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Nick Nurse plans to ‘shuffle’ Raptors’ starting lineup during 2nd half of season

Raptors, Nick Nurse

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse has plans of shuffling his team’s starting lineup here and there during the second half of this season, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

With Fred VanVleet back healthy, Nurse is currently sticking with the dual point guard lineup featuring VanVleet and Kyle Lowry. Serge Ibaka had been starting with VanVleet out, but the point guard returned Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves, moving Ibaka back to the bench.

Wolstat confirmed that VanVleet will start and Ibaka will come off the bench again for the Raptors versus Minnesota:

Having Ibaka come off the bench should give Toronto’s second unit a spark. The choice also means the team’s offense will likely run a bit more through VanVleet, who is turning in career-high numbers in several statistical categories this season.

In his 32 appearances with the Raptors during this campaign (all starts), VanVleet has racked up averages of 18.3 points on 40.4 percent shooting from the field (39.0 percent from beyond the arc), 6.9 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 2.0 steals in 36.1 minutes per outing.

VanVleet returned from a hamstring injury on Saturday. His 29 points led the Raptors to a 122-112 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. 10 of his 29 points came in the fourth quarter alone.

Monday’s matchup between the Raptors and Hawks will tip inside State Farm Arena at 2:30 p.m. ET, with NBA TV having live broadcast coverage.

Let’s see if Nurse makes additional lineup changes in the future. Some will be situational, of course. Others could be experimental.