Title: Raptors ‘pitch our ace’ for two elite quarters in victory over Grizzlies
Date: August 9, 2020
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about the Raptors turning in two elite quarters against the Grizzlies, enough to secure a win even with Memphis in desperation mode.
It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in August, so it felt right when Toronto Raptors head coach turned to advice from the baseball world ahead of his team’s latest matinee.
Faced with their lone back-to-back scenario in the bubble, Nurse was asked whether he might scale back some of his key players’ minutes in the first leg. The question might have come from a place of hope as much as curiosity — the Memphis Grizzlies desperately needed a victory to correct a shaky start in the relaunch and secure a place in a Western Conference play-in series, while the Raptors had four tries to win one game and secure the No. 2 seed in the East. Nurse, as has been his edict over two excellent seasons at the helm, opted to focus on the first game and worry about back-to-back contingencies later. In other words, there would be no gifting the would-be Naismith Cup to the Grizzlies.
“My dad used to tell me when we were playing a doubleheader in baseball, ‘We’re going to pitch our ace and pray for rain in the second game,” Nurse said. “So, we’re going to concentrate on this one then we’ll figure out the second one later.”