it feels like it's really from the side.

NICK NURSE: Yeah, yeah, I mean, listen, we-- when we get these guys, we don't necessarily know who they are completely until we've got them for a while and see them in games. And we just went into the first game. And I can't remember exactly who it was, but it was two games. And their leading scorer was 27, 28 a game. And we just said, hey, man, you got to-- this guy, we got to shut him down.

And he's just like, oh, I got him, you know? [CHUCKLES] And he just won, I think-- I think it was 5 points or 4 points or something. And we did the same the next game. And he did it again. So it was like he was-- it wasn't a-- we didn't know that that's-- he could do all that really yet, certainly has the gifts and ability to do it with the speed, quickness, length, competitiveness, all that stuff you need to do that kind of stuff. But certainly, man, he can play both ends for sure.

- You mentioned that first half from Shai. What do you feel like your team was able to do to sort of slow them down in that second half?

NICK NURSE: Yeah, we just got a little more aggressive with trying to show early help up top to try to get him to get off the ball earlier. We were kind of-- we had a whole bunch-- whole bunch of different schemes depending on who was setting for them on how much-- I think we just kind of went to way more of not a trapping but more of like a two-man wall, just kind of showing him to guys.

Even if the guy was leaking way away, we still kind of stayed in place. And-- and we did-- we did a really good job, I thought, with helping up on the guy that slipped away and then being able to freeze him for just a second or getting there early enough where they had to drive back in. And by that time, our help kind of had rotated back over. So I thought we-- it just wasn't like a slip up bank shot.

And a couple of them were, but most of them, we got them a little bit out of rhythm. And we got the ball out of his hands. I think that was probably the biggest adjustment.


NICK NURSE: All right, see you.