Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri hasn’t forgotten the first time he met Nick Nurse.
It was 1995 and Ujiri Kevin Hogan Color Rush Jersey , now president of the Toronto Raptors, was playing for the Derby Storm of the British Basketball League. Nurse was coach of the rival Birmingham Bullets. Not yet 30, Nurse had already been on the bench for six years, quickly establishing himself as a coach on the rise.
”His teams were tough,” Ujiri said Thursday as the Raptors officially introduced Nurse as their coach. ”There was always something about the Birmingham team that was different from the whole league. People talked about them that way.”
More than two decades on from that initial introduction, Ujiri is hoping Nurse has what it takes to turn Toronto into the talk of the NBA.
The ninth head coach in Raptors history, Nurse replaces his former boss, Dwane Casey – under whom he spent the past five seasons as a Toronto assistant. Casey was fired after the Raptors were swept out of the second round of this year’s playoffs by Cleveland, their third straight playoff defeat at the hands of LeBron James and the Cavs.
Ujiri called Nurse ”everything you want in a candidate” and said his new coach, the first he has hired as an NBA executive, is someone who ”thinks the game differently.”
”He was outstanding Rasmus Dahlin Sabres Jersey ,” Ujiri said. ”He really came out on top. Trying new stuff, being innovative, is who Nick is. You can tell he’s a tactician who really thinks the game.”
Nurse called it ”a long month” of waiting for a decision following Casey’s dismissal but said he understood why Ujiri needed to take his time.
”Even though I’ve been across the gym from him for five years, there’s a lot of detail to go through,” Nurse said.
Nurse also gave credit to Casey, who was hired as Detroit’s head coach this week.
”We shared a lot of winning together,” Nurse said. ”He’s a competitive guy, a great professional. I learned a lot from him. You can’t take away the five years we shared.”
Toronto went 59-23 this season, the best record in the Eastern Conference and second-best in the NBA behind Houston. Nurse was in charge of the offense, led by All-Star guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. He also engineered a successful overhaul of the game plan before last season as Toronto put increased emphasis on ball movement and 3-point shooting.
For the coming season, Nurse said he wants to inject more defensive creativity ”so we can try to be ready for more things in the playoffs.”
Rex Kalamian Sam Hubbard Color Rush Jersey , a Raptors assistant alongside Nurse last season, is expected to join the Los Angeles Clippers, leaving Nurse multiple spots to fill on his staff. Nurse said Thursday he has a good idea of what he’s looking for.
”I think it’s really important that we get an experienced staff,” he said. ”Guys that have been head coaches at some level is important to me. It’s good to know what it’s like to be the decision maker.”
There’s also the possibility of new players, with Ujiri acknowledging Toronto has ”work to do” with its roster.
Nurse graduated from Northern Iowa and got his first head coaching position at Grand View College when he was only 23. He spent more than a decade in Europe and was an assistant coach for Britain at the 2012 London Olympics. A past G League coach of the year, he’s the only coach to lead two teams to an NBA G League Championship, winning with Iowa in 2011 and Rio Grande in 2013.
Nurse’s career has seen its share of stops and opponents, but he still recalls facing Ujiri while with Birmingham.
”I remember,” Nurse said, smiling. ”He played really hard.”
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 30 points, leading the Indiana Pacers back from a 17-point halftime deficit for a 92-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers for a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.
Cleveland was 39-0 during the regular season when leading after three quarters and kept that perfect mark intact with a Game 2 win.
The incredible second-half charge came exactly one year after Indiana blew a 26-point halftime lead in a historic playoff collapse against the Cavs.
This time Nick Nelson Color Rush Jersey , the Pacers delivered a devastating blow to the three-time defending Eastern Conference champs – on a night LeBron Jones joined Michael Jordan as the only players in playoff history to record 100 double-doubles. James finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Bradley Beal heeded his coach’s plea to ”do his job” by scoring 21 of his 28 points in the first half, his All-Star backcourt running mate John Wall delivered 28 points and 14 assists, and Washington beat Toronto 112-103 to cut its Eastern Conference first-round playoff series deficit to 2-1.
