LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Nick Nurse went small and the Toronto Raptors came up big.
The Raptors second-year coach used a small lineup that included Pascal Siakam at center to help finish off the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and take a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Fred VanVleet had 24 points and 10 assists, Norman Powell had a big game off the bench with 24 points and the defending NBA champion Raptors defeated the Brooklyn Nets 104-99 in a game they trailed for more than three quarters.
Kyle Lowry had 21 points, nine rebounds and forced a big turnover in the closing seconds that led to a game-sealing dunk for Powell.
“It’s all feel,” Nurse said of the decision to play Siakam alongside VanVleet, Lowry, Powell and OG Anunoby. “I have tried to get my five guys who have played the best on the floor late.”
Nurse spent the better part of the second half looking for the right mix to counteract the Nets' decision to switch everything on defense. He finally found the right five in the fourth quarter.
“We're going to see that in the playoffs, we're going to see teams switching and loading up,” VanVleet said.
“The adjustments we made put us in a position to be in the game (at the end) with the defending champs,” Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn.