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NBA FINALS: WARRIORS VS. RAPTORS

June 9, 2019

Nick Nurse

Toronto, Ontario - Practice Day

Q. All year you've talked about your team's even-keeledness and the way they keep level heads. Given the stage, is that even more a trait you need to see from them in the next 24 hours?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, there's still a lot of work to do. We got to keep some focus and improve on some things and make some adjustments and do the work. I think there's a lot of basketball to be played yet. Again, we try to ignore what the score in the series is and be more concerned with making it a one-game series, if we can.

Q. Do you personally change your next 24 hours in how you prepare for a game against a team that's obviously as desperate as the Warriors are?
NICK NURSE: I don't think so. I got a lot of work to do yet. I still keep reviewing and we put our ideas together of what they may change personnel-wise or coverage-wise or what they may run against some things they see that they have added here in the last game or game or two. Just keep mulling it over until you get to decision time before the game tomorrow.

Q. Further to that, have you processed at all the idea that you're a win away from winning a NBA championship?
NICK NURSE: No. I just know we got to go win another game. I've tried to do that all through the playoffs, just look at the next game and go win it. I imagine everything will take care of itself from there.

Q. Do you find that the players have kind of embraced that too? There doesn't seem to be a lot of celebration after these wins.
NICK NURSE: They have been good. I think our collective IQ, our experience and our demeanor has been good after these games. We'll see tomorrow. But so far they have gone in after games and talked about continuing to work and improve. There's still a lot of room for improvement, so we get another chance to do that tomorrow.

Q. What does Alex McKechnie do that's so impressive to you? And is it something that you've never seen before from a sports science and training staff?
NICK NURSE: It's certainly something I've never seen before. I've never coached at this level where we have had this type of expertise. From my standpoint, I'm not sure half the time I know what the hell he's doing. I just know that I trust him a hundred percent. He's got tremendous experience. He's innovative. When he tells me guys are ready to go, I play them. When he tells me guys aren't ready to go, I don't play them. If he tells me guys need to play 10-minute stretches, I do my best. I don't always do it, but I do my best to keep it at 10 and under. Whatever it is, that's the level of trust that I think I'm lucky to have. It's not fun trying to guess who can play, who can't play or whatever. We just leave that up to him and his staff.

Q. From where you guys were in the last round almost down 3-0, in which case maybe we're not here right now, to winning seven of eight against two of the best teams in basketball now, it is obviously pretty incredible run. Is there anything you could have, when you got through that Game 3 where you could have said, okay, now we're about to take off? Was there any signs that your best basketball or such good basketball was coming?
NICK NURSE: I don't know specifically from that game. I felt that one of the times I felt really good in this playoff run was Game 1 at Milwaukee, which we lost. We just hit that dramatic buzzer beater to advance. We got on the plane the next day and had to play less than 48 hours after that. I thought we came out and played unbelievably tough. The ball didn't bounce our way that night. We didn't get any breaks. But I thought we outplayed them for the course of the game. And then when we went down two to them, our guys were like, We're okay; let's just get back home and get one and we'll get this thing turned around.

So that's probably a moment of where I thought the team had something inside them to keep on going. But again, I think they have put down a foundation of defense. I think if your team puts down a foundation of defense that they're going to try to bring each night, you put yourself in position to win most nights.

Q. Two things: One, even though as you try to stay locked in this cocoon of going through your film and going through all those things you want to do for tomorrow night, there's stories about, "let's go Raptors" chants breaking out on planes landing in Toronto, there's been "let's go Raptors" chants at the Canadian Open. When you hear those things, what does that mean for what you guys have already done? And secondly a lot got made the other night that when your guys walked off the floor at Oracle, it was like stone-faced going into the locker room. Does this team still impress you with the amount of focus that it has?
NICK NURSE: So the first one, I always, again, learn this stuff when I come to press conferences. I don't hear much about any of that stuff. The only thing that I saw, when I got to my condo building last night, they had a thing in the elevator, a big picture. They had a watch party in our condo building and had a little thing in the elevator, so I wouldn't miss that.

But, yeah, I think the focus part has been impressive, necessary. I think they know we can't get some place before it gets here. You got to put in the work to do it.

Q. From a media perspective, Kawhi is a very low-key, down-beat type of guy. From a coaching perspective what has been the key for you to developing the relationship with him this year that is critical to this franchise?
NICK NURSE: He's a real professional. I've stated this before: When I speak in the meetings and when I speak in a film session or when I speak in a huddle, he's always looking at me and a lot of times he's nodding his head. I've always said for a rookie head coach, that makes you feel okay, right, when a guy like him is actually looking and sometimes agreeing with what you're saying.

As far as developing a relationship, he's about business. He puts in a workday that's incredible from all facets of getting himself ready to play. I'm pretty much a non-BS guy. We talk basketball, talk how he feels health-wise and keep it pretty simple.

Q. I know you've seen or heard about the stone-faced looks that your guys had, every single one of them, and I know you talk about basketball IQ. Does Kawhi set a tone like that or do you set a tone like that? Every single guy was not smiling.
NICK NURSE: Kawhi certainly sets that tone, but so does Kyle, so does Marc, so does Danny -- those four guys. And then I think the younger guys take the cue from them. I think they like playing together. I think they know there's work to be done. I just think they just know there's not a whole lot of energy to spend on celebrating before time. Let's hope we understand that. We're going to see tomorrow night. We have handled it so far, and let's see if we can handle it again.

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