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Nurse facing slim margin for error, pressure of carrying Raptors further

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01.05.2019

TORONTO — Made shots are like sunlight — an all-purpose disinfectant that makes life that much better.

So as the Toronto Raptors gathered for practice ahead of Game 3 on Thursday night in Philadelphia they — and, more specifically, head coach Nick Nurse — were faced with a challenge: How to identify what parts of their game are in need of some heavy-duty antibiotics and which just need some exposure to the hoops version of UV rays.

This is Nurse’s job, as it is for any head coach.

But perhaps one of the downsides — and there aren’t many — with taking over a successful program and being gifted with an elite, veteran roster in your first year as an NBA head coach is that when things drift a little sideways the scrutiny falls on you.

Through six playoff wins the credit has been directed mostly toward the bulldozer that is Kawhi Leonard’s post-season assault, the stunning emergence of Pascal Siakam, with various other contributors coming in and out of the frame.

Through two losses? It was Nurse who had to answer for why Leonard played just 33 minutes in Toronto’s Game 1 loss to Orlando more than Leonard did for blowing the coverage that allowed for DJ Augustine’s game winner.

And even though Danny Green missed two perfect looks from three that could have tied the game at the end of Game 2, or the club as a whole shot just 9-of-29 on shots defined as ‘wide-open’ per NBA.com, it is Nurse who has the explaining to do.

Why did he think it worthwhile to find 90 seconds for Jodie Meeks at........

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