Boucher credits meditation, film for improvement

TORONTO — Playing badly and clearly miserable, Chris Boucher found himself in coach Nick Nurse’s rotation as an afterthought just 20 games into this NBA season.

So the 28-year-old Montrealer started watching videos, both the good times and the bad. The bad was illuminating.

“Watch games when I’m playing badly (and say) ‘Show me why I’m out, why I’m not playing,'” Boucher said after Sunday night’s win over Washington.

“Sometimes I’m like, ‘Why am I not playing?’ and then you watch the clip and you’re like, ‘That’s why.’ So I try to fix the reasons why I’m not on the pitch because I can help this team with the way I play.

Boucher had become a key player on the Raptors roster and expected to continue on that trajectory this season. But his three-point shooting has been abysmal, going from 38.3 percent last season to 18.5 percent this year.

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Sunday’s 14-point performance in Toronto’s 102-90 win over Washington was his best game this season, and his energy off the bench was part of a terrific night from the second strings.

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He missed the only three-point attempt he took, instead focusing on what he was good at, including a couple of cuts to the basket for dunks on smart passes from rookie Dalano Banton.

“I can shoot, but I’m not showing it right now,” Boucher said. “I’ve had a few back and forths…it will eventually go down, but if I don’t go looking for it and take it when it comes, that’s a lot better. I can do many different things. I can adjust the screen and roll, cut, slide the screen. There’s a lot of things I can do (that) I kind of forgot trying to figure out where my threes were.

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Boucher said he studied film twice a day. He also meditated before Sunday night’s game. He regularly practices meditation, but had not done so just before speaking. Raptors athletic trainer Ray Chow suggested it.

“I just need to be the Chris that I’ve always been and for that I kind of needed to get all the stuff out of my head before the game,” he said. “Ray told me he felt like when I was playing there was so much going on in my head. So, gave me some meditation, and that really helped me, getting into the smooth game and knowing that I’m able to do certain things and be confident with that.

Boucher signed a two-year contract extension in the 2020 offseason worth US$13.5 million, the richest contract in NBA history for a Canadian who went undrafted .

Pascal Siakam, who had 31 points on Sunday in his best game this season, praised Boucher and the rest of the bench’s play.

“It was huge, and honestly, as much as we get over him, we have to give him credit when we do well,” Siakam said. “Shout out to everyone. They arrived ready to play, to execute the game plan, to play hard. And they gave us a huge boost there, and we need it from them.

“Hopefully we’re going to take that and build on it and keep doing that, and I think we can. Just them knowing you’re going to have an opportunity, you have to come in, and those minutes that you have, you have to them. play like it’s your last, you have to go out there and give it your all, and thanks to them they did (Sunday).

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The Raptors (11-13) host the struggling Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday in Game 5 of the season-high seven-game home game. On Friday, the Memphis Grizzlies demolished the Thunder 152-79, breaking the NBA record for the widest margin of victory.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on December 6, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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