A weekend in Chicago a just reward for Raptors coach Nick Nurse and his staff

A weekend in Chicago a just reward for Raptors coach Nick Nurse and his staff

Miss me?

Had a breakfast thing yesterday morning there was no time to get any post-Cleveland stuff done (plus I hadn’t watched the game very closely) so something had to fall by the wayside.

Paid closer attention last night (had to write this after writing this in the afternoon) so there are some quick thoughts.

They’re not deep but they’re mine and I have this crazy sense of responsibility to do this sort of thing as regularly as I can so you gotta live through them.

THREE POINTERS

Chicago-bound

Besides me, of course (I don’t love all-star but it’s hard not to go this year so I am), Nick Nurse and his staff get to go and handle the Giannis team in the Sunday night game.

We’ll have much more on him and his people as we get closer to the all-star weekend and get to talk to him later on but it really is an accomplishment that should bring him some well-deserved acclaim.

You know that my baseline feeling is that coaches get too much credit when things go well and too much blame when they go poorly but there is absolutely a gift and a skill to do it well and Nick seems to have that.

This year, he’s managed a roster that’s been decimated by injuries to its top seven players, showed continued creativity in each game to figure out what would work and somehow imparted strategic shifts to players despite rarely practicing.

None of that is easy and I don’t think, all things considered, anyone would be crushed if the Raptors were five or six games worse in the standings than they are today.

So it’s nice that he and his staff are headed to Chicago, it’s a career achievement that no one can take away from them and it will somehow elevate Nick’s profile, which is a worthy thing, I think.

Plus, it’ll give me an extra story or two to do that weekend.

Playing with power

We won’t find out until tomorrow afternoon what’s up with the finger Norm Powell screwed up during the game – he kept playing and Nick said it might be a “little dislocation” afterwards – but it can’t take away from what he’s been doing the last little while.

He had two powerful dunks – one on Andre Drummond off a move on the wing, another when he was probably fouled going right at the front of the rim in the fourth quarter – and almost made a couple of nice, subtle moves away from the ball to get himself open.

There was a time not too long ago that I thought Norm might be the guy they most explored moving in an effort to upgrade at the deadline because of his contract and his inconsistencies but, man, he’s become a valuable piece, I don’t see who they’d find on the market who’s going better than he is and it’s time to roll the dice with him the rest of the way.

Besides, these are nice highlights.

Get more basketball insight in your inbox

Get Doug Smith’s weekly email newsletter on all things Raptors and beyond and satisfy your craving.

Sign Up Now

Small? So what?

The Raptors were going against a team that rebounds pretty well and has a big man in Andre Drummond who is vastly over-rated in my opinion but who can get on the glass and all they’ve got is Serge Ibaka and a skinny Chris Boucher.

So what to do they do?

Get into the fourth quarter and play basically four guards – Lowry, McCaw, Davis, Powell – and one big, take final control of the game and win going away.

Not sure we’ve ever seen that lineup and I’m not sure how sustainable it might be but, getting back to a point I made up top of this thing, figuring out what works every night is one of this team’s very best traits.

All right, that’s gotta be it for now, much other work awaits and, really, it was an easy win against and over-matched opponent and even finding three talking points was difficult.

If you need or want to get in on the fun of tomorrow’s mailbag, it’s still doable. Just click on askdoug@thestar.ca and away, I should have the answers up here about this time tomorrow.

And don’t forget it’s an early game tomorrow, a 3 p.m. start to get you set for the big football game.

Speaking of the big football game

Kansas City 32, San Francisco 27.

TORONTO STAR

You must be logged in to post a comment Login