Following Toronto's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers this week, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was rather critical of Terence Davis.
After seeing him go scoreless against the Blazers, Nurse said that Davis is "just not playing well." He added that the eight minutes he played - the first time Davis had played single-digit minutes since the first week of November - was "probably five minutes too many."
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For that reason, it was a surprise to see Nurse insert Davis into the starting lineup the very next day when the Raptors travelled to Charlotte to take on the Hornets on the second night of a back-to-back. Davis responded in a big way, scoring a career-high 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds and five assists in the win.
Davis set the tone with 13 points in the first quarter. He then helped the Raptors close the game with back-to-back 3-pointers in overtime, one to tie it up at 105, the other to put Toronto ahead with 2:36 to play.
Based on Game Score, which gives "a rough measure of a player's productivity for a single game," it was his most productive game of the season.
Have yourself a night young fella. @TerenceDavisJr - 23p/10r pic.twitter.com/7V1qK8cjx1- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) January 9, 2020
Davis said afterwards that he was "a little bit surprised" to get the start, but he "went out there and played basketball."
Nurse, meanwhile, talked about how it was in the team's best interest to start Davis even though he struggled the night before while giving some insight into his coaching strategy.
"He was really good," Nurse said of Davis. "This isn't that easy to figure out who to play with all these guys out constantly and trying to figure out some ways to keep guys ticking over. When they are really fighting hard for minutes, they play better. Maybe then they get in their comfort zone because there is nobody else to put in.
"There are all kinds of things going on, but with me, I am going to rattle your cage if you deserve to have it rattle, but I am going to put my arm around you the next day and get on with it because I believe in the kid and it was only in his and our team's best interest to do that, so we did it."
Davis is now averaging 7.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game on the season. Despite a rough stretch lately, he has the best net rating differential on the team, with the Raptors going from outscoring opponents by 0.9 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench to 12.8 with him on the court.
The Raptors will be back in action on Sunday when they take on DeMar DeRozan and the San Antonio Spurs for the first time this season.
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