Raptors coach Nick Nurse was quick to praise the 76ers after Game 1 of their playoff series. He also provided injury updates on Scottie Barnes and Thaddeus Young, with X-rays coming back negative for both players. Nurse also discussed the key to bouncing back in Game 2, and how to counter Joel Embiid.
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- --make a better identity at any point in time [INAUDIBLE]
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I wouldn't say at any point. I thought we had a pretty good couple runs there in the second half, Doug, where we were doing some things I thought-- you know, I think we cut it to 11 and had the ball. And we had a bunch of possessions in a row, where we were doing the right things. And, you know, obviously, scoring at the other end.
But you're right. There is-- there is a-- listen, I think-- not so much our guys, I just think they were really great. You know, I think they were-- they were fast and physical, and making shots and zooming the ball, and not turning it over and crashing the glass. And they-- they were really great. So I give them a lot of credit.
- Chasing Maxey around, it's hard for anybody to do, but regularly, not a sore knee, with quote a lot of help. What do you think allows Maxey to get off like that?
NICK NURSE: Yeah I mean, listen, they-- they got him going early with a couple of good little sets that got him downhill. He got some really naked looks and I think we did a-- we did a lot of some of that stuff in the first half was just on us. We just want, you know, maybe-- to move to your first question-- we just weren't quite connected defensively, and making the right reads on some of that stuff.
There was just too many, you know, just wide-- wide open looks and we're gonna be in and moving around a lot. We're usually springing back out there to do a shooter. And there was, you know, a lot of those uncontested. And he just-- he just kept finding everything. He found transition, he found kick out 3's, he found little slip out pick and roll plays going-- heading downhill pretty fast.
And we just didn't catch up to him very good tonight.
- And do you have an update on Scottie?
NICK NURSE: Well, yeah, Scottie hurt his ankle. They did X-ray it. The X-rays are negative. There-- there'll be some further imaging tomorrow.
The same with Thad. Thad hurt us thumb. X-rays were also negative, but also further imaging tomorrow.
- Nick, would you say a big turn up for you guys?
NICK NURSE: Yeah.
- A lot of turnover--
NICK NURSE: Yes, for sure.
- What do you have to do to [INAUDIBLE]?
NICK NURSE: Well, we just got to be better, Dave. Like, we just-- we just, you know, just again, for us-- you know, I think the first half they had zero. And I told the team at halftime, I don't remember a half in nine years that I've been here, where we haven't turned the team over at all.
But we're gonna get fact-checked on that later. Sure hadn't felt like it. I hadn't felt like it. But-- but just goes to, not enough ball pressure, Dave, not enough active hands. Probably not enough physicality.
You know, the things that you need to do to, you know, we're-- we're usually are good at surprising you when you make a turn move or whatever, when somebody else is coming in behind. And-- and I thought-- you know, listen, I thought we got our hands on some tonight. We really got-- well, I thought-- I thought some of those were good deals going the other way and it didn't turn out that way.
So hopefully we'll get some of those clean ones to go our way.
- What was [INAUDIBLE] offensive rebounding?
NICK NURSE: Yep.
- What kind of allowed things to go around the other way?
NICK NURSE: Again, I think their energy was tremendous. They had their guys ready to go. Their home crowd-- their bench guys all came in with tremendous energy.
I just thought once we contested the shot, we were trying to take a quick breath of fresh air and we shouldn't be doing that. Should've grabbed the ball, then took our breath of fresh air. They were just beating us to them and I-- I remember a couple of them clearly where I just saw guys kind of stand up straight legged thinking, OK, I just-- we just did a good job of contesting the shot. And then it bounced out.
And I didn't think our secondary rebounders were-- were good enough, meaning we, you know, we block out and the ball would bounce up and that means somebody else has to come kind of flying in from behind and take it 'cause you're-- you're in physical block out with the guy. So that was one thing I thought I saw too.
But again, they just-- they just played, you know, with great intensity and speed and physicality that we didn't match or relate to.
- We've got a lot of questions, obviously Dave, about how Scottie would react to his first--
NICK NURSE: Yes?
- Game playoff basketball. Before he got hurt, what were your impressions of--
NICK NURSE: No, I thought he was pretty good. You know, I thought he was playing good, Josh. I thought he looked confident out there, was making good plays. I would have liked him to get a few more attempts at the rim or just shot attempts in general, right?
Thought he was-- jeez, he put up, what, 15? He was getting to the free throw line, I thought he was cutting well. He made some nice passes. I thought he looked like he belonged out there, for a young rookie in his first playoff game on the road against a really good team. And I thought he looked like he belonged out there.
- The other guys, though, Precious and Chris--
NICK NURSE: Yeah?
- --didn't have an immediate impact in the first half when they-- they didn't really jive with the game. They didn't [INAUDIBLE].
NICK NURSE: No, they didn't. And again, that's-- that's, you know, I would say you could kind of look at that almost blanketly there. All their bench guys came in and contributed with speed, energy, shot making. That's so we understood, and as you know my thoughts on that. Those guys ride together, right?
