NBA: Nurse coaches Raptors to win after mother's death

Field Level Media via Reuters

Posted at Dec 12 2018 04:21 PM

Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas (17) and guard Kyle Lowry (7) celebrate against the LA Clippers at Staples Center. Kirby Lee, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

One day after his mother died, Nick Nurse coached the Toronto Raptors to a 123-99 road win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Marcella Nurse died Monday at age 94 in Carroll, Iowa, Nick Nurse's hometown.

"I'm here because my mother wouldn't want it any other way," Nurse said before the game at Staples Center. "I'll coach the game, and then I'll coach the next one tomorrow, and then we'll go back and take care of business."

The Raptors, the top team in the Eastern Conference at 22-7, play the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Wednesday in Oakland, California. Toronto's road trip then continues with games Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers and Sunday against the Denver Nuggets.

Nurse said of his mother, "She had a big impact because she had nine of us and I was the last one. Lots of games -- 94 years, nine kids and about 80,000 games watched are her final stats."

Nurse, 51, is in his first season as an NBA head coach. He was an assistant under Dwane Casey from 2013-14 through last season, then ascended to the top job when the Raptors fired Casey after getting swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Before joining the Toronto staff, Nurse coached several teams in Europe and several in the NBA D League, now known as the G League. He led the Iowa Energy to a D League title in 2011, when he picked up Coach of the Year honors. Nurse subsequently guided the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the D League crown in 2013.

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