Without a 2020 first-round playoff matchup to prepare for, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse spent Sunday night reliving the finale to 2019’s historic run.
Though the outcome was known, the ride to get there was no less thrilling. As it unfolded, Nurse engaged with fans in a Twitter Q&A run by the Raptors, delving into questions ranging from what it was like to win a championship with Canada’s team to his favourite songs to play on guitar and more.
Here are some of the most interesting topics covered during #AskNickNurse:
On winning a title with Canada’s team
Nurse: That’s been the most interesting part for me — to see the unbelievable response from around the country. You couldn’t sense it — being in the middle of it, you just couldn’t.
It’s made it feel even more huge for me. What a time.
Nurse: Hard to put into words — I’ll try one. Amazing.
Nurse: You go into camp thinking about that. We were focused on playin’ as well as we could and preparing as well as we could. I knew there’d be plenty of time to celebrate once the job was done.
I’m imagining what it’s going to feel like to win another one right now.
Nurse: I don’t know if it felt like home, but it was great to have all the fans there, for sure.
I think we would have rather won it at home — but we’ll take this, for sure.
On the 2019 performance and growth of the Raptors in 2020
Nurse: His growth through the playoffs was astounding because he struggled early and we really needed his three-point shooting.
He was the obvious candidate for the box-and-one to chase (Steph) Curry around the court. He made some huge shots in that (fourth quarter).
Nurse: Marc is one of the best big men playing the game in the world — he’s a great defensive captain, protecting the paint, talking, communicating and he’s a great passer.
And Sergio Scariolo (assistant coach for the Raptors) isn’t bad either.
Nurse: Well, that 11-point flurry to start was incredible.
But I kind of sensed that he was ready to go for it in the locker room before the game. He was calm, but super-confident. I didn’t expect 11, but I did expect him to come out firing.
On his musical side
Nurse: My go-to song is “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash. I’m currently learning “Riders on the Storm” by the Doors on the piano and that opening is pretty tricky.
Malcolm Miller stops by my office every so often and plays the piano — he’s pretty good.
Nurse: Great question. So I have one of each — a very old grand piano in one room and I have a Roland FP-50 here in my living room. Big Roland fan.
Nurse: My go-to on the keys is “Purple Rain,” for sure. On the guitar, it’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” and then “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
Nurse: It comes down to trying to disrupt their rhythm. IQ guys are good at playing rhythm-type ball when you take something away, they usually find something else quickly.
You have to force them to make changes quickly. Disrupting rhythm on our defensive end is key.
Nurse: Sure. Coaching professionally in England — 15 or 16 games in and we were 8-8 and I was like ‘I don’t know if I’m that good at this.’
I went home and wrote down four other things that I thought I could do and they all looked like (expletive) to me, so I thought I’d better figure out how to coach.
Nurse: I would probably be a teacher of some sort — maybe a professor at a university.
Maybe that’s what I’ll do when I’m done coaching — teach from my porch in Iowa.
Nurse: Nope. None at all. I like to say I don’t vibrate on that frequency.