They'll be better. We know that.
- Nick, what were your impressions of Harden tonight just as a point guard? I mean, everything is expected of him. He seemed to have--
NICK NURSE: He was great. No, he was great. I thought he controlled the game. I thought when he needed to go in there and knock people over and lay it in, he did. When he needed to step back and make a 3, he did. He had a really efficient night. And I thought he really controlled the offense too.
He got the ball where he wanted it to go. He'd call a set. They'd get it to where they wanted it. And I thought he ran the show really well tonight.
- What's the key to responding, the rematch coming right up?
NICK NURSE: Well, we gotta learn some lessons from today, right? I think, not only tactically, but also just mentally and-- and physically, right? And we got to play a lot better. A lot better. A lot tougher.
Bring it to them a little bit more. You know, we-- we know that we need all our guys to contribute, right? Right, I would say we had, you know, not enough of them. Hitting at it-- you know, like I would say, it's-- it's-- you don't have to play a great game, but we need you close to average, right?
We-- we had a bunch of guys that can come up to average or even-- or even over, right? And they got to do a collective. We've got to band together and do it collectively and be a little bit more of the hard playing team and a bit more of the scrambling type team. And get to more loose balls and more rebounds, et cetera.
- Are you surprised that it didn't come out that way? Pressure was on them. You guys are the younger guys.
NICK NURSE: Well, I'm-- Dave, I'm not too surprised by anything these days. I think that-- I'm not surprised they were highly motivated and ready to go. I think there's a lot of expectations on them. I think they were going to try to bully us right off the floor and deliver a blow to see if we'll go away.
Now we're gonna find out if we will or not.
- Yes, Maria?
- Go ahead, Josh, for virtual questions.
- Thank you. First, we'll go to Oren Weisfeld. Go ahead, Oren.
OREN WEISFELD: Hi, Nick. What did you make about the way that they attacked the offensive glass? They're a team that didn't do that a lot in the regular season, but they sent multiple bodies there. Did you guys expect that?
And then on the other side of the floor, how did they take away your guys' offensive rebounding?
NICK NURSE: Well, I would imagine that was probably number one on their list of emphasis here this week, going into the game. We've had a lot of success on the glass with them at both ends. You know, and rebounding is a lot about just straight desire, hustle, and, you know, speed and physicality.
And-- and they had all of those just a notch ahead of us tonight. I thought they did a good job of blocking us out. Maybe we didn't go quite as hard as we normally do, so we need to improve that. But we've got to do a better job, again, of getting into bodies. And again, it's all five of us trying to rebound and help each other out there.
OREN WEISFELD: Thanks.
- Michael Grange. Go ahead, Mike.
MICHAEL GRANGE: Hey, Nick. When you look at Embiid and he-- you know, I think he put Khem on the floor. He put Scottie on the floor. He kind of got into it a couple of other guys. When he's playing that big and ornery, I guess, what's your counter to that? Like, how do you guys--
NICK NURSE: Well, a counter-- a counter is we gotta-- we gotta believe that if we're legal defensively, that they're gonna call those. Right? Like, we had a couple of times where we beat him to the spot and he bowled us right over and they just let him lay it in.
I mean, if-- I don't care if you're 5 foot 11 and 160 pounds. If you beat him to the spot, and he runs you over, it's a foul.
MICHAEL GRANGE: Right.
NICK NURSE: Thought he three or four elbows to the face. He got called for one. Right? We're gonna stand in there, but we just need-- if we're legal defensively, then we've got to have them called or we don't have a chance. Period. You don't-- nobody can guard that guy if you're gonna let him run-- they're just going to let him run you over time and time again.
But we're gonna stand in there, and we'll see if we don't get a few more elbow to the face calls and a few more beating them to the spot calls.
- Thanks Nick.
NICK NURSE: Thank you.
- Next, we'll go to Ryan McNeill. Go ahead, Ryan.
RYAN MCNEILL: Hey Coach. Stephen Curry can kind of tilt the floor with how-- what he does on that basketball court when you have an MVP candidate in Joel Embiid, you have former MVP in James Harden, then you have Maxey, who was four of five from the field in the first quarter, he got 10 points really quick, he had 36 points over three quarters. When you have all three of those players tilting the floor, warping the floor, how much of a nightmare can that be to scheme for, moving forward in this series?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, listen, tonight it was tough. Again, those guys were all cooking on all cylinders, made every play, right? We certainly are gonna need to guard Harden and Maxey better than we did tonight.
A little bit better challenges, hanging a little bit better on the drives. You know, and take a look at that. But again, I think we had a lot of schemes going for Embiid and there's gonna be some other guys out there making plays. And they're not considered a really good team. They got-- NBA team, they got a lot of guys out there that can shoot and make plays.
And they're getting the opportunity to do that tonight. And they really had a lot of momentum, a lot of confidence. And they got it going.