Nick Nurse explains substitution decisions in All-Star Game
Despite the rousing success of the new NBA All-Star Game format which drew praise from fans and players alike, many fans of the players on Team Giannis were a tad perplexed by the unusual decisions made by Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse in the game’s closing moments.
The Elam Ending of the game (which ended rather anticlimactically on a free throw) led to a bevy of interesting moments, perhaps the most concerning of which was Nurse leaving in his own players (Raptors stars Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry) for the entirety of the fourth quarter.
According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun, the new rules implemented in the All-Star game were the reason behind Nurse’s erratic substitution patterns:
Nick Nurse said the new rules for the all-star game ending made it tough to gauge time and figure out subbing patterns. That's why he had ending group out for so long for Team Giannis.
— Ryan Wolstat (@WolstatSun) February 20, 2020
Indeed, both Rudy Gobert (21 points, 11 rebounds) and Trae Young (10 points, 10 assists) played well and were not allowed back in the game by the Raptors coach due to the topsy-turvy nature of the elam ending.
On the other side, Luka Doncic, like Young, was voted in as a starter but did not close the game for Team LeBron.
Certainly, as this was the first time this new format was implemented, there were always going to be growing pains, but it seems an oversight that the Nick Nurse could have avoided with a little bit more foresight.