Norm Powell is a key that unlocks a lot for the Raptors and he is acutely conscious of it.
He additionally acutely assured in his skills and his preparation, all the time keen to tackle no matter activity is requested of him, all the time keen to just accept the implications.
He does “understand the grind,” as his life’s motto states, as a result of the grind units him up for the glory.
It’s too easy to say Powell will be the key to no matter transpires between the Raptors and the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of their second-round sequence Friday evening, however perhaps not. He supplies a lot.
“I keep saying that all these guys are critical players to our success and to us being the best version of ourselves, and we need some scoring punch from Norm,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse stated Thursday. “He’s kind of our off-the-bench guy to change the rhythm on offence or get us some transition or … he’s just a different type of player and scorer than everybody else.”
One factor is indeniable: Powell will settle for his project with professionalism as a result of that’s what he’s all the time carried out. Need him to take a last-possession shot on the finish of time beyond regulation because the Raptors did on Wednesday? Bring it on.
“I think I just have a lot of confidence in myself,” Powell stated. “It’s not the first time Coach has drawn up a play for me to take the last shot this year. We talk about it and we work on it. So I’m really confident in my ability in whatever shot I get, and whatever shot I take I feel like it’s going in.”
If the Raptors want him to be in a fast, small defensive alignment, just like the one which labored so nicely in the fourth quarter and two overtimes of Game 6, he is aware of why he’s there.
“I think the switching eats a lot of their clock in them trying to get the matchups and seeing who they want to go at and our switching is being disruptive and not giving them easy looks,” he stated.
That small lineup with Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, Powell, OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam might find yourself being the key for Toronto in Friday’s Game 7.
It’s a comparatively new twist the Celtics will must adapt to and would possibly unlock a Raptors offence that slows down at instances.
“We were doing it more for some better chances defensively, I think, and it was good there, too,” Nurse stated. ”But I favored it on the offensive finish. And there have been nonetheless some issues on defence, we made some errors however you variety of count on that — guys are doing issues they’re not used to doing. Like, OG (turned) a rim protector each possession for about 5 possession in a row, and he messed a couple up, and he’d do a couple good ones.
“But they competed, and they played, and I thought at the offensive end it really spread the ball around. Norm was making shots, OG popped, made a shot, OG drived-and-kicked one out … There was a lot more, I think, happening at the offensive end that made us more difficult to guard.”
Of course, the Celtics are going to strive one thing to counter the effectiveness of that Raptors unit. They didn’t get so far by merely doing what they do and never adjusting.
“I said before the game yesterday … when both teams bring it at a level where you know one can’t necessarily impose their will on another, that’s where the games become special and … I wish I wouldn’t have said it because it showed itself (to be) true,” Boston coach Brad Stevens stated of Game 6. “But that was a special basketball game. There are things that you take away from it, just like every other game, and there are things that we need to improve, things we need to do better.”
Stevens will be doing exactly the identical as Nurse in the slow-moving hours between Games 6 and seven. The coaches will strategize and attempt to learn one another’s minds and put on themselves ragged considering and tinkering and questioning.
“I’m in the process now of processing everything,” Nurse stated Thursday afternoon. “I’m trying to lay out everything that we’ve done, and what they possibly can counter with, what we can possibly change and counter with, and that’s part of a playoff series.”
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