After letting the Raptors grab the first 2-0 series lead in franchise history, the Wizards came home and checked off every box coach Scott Brooks presented. They got Beal more involved after he made only three shots in Game 2; they actually led after the first quarter, 30-29; they played with enough defensive focus to get produce 19 turnovers by Toronto, leading to 28 points for Washington.
Add it all up, and it was a rare recent victory for Washington, which had lost seven of eight games dating to the regular season.
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Khris Middleton scored 23 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 and Milwaukee used a dominating first half to overwhelm Boston 116-92, narrowing its deficit in the series to 2-1.
Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker each added 17 for the energized Bucks, who held the Celtics without a field goal for nearly an 11-minute stretch of the first half.
Backup center Thon Maker scored 14 points and blocked five shots. Pesky guard Matthew Dellavedova http://www.buccaneersauthorizedshops.co ... art-jersey , a veteran of a championship run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, helped hold young Celtics point guard Terry Rozier to nine points on 2-of-7 shooting.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Sean Couturier’s long shot from the point got past Matt Murray with 1:17 left and the Philadelphia Flyers beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 to force a sixth game in the first-round series.
The Flyers cut the Penguins’ series lead to 3-2 going into Game 6 on Sunday in Philadelphia.
After missing Game 4 with a lower-body injury, Couturier extended his team’s season at least two more days by picking up his second goal of the series. Claude Giroux, Valtteri Filppula and Matt Read also scored for the Flyers. Michal Neuvirth stopped 30 shots, including a diving stop on the doorstep to deny Penguins star Sidney Crosby shortly after Couturier’s knuckler put Philadelphia in front.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) – Jacob Trouba, Bryan Little, Brandon Tanev and Joel Armia scored in the first 11:59 to chase Minnesota goalie Devan Dubynk and Winnipeg beat Wild 5-0 to win a playoff series for the first time in franchise history.
Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for his second shutout of the series, and Mark Scheifele added a goal in the third to help the Jets finish off the Wild in five games. Winnipeg will face the winner of the Nashville-Colorado series in the second round.
Winnipeg’s previous post-season appearance was a sweep by Anaheim in 2015. The franchise moved from Atlanta in 2011. The Thrashers started in 1999-2000, with their only playoff series ending in four straight losses to the New York Rangers in 2007.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Sven Andrighetto scored with 1:28 left to lift the Colorado Avalanche past the Nashville Predators 2-1 Authentic Evan Bouchard Jersey , sending the first-round series back to Denver for Game 6.
This is the third time the Avalanche had trailed 3-1 in a series since the franchise relocated to Colorado. They lost the first two, but will have a chance Sunday to push this series to a seventh game after rallying with two goals in the final 4:11.
Gabriel Landeskog started the rally with his goal into an empty net with Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne caught outside the crease with his own teammate Ryan Ellis in his lap. Then Andrighetto gave the Avs the lead off a rebound of a shot by J.T. Compher.
Andrew Hammond made a career-high 44 saves for his first postseason victory in his first playoff start since April 17, 2015, with Ottawa and just the third of his career.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Bill Peters was not able to lead the Carolina Hurricanes back to the NHL playoffs and after coming up short following his fourth season with the club, he announced he is resigning.
Peters went 137-138-53 in his lone head coaching job in the NHL. He had one season left on the contract extension he signed in 2016.
New team owner Tom Dundon said he has ”a lot of respect for Bill as a person and coach.”
The move leaves the Hurricanes looking for a new general manager and head coach. Hall of Fame player Ron Francis was reassigned to another front-office position during the season.
PHOENIX (AP) – Tyson Ross lost his bid to pitch the first no-hitter in the history of the San Diego Padres when rookie center fielder Franchy Cordero appeared to misplay a ball with two outs in the eighth inning of a 4-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Playing their 7,835th game since joining the majors in 1969, the Padres again came agonizingly close to their first no-no. They remain the only team in the big leagues that has never thrown a no-hitter.
Ross had a 1-0 lead with two outs in the eighth when .