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Game Thread: Raptors head coach Nick Nurse calls Pelicans ‘good team’

Get this, he also mentioned Nickeil Alexander-Walker by name in pregame. Yup.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Toronto Raptors Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When asked about the Pelicans defense and whether its high ranking (4th) to start this season is a direct effect of Stan Van Gundy at the helm, Nick Nurse danced around the question a bit, instead choosing to remark that SVG is a good coach and the Pelicans are a good team.

The Raptors head coach also went on to mention that New Orleans’ size advantage stands out on their roster and he took time to single out several from the Pelicans bench, specifically naming JJ Redick, Josh Hart and Nickeil Alexander-Walker.

After appearing in just four minutes of garbage time in the season opener, NAW failed to leave the bench the following two games; however, he’s back on the radar following a solid 22-minute showing in Phoenix (11 points, four assists) and then a productive 19-minute effort (14 points, three rebounds, two steals) against the Thunder.

Nickeil has looked noticeable better to many this season, but if opposing head coaches are noticing him too, one has to believe that bodes incredibly well for his odds of sticking in the regular rotation.

For more on today’s matchup, please give our preview a read.

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (3-2) vs Toronto Raptors (1-3)

When: January 2, 6:30 p.m. Central

Where to watch: FSNO, NBA tv

Where to listen: ESPN 100.3 FM

For more Pelicans talk, subscribe to The Bird Calls podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @OlehKosel.