Nurse ready to get the regular season back underway after a dud in scrimmage finale
Onto Los Angeles.
Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse put it perfectly after Tuesday's 117-106 scrimmage loss to the Phoenix Suns:
"I'm glad there [aren't] any more of these," Nurse said.
The Raptors wrapped up their three scrimmage games with a bit of a dud. They committed 28 turnovers, a total they've only eclipsed twice in franchise history in regular season games.
"Well, we certainly didn't do anything very well," Nurse said. "It's a combination of us not being super engaged or energetic and them playing very well. Give them a lot of credit I thought they had us back on our heels all night. We turned it over – geez, we must have had eight turnovers in the backcourt, which is just strange; you have one or two of those every two months, you know what I mean, normally. So just, not very engaged and that’s it."
There were a few bright spots from the game, according to Nurse. Norman Powell broke out of his 7-for-21 shooting funk with a 6-for-11 day, including 2-for-3 from behind the arc.
"I thought he played very well in certain areas," Nurse said. "He scored the ball, he shot it a little better still. [He] still had some drives I would like to see him finish."
Marc Gasol played nearly 20 minutes and looked very fluid on the court. He went 2-for-5 from the field and 1-for-4 from behind the arc, but his passing and defensive presence looked regular-season ready.
Lastly, Nurse said he was impressed with Paul Watson Jr. The 25-year-old Watson played in just three games with the Raptors this year and was hardly known to Nurse when he joined the team in Florida. He scored seven points off the bench in just over 10 minutes.
"He was good, man. I just liked his energy, he was attacking, I thought he played with good confidence," Nurse said. "I liked him a lot tonight. I think he’s got some size, got some speed, he looks like he’s certainly not afraid out there. He looked good, a good bright spot, and a good chance to see him."
The team certainly won't dwell on a scrimmage loss to the Suns as they get ready to restart their regular season against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday. They'll enter play 46-18, 6.5 games back of the Milwaukee Bucks, and three games up on the Boston Celtics for the second spot in the Eastern Conference.
Nurse said the Raptors still have a little bit to go in terms of conditioning before they'll be back to where they want to be and it sounds like the first few seeding games might still be used to work guys back into a rhythm.
"I think there’s still a process to go here and we’ll use these games now to get guys in condition in the safest way we can," Nurse said.
The Raptors will open their first seeding game at 8:30 p.m. Saturday on Sportsnet One.