3. Try to play fast and shoot tons of threes to keep pace with Portland
Stotts’ Blazers have both a Top 10 offense in terms of a points per game and a top-five pace rating in the league, given how quickly they like to get up shots. While that high-octane strategy can work well against porous defenses, it can backfire just as easily. Outside of the Lillard-McCollum tag team, two of Portland’s most vital pieces on offense are a 300-pounder in Nurkic and what’s left of Carmelo Anthony, who was a defensive liability even in his prime. The only way for Kyle Lowry and the offense to match up is to beat Portland at their own game and speed up the tempo.
While the wins haven’t been piling up of late, Nurse has clearly made the switch to a more offensive-centric style of play, and that has at least made Toronto a more watchable and competitive team. If Nurse is going to go toe-to-toe with Portland, he needs his backcourt of Lowry and VanVleet to turn back the clock to 2018-19 and hit some clutch shots just when it looks like Lillard is on the verge of going supernova. Portland is tough, but a win is not out of the question tonight.