Despite already having clinched a playoffs berth, Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse recently announced that the team has no intention of resting any of its players in either of their last two regular season games.
Nurse says Raptors want to play last two games out. Thinks team looks fresh, want to have home court vs GS. Some minutes scaled back, but everyone available (except McCaw).
— Blake Murphy (@BlakeMurphyODC) April 7, 2019
This is a rather brief statement from coach Nurse, but it does hold a lot of meaning.
First off, Nurse was able to give us an update on the overall health of his team entering the playoffs. His main guys appear to be in top condition at the moment, which means that we are going to see a Raptors side that will be extremely close to being 100 percent healthy as the postseason commences.
Raptors superstar Kawhi Leonard is not a stranger to rest days, and given his injury history, it is actually quite surprising that Nurse has opted to have him play out the remaining couple of games of the season.
As for the team’s standing, they are currently three games behind the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks and six games ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently at third. This means that their final two games will have no bearing on their final standing, and they will be entering the playoffs as the second seed in the East.
However, Nurse is obviously looking ahead, and is confident that his team will emerge as the Eastern Conference champions. They want to win the last two games of the season in order for them to have a better record than the Golden State Warriors, giving them a homecourt advantage should they meet in the Finals.
Teams in the East are by no means pushovers, though, so Toronto will have a tough road ahead to the Finals.