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June 6, 2019

Nick Nurse

Oakland, California - Practice Day

Q. As the buzzer went last night, you kept sitting with your head to the floor for a few seconds. I understand it would have been your mom's 95th birthday on Tuesday. Is that who you were thinking about in that moment. And what would all of this have meant to her?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I was, and she obviously was -- passed away during the season in our West Coast road trip. She didn't live long enough to see me get the head coaching job, and it was a huge, huge part of -- I mean, like any mom, right, she went to every game I played when I was younger and when I played in college. My senior year my dad retired early so they could go to every single game, home and away. Put a lot of miles on the car and all that kind of stuff. But they were big fans.

Obviously it was a big, tough win yesterday. And she's on my mind every day, but she was a little more after her birthday the day before.

Q. Kawhi said that he wasn't aware that Klay wasn't going to play until right before tip-off. I was curious what you guys were able to exploit on the offensive end without him on the floor.
NICK NURSE: Well, we didn't know. We had him on the board as a starter when we left the locker room. Because he was active, right? We just -- it wasn't like we were trying to exploit anything, we're just trying to play with some pace and some space and hit the open man a little better.

You don't -- like they are, you learn some things about how you need to play against these teams each and every game, and then it's a matter of can you do it, and then it really becomes a matter of can you make the shots at the end of it.

I think we did a really good job of that last night. We moved the ball a lot better. We made more shots than we did in Game 2, and that was a big part of the offensive success.

Q. I think all six scorers shot more than 50 percent from the field. How much do you think that Klay being out contributed to that, or was that just --
NICK NURSE: He's a great defender. I think he's one of the best, right up there at the top of the best wing defenders in the league. I mean, he's probably underrated in that department. He really puts in some awesome defensive performances for them, especially when they really need them. So probably helped us.

Q. How did you take the reaction to your box-and-one defense where it seems like a lot of people were kind of mocking it, even though it was successful? It seemed to just rolled off your back. How did you react to all the mocking it seemed?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I mean, listen, I don't really care. I don't really give a crap, is my line. Like, I mean, if things work, I don't care if I go out there and four guys stand on their head and we get a stop, right? And it was very effective. The only basket they got against it was a three-pointer by Iguodala with eight seconds to go or something like that.

Q. How challenging was the psychological approach to the game last night in a situation where your opponents is missing major pieces, sometimes there's a bit of over confidence creeping in? Instead you were really confident from the get-go and you kind of set the tone in the first quarter?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I think that's the way you got to be. There's a lot of scenarios now, maybe more than in the past, I mean, we had a lot of games where we were missing our key guys this year. I think Kawhi missed 20-some, Kyle missed 20-some. We played against a lot of teams where guys were in and out. It's happening, so you just -- I don't know, you can't really let it affect you. You got to go play the game no matter who is out there. And at this time of year, everybody's going to play really hard and everybody's got good players, so I'm glad that we didn't let it affect us. It's critical, games are critical right now.

Q. You'll be pleased to know that Steph said there was nothing janky about your defensive strategy on him last night. With Klay being out, how much extra attention were you guys able to spend on Steph and how do you think your guys did in executing that plan? Obviously he had many points.
NICK NURSE: He had 47 points. I don't know if we did, had enough attention on him or we had anything going on him, to be honest with you. But I was happy with -- more with we just wanted to play more solid defense, and that for us means getting it set up, getting some pressure on the ball, contesting shots of all players, right? You know, that, to me, I thought our shot contests were great all the way across the board. That was a big key.

Q. Kawhi was taking between 21 and 23 shots a game in the last two rounds. He's down to 17 now. Is that the plan? Is that intentional, or is that just circumstantial?
NICK NURSE: Well, the -- there's never a plan like X amount of shots, a specific plan, right, you guys have heard me say I would like Kyle to take 10 threes every night. But the plan is is that you attack them. When you draw multiple defenders, do your best to get off it, because you've done your job if you're drawing multiple, two guys or three guys, you've really done your job, and hit the open man and play from there.

He's probably getting a lot more double teams this series than he has in the past, so that's going to limit his shots. But I also think, especially last night, he did a better job of getting off it a little earlier and it helped us.

Q. Along the same lines, Kawhi seemed to have taken more spot-up shots in that game yesterday than perhaps in recent times. Is it a matter of him reacting to what he sees? Is it a general instruction, an observation made to him? He's capable of making them, obviously.
NICK NURSE: Yeah, he has taken the opportunities that are there, and he got some last night, especially in transition. He's a really, really good shooter. When he vaults up from three with space, you're pretty surprised when it doesn't go in because he's got great mechanics, he's usually got it on line. When he doesn't make them, he sometimes gets a little flat. But usually when he vaults up from three with good room, some space between him, you feel pretty good about that, and he got some of those last night.

Q. Last night Kyle said that the Raptors are really benefiting from the championship experience that Leonard and Green have added to the team and from yours at a lower level. So despite all the winning that this franchise has done, does the game last night -- is that something they needed to kind of fuel the belief that they can win at the ultimate level?
NICK NURSE: Maybe, but not really trying to think about that. Again, like to me this is a one-game series tomorrow. We're just trying to take them like each game's critical. We need to put a huge effort in because I think if we put a huge effort in and we're the hardest playing team, then we're going to deserve to win. And that's all we're focused on.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

NICK NURSE: Thank you.

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