Game 62 Boston Celtics vs Toronto Raptors: Coach Nurse’s Plan to Integrate Lin is to Shoot Without Hesitation, No Deferring

With two days to prepare for Boston Celtics, Coach Nurse reviewed what went right and wrong in the Spurs win and Magic loss. He planned to integrate Gasol and Lin in the team sooner than later. His primary message to Lin is to shoot more without hesitation if open, not defer to teammates especially when he’s in the Shooting Guard position next to Kyle Lowry on the floor. This is quite the opposite of Lin’s previous role as the stabilizer in Atlanta Hawks when he was requested to be playmaker for his teammates but not necessarily have the green light as the first scoring option. Lin is not new in this role since he performed the similar scoring guard off the bench in Charlotte Hornets.

“I thought we had a good learning day. Not only for the short term but the long term. We did a lot, a lot of film today on a lot, a lot of topics. Some on last night, some tomorrow night, and some not related to last night or tomorrow night — relating to the long term.”

Take Lin, who’s been thrown into a variety of lineups over his three games in a Raptors uniform — 13 lineups in all — with some working better than others. He’s found quick chemistry with Gasol and Kyle Lowry, two fellow veterans who share his strong instincts for facilitating offence on the fly.

But when Lin’s been the primary creator in a unit, things haven’t gone quite as smoothly, like Sunday, when he was part of a rotation with Serge Ibaka, OG Anunoby, Patrick McCaw, and newcomer Jodie Meeks, which struggled.

Monday morning, Nurse sat down with Lin to provide feedback on what’s worked and what hasn’t. His primary message was for Lin not to hesitate to take his shot, and not to feel like he should defer to his new teammates.

“I told him when he’s out there with Kyle, start acting like a two-guard — meaning catch-and-shoot, because you’re a good shooter. We need that, we need that production,” Nurse said. “And I said, when you come off the screens at the three-point line open, I need you to start pulling them.

“It’s a little bit like Delon [Wright]. Delon would come off there and we were begging him to shoot those for the longest time. It takes time. It’s in their nature a little bit.”

Nurse admitted Monday that he was close to starting Lin in the resting Kawhi Leonard’s place for Sunday’s game in an attempt to recreate the dual-guard lineup he often went to when Fred VanVleet was healthy. (“Just bad, bad subbing by me last night,” Nurse conceded.)