Trash-talk Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse finally wins a coach’s challenge

TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 25: Head coach Nick Nurse (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 25: Head coach Nick Nurse (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
(Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /

Nick Nurse: I’m going to tell you how it really is out there

We all love Nick Nurse, there’s no doubt about it. The second-year coach is doing well so far, but also isn’t afraid to explain his disdain with the referees or (GULP!) his own players on his team.

After a fractured thumb to Kyle Lowry and a sprained ankle for Serge Ibaka, Nurse had this to say before the game against the Los Angeles Lakers:

While he summed up the moment with a chummy “This is their chance,” he still basically illuminated the fact that he doesn’t particularly like anybody beyond his initial eight guys that he rode for the start of the season.

It was already apparent after his comments about Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson before the season began, but he really is doubling down here, so to speak, about his opinion.

But, Nurse wasn’t going to just chastise the bench unit this week, either. He had this to say about Pascal Siakam’s foul trouble in the first few games:

Yet, I would be more inclined to tease Nurse about this if, in fact, it wasn’t working. Lo and behold, however, it ostensibly has been working! Siakam has been fouling less often and the bench mob sparked a comeback victory over the Lakers that trickled into the Los Angeles Clippers game before the team ran out of fuel.

Additionally, I would be remiss if I didn’t include the fact that even the referees aren’t getting any rest against Nurse. After the Clippers game he had this to say:

Of course, as Josh Lewenberg said, he tiptoed the line between too much criticism and not enough, but he is certainly making his case understood. Likewise, the best coaches in the NBA often find a balance between criticizing and applauding players and referees alike. Nurse seems well on his way to mastering this skill.

Whatever Jedi mind trick Nurse is implementing to create a fire under his team is working. So, keep mouthing off, Nurse, the players are responding!