Nurse proud despite 'awesome' Jokic ending Raptors winning streak

By Peter Hanson 4 December 2018 3
Nurse proud despite 'awesome' Jokic ending Raptors winning streak

Nick Nurse had no qualms with the way his Toronto Raptors team tried to defend against Nikola Jokic and conceded the centre was "awesome" as the Denver Nuggets snapped his side's winning streak. 

Jokic finished with a triple-double of 23 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds in a fine all-round display that ended the Raptors' run at eight, while stretching the Nuggets' own to six.

The Raptors (20-5), who lead the Eastern Conference and have the best record in the NBA this season, trailed 59-47 at half-time and fell just short in a 106-103 home loss on Monday.

Raptors head coach Nurse felt his side did a decent job defending against Jokic, but acknowledged they paid the price for an underwhelming first half.

"I thought Jokic was awesome, he didn't shoot the ball very well but he was sure delivering it to people like he does," he told reporters.

"And he finds those guys on cuts and late post up cuts, you've guarded the cut and he'll take them late on the other side of the basket and things like that. 

"So, first half I didn't think we defended him well through the possession, we guarded the initial action or second action and they ran three or four actions and we'd finally break down. 

"We didn't shoot the ball worth a darn in the first half and I think that zapped some of the defensive energy too. 

"But I'm pretty proud, I thought the guys played their guts out second half, we guarded them pretty well. I thought we pretty much dominated them second half but didn't quite go for us at the end."

He added on Jokic: "I was kind of hoping we'd be able to disrupt him with a little more pressure and he just seemed to handle it, I thought we worked hard on him we tried to put him under some duress with the ball. 

"But it doesn't faze him. He turns his body and uses his big shoulders, and backside to hold you off and can still see you while does that.

"I wouldn't fault our guys at all for how they tried to guard him and I thought we ate in to him. He wasn't really coming close as a scorer there late. 

"I thought we were eating into him there and one possession here or there late might have turned that the other way."

The Nuggets (16-7) are top of the Western Conference.

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Peter Hanson