OAKLAND – Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse took some jabs for implementing a box-and-1 defense when injuries left the Warriors with Steph Curry as the primary (maybe sole) offensive threat in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
Reporters had some fun with Sunday's decision heading into Wednesday's Game 3, and Nurse took some jabs with a smile.
"I think y'all may have talked Nick Nurse off the box-and-1," Warriors forward Draymond Green said in his press conference. "He may have folded under pressure a little bit I think – I'm just playing."
Going with such an unorthodox, gimmicky defense seriously seemed a one-off, even with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson unavailable for Game 3 and Curry set to again carry a heavy offensive load.
The Raptors seemed content to let him go off to the tune of 47 points, seven assists and eight rebounds, playing him straight up -- especially early -- to avoid letting other Warriors get into the offensive flow.
Massive Curry totals aren't ideal for an opponent, but the Raptors were cool with it considering the outcome. Curry went nuts, but Toronto cruised to a 123-109 victory at Oracle Arena that was never really close, and took a two-games-to-one series lead.
"We didn't do anything early in the game other than to try and play him (straight up)," Nurse said. "He had a ton in the first half. We tried to up our presence on him with some double teams, but it doesn't really matter, right? My dad used to tell me the stats don't matter, just the final score. So we'll take the win and be thankful for that."
While Curry was a lone wolf, the Raptors were able to spread the wealth in a complete team win. They had six guys score in double figures, with every starter totaling at least 17 points.
Nobody took more than Kawhi Leonard's 17 shots. Curry, by contrast, took 31. He had to, with Thompson and Durant out, DeMarcus Cousins struggling -- he was 1 for 7 from the field -- and Green too inconsistent over 40-plus minutes.
Curry was able to cut into a double-digit deficit a few times, pushing it to four once in the first quarter and seven a few times in the second half. The Raptors always had an answer, despite Curry's attempt to carry his Warriors to an improbable finish.
"We knew they were going to make good runs and good shots," Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said. "… We had to continue to play with pace. That was the one thing about it. We played with pace in the half court and in the full court. That was a big thing for us."