NBA Playoffs: Raptors' planned lineup changes for Game 3 don't bother Mike Budenholzer, says Bucks 'will be prepared'
Nick Nurse said before Game 3 that he's planning on making a change to the starting lineup
As the Eastern Conference finals shift to Toronto for Game 3, the Raptors are in a tough spot. Down 2-0 to a Milwaukee Bucks team that has lost just once in the playoffs, the Raptors need to somehow win four out of five games if they want to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
In order to try and jumpstart a turnaround, Raptors coach Nick Nurse told reporters on Sunday during his pre-game media session that he would be making a change to the starting lineup. He declined, however, to give any specifics. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer joked in response that unless Nurse was taking Kawhi Leonard out of the starting lineup, his team would be prepared.
"Unless he's taking Kawhi Leonard out of the starting lineup, I'm guessing our guys will be prepared," Budenholzer said.
Nurse first admitted to contemplating lineup changes on Saturday, though he said he hadn't made up his mind about altering the starting lineup because he has a lot of faith in his first unit. Via NBA.com:
"I think there could be more than one lineup change coming at us."
"I think your question here is this: Are you going to dance with the one you bring to the ball? It's not easy. You think certain series aren't for certain guys, et cetera, but I also think that we've had bad biorhythms a couple times, maybe three or four times in the playoffs, and then the next game our biorhythms were back in tact."
"So I kind of trust these guys, know who they are, believe in them and know they're better than they played last night and have shown that in bounce-back situations usually."
Marc Gasol, in particular, was poor in Game 2, going 1-of-9 from the field for two points in 19 minutes of action. Likewise, Danny Green continued to struggle on the offensive end; he's shot just 6-of-22 over the last four games. Considering the Bucks' outside-in approach on offense, and the demand for athletic defenders, as well as the Raptors' need to hit outside shots, it's easy to understand calls for Nurse to insert Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell -- shooting 4-of-8 from 3 in this series -- into the starting lineup.
But in addition to matchups and form, Nurse must also contend with how changing the starting lineup would impact the dynamic of the team. Plus, as Nurse mentioned, these are the starters that got them to this point, and there's a reason that's the case.
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