Title: Chris Boucher answers Nick Nurse’s pregame call and lifts Raptors
Date: March 3, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Chris Boucher’s emphatic response to Nick Nurse’s public criticism, a performance that helped the Raptors beat Phoenix while shorthanded.
PHOENIX — There are two certainties when Nick Nurse is publicly critical of one of his players: There’s justification behind his words, and that the player is going to respond with the game of his life.
Prior to Tuesday’s 123-114 victory against the Phoenix Suns, Nurse was surprisingly blunt about Boucher’s recent play. The Toronto Raptors have been down both of their primary centres the past few games, which would normally seem like a tremendous opportunity for a player such as Boucher, even if he’s only a pseudo-centre by size and skill set. Instead of carving out a larger role, though, he’d sputtered, playing single-digit minutes in four of his past 10 games, making a minimal impact in a size-starved defeat in Denver and not really entering the conversation as a starting option with Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka sidelined.
In Nurse’s view, if he’s going to be effusive in his praise of Boucher when things are going well — and there have been ample opportunities for Nurse to heap praise on his highlight-reel reserve — it’s only right he be honest when Boucher needs to hear the truth.