TORONTO — Nick Nurse’s capability to roll with the roster punches goes again to his D League days, when he not often knew from one sport to the subsequent which gamers he’d have in uniform.
And so it wasn’t shocking that Nurse met Tuesday’s information that Serge Ibaka was sick with a shrug, and a fast adjustment.
Nurse and the Toronto Raptors have made adjusting on the fly an artwork type this season, rolling to a franchise-record and league-leading 15 consecutive victories regardless of being among the many league’s prime 5 groups in video games misplaced to accidents.
“We’ve not performed nice on a regular basis (throughout this streak), however we preserve discovering a manner and that is a heck of a attribute to have,” Nurse mentioned.
The Raptors beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 137-126 on Monday for his or her 15th consecutive win. That topped the Calgary Stampeders, who received 14 straight in 2016, for the longest single-season win streak from a significant Canadian-based skilled crew (NBA, NHL, MLB, CFL and MLS).
The Raptors are 40-14, a franchise document for 54 video games regardless of the mounting accidents and dropping celebrity Kawhi Leonard and starter Danny Inexperienced to free company in the summertime, and go for No. 16 after they play the Nets (24-28) on Wednesday in Brooklyn.
However do not point out “streak” to the gamers, who’ve mentioned it has been robust to keep away from with all of the social media buzz.
“Daily man,” Kyle Lowry mentioned after a current win. “Daily, sport by sport, hour by hour, minute by minute. We do not take into consideration no streaks, we simply take into consideration the subsequent sport.”
Among the many gamers who’ve missed chunks of this streak: Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, Marc Gasol and Patrick McCaw. Powell (damaged finger) and Gasol (hamstring pressure) aren’t anticipated to return till after this weekend’s all-star break at the least.
Ibaka’s absence Monday to sickness was surprising. However the Raptors have mastered the next-man-up sport, and so within the absence of its two centres — Ibaka and Gasol — the Raptors began Rondae Hollis-Jefferson who gave up six inches to the Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Cities.
“We did not have a complete lot of different choices,” Nurse mentioned on the last-minute adjustment.
Whereas the Raptors have been efficient at making in-game changes, Nurse chalks up a lot of the win streak to hustle.
“I feel these guys have confirmed sufficient that they’ll win,” he mentioned. “We have have plenty of accidents this 12 months, however they only preserve stepping up and enjoying and we have simply gotten used to it. You at the least need to exit and provides an ideal effort, give your self an opportunity to win, and do not allow them to play more durable than you. In the event you assume you are under-talented or undersized or no matter, then you definately’ve bought to take your vitality and toughness up a notch and assume we have executed that almost all nights.”
There’s an aura of confidence across the gamers that’s partly a holdover from final season’s historic post-season run.
“I feel it is within the gamers proper?” Nurse mentioned. “They arrive out they usually take it to you, from Kyle to Pascal (Siakam) and Fred, all the best way to Rondae, OG (Anunoby), Pat, Terence (Davis). A lot of guys come on the market and attempt to execute the offence one of the best they’ll and take what’s there. They discover a mismatch they usually go to it, again and again. Attempt to guard folks. They may assume any individual is just too quick, too gradual, however they exit and provides the hassle.”
Raptors followers have been in an uproar when Davis was left off the roster for the this weekend’s Rising Stars sport as a part of the annual NBA All-Star festivities.
The undrafted rookie has scored in double figures in 4 of the Raptors’ final 5 video games, together with a career-high 31-point efficiency towards Chicago.
Davis was trending on Twitter on Tuesday due to outraged Raptors followers after the league introduced Colin Sexton had been named an harm substitute for Tyler Herro on the U.S. Rising Stars crew.
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Feb. 11, 2020.
Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press