Raptors: 3 fatal mistakes Nick Nurse made in humbling Clippers loss

CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 23: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors reacts to a call from referee (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - DECEMBER 23: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors reacts to a call from referee (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Nick Nurse and the Toronto Raptors were not given the opportunity to ease their way back into a groove following the Christmas break, as a matchup with franchise icon Kawhi Leonard and the always dangerous Los Angeles Clippers was next up on the docket. Their offensive firepower is frightening.

The Raptors were only down by four at halftime, as Gary Trent Jr. and Scottie Barnes were doing everything they could to keep pace with LA despite Pascal Siakam making just two of his first 12 shots from the field. Toronto needed every single point to hang with Paul George and the motivated Norman Powell in this matchup.

Some of Nurse’s recent tweaks have worked out for the better, including moving Trent to the bench and reinserting Malachi Flynn into the rotation. Some of them don’t seem to be helping the team win, yet Nurse continues to hammer them home and force them to work.

The Raptors lost to the Clippers because of Nurse’s inflexibility and bizarre in-game decisions. These last few weeks have not been kind to Nurse overall, with these big mistakes serving as eyesores that only got an irritated fanbase even more jaded.

3 mistakes Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse made in loss to Clippers.

3. Trusting Juancho Hernangomez.

The first big mistake that Nurse made was not only starting Hernangomez, but giving him the green light to shoot from deep to open up the third quarter. The Raptors made three of their first five 3-point attempts. However, they proceeded to make just two of their next 15.

Hernangomez chucking the ball in the manner he did utterly killed all the momentum Toronto had coming out of the half, helping the Clippers start to pull away. In nine minutes, Hernangomez was scoreless, further questioning his inclusion in the starting lineup.

The Toronto Raptors must bench Juancho Hernangomez.

The Raptors are paying Hernangomez to shoot, and he’s making just 29% of his 3-pointers. While he’s been better in the paint than many expected, he remains a poor defender and a player that has puzzlingly muscled into the starting lineup despite an incongruous fit.

In an ideal situation, Hernangomez will go back to the bench, playing just a few minutes per game. However, if Bo Cruz is going to play with the efficiency of an actor who has been hastily thrown onto an NBA floor with live bullets flying overhead, he could drop out of the rotation for the second time this season.

Expect more stories about him being “frustrated” with playing time if this does not vanish.