Nurse Reflects on Bubble Life and Toughness of NBA Playoffs

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The Toronto Raptors spent over 80 days couped up in some form of COVID-19 quarantine in Florida. They made the best of the situation, trying to stay positive even in the face of the worsening global pandemic and social injustice happening throughout the country. But, looking back on it, it wasn’t easy, Raptors coach Nick Nurse said on ESPN’s The Lowe Post and The Hoop Collective podcasts Wednesday morning.

“I think while we were there, I think that we were doing everything we could to kind of get out of bed on the right side of the bed and really positive talk and everybody trying to bring energy and whatnot. It seemed like it was OK, I think we were OK,” Nurse said. “But then, once I got out, kind of looking back, it wasn’t as enjoyable as I thought I was having. I wasn’t having as enjoyable a time as I thought I was having.”

Nurse acknowledged that the team didn’t play as well as it had prior to the pandemic and it’s possible the long layoff and life in the Bubble negatively impacted the team’s performance. 

“Let’s be honest, we had a couple of our key guys not play very well which stopped us ultimately from playing our best,” he said.

Since returning home, Nurse has been watching the rest of the NBA playoffs, including the Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 4 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.

“I’m watching these games and thinking about how damn hard it was to win it last year while I’m sitting there watching it tonight, these teams just gutting it out, guarding, trying to make these tough shots,” he said. “It’s really kind of sinking in about how dang hard it is to win it.”