Then, at the end of the first, Norman Powell, prominently featured on the back milk cartons throughout the season past year, hit a backdoor layup to give the Toronto Raptors the lead.
He adds that apart from success in the wins column, success should be measured by building a winning culture shaped, in part, by the mentality ingrained in young talent like Larry Nance Jr., Sam Dekker and the four rookies now on the roster. Nance is getting paid.
While technicals are often dealt out after players get into physical altercations or if they begin yelling obscenities at other players, fans or refs, Love was granted one for doing nothing else but yelling "come on!" "I think I remember that Miami a couple of years ago (after James left) came out of the gates kind of like gangbusters, moving the ball and playing faster and doing all this stuff they wanted to do".
Nance averaged 8.9 points and seven rebounds in 24 games for the Cavaliers last season.
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"It's really good walking home after practice", he said of his status as the new - and relatively unknown - head coach who is now 1-0 in his National Basketball Association career. Kevin Love, for one, thinks Cleveland are going to surprise a lot of people. He's fully committed to his process, which is what you want to see out of a first-year head coach.
Nurse played to Toronto's strength, deploying 10 players throughout the game in a true display of the team's superior depth. However, in Wednesday's season-opening loss to the Raptors, referee Kane Fitzgerald hit the former UCLA stand-out with his first "T" of the season. "I've learned a lot of leadership tendencies and qualities in watching him", he adds, including being "vocal and leading by example and being punctual".
"Those guys look like they have been part of this team for a while", he said.
Toronto was the East's top seed and finished four games ahead of the Celtics past year, and many have warned that the Bostonians might not be quite the lock to make it to The Finals if Leonard is healthier and more engaged than he was last season in San Antonio.
In-game coaching decisions were one of the areas that the Raptors executives felt were lacking at times when Casey was on the job, with a litany of perceived ills coming to a head when Toronto was swept out of the playoffs by the Cavaliers for the second-straight time this past spring. The 27-year-old missed his first three shots before Lowry gave up an easy basket for a pass to the trailing Leonard four minutes into the game. The two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year was limited to nine games last season because of a quadriceps injury.