NBA championship-winning head coach Nick Nurse plans to lead Canada at this year's FIBA Basketball World Cup in China.

Nurse guided the Raptors to their first title after dethroning two-time defending champions the Golden State Warriors.

With a championship under his belt, Nurse is now set to coach a Canada team potentially boasting Andrew Wiggins, Jamal Murray and Cory Joseph when the World Cup starts in August.

"I'm getting ready to take another situation soon because I think it's going to make me a better coach," the 51-year-old – who landed the Larry O'Brien Trophy in his rookie season – told reporters on Sunday.

Pressed on whether he was talking about Canada, who are looking for a new coach after Jay Triano stepped down in March, Nurse confirmed a deal was "just about done".

Nurse added: "It's something I'm looking forward to doing... I learned a lot as a coach in that run and I'm hoping this experience will do the same.

"It's a unique time with the World Cup and the Olympics within a short 13- to 14-month window. And it fits in OK. I'm just giving up some vacation time."

Canada will come up against Australia, led by Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons, Lithuania and Senegal in Group H at the World Cup.

Nick Nurse hopes his incredible journey to winning the NBA Finals with the Toronto Raptors will "inspire" other coaches.

The Raptors were crowned NBA champions for the first time on Thursday after a 114-110 triumph over the Golden State Warriors sealed a 4-2 series success.

Steve Kerr's Warriors came into the Finals looking for a third straight Larry O'Brien Trophy, but inspired by offseason trade recruit Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors upset the odds.

For Nurse, it completed one of the more unusual coaching stories, with a career that has seen him lead teams like the Birmingham Bullets, Manchester Giants, London Towers, Brighton Bears and Telindus Oostende.

He returned to North America and coached in the G League from 2007 until 2013, before spending five years as a Raptors assistant and finally landing an NBA top job with the same franchise in June 2018. 

"Well, I would hope it inspires some people that are in those situations to keep working," Nurse told reporters after the famous victory at Oracle Arena.

"I always say that all those jobs meant the world to me at the time, winning with Birmingham in 1996, winning with Rio Grande Valley, whatever year that was. And those games and jobs meant the world to me and I loved all those jobs. 

"I think you can't do very good work if you don't love what you're doing. I never really got discouraged. I didn't really care about the level I was coaching at, I was just trying to learn and get better. That's it."

Nurse feels the way the beaten Warriors battled all the way through the postseason despite the injuries suffered by the likes of Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson will have increased the level of respect they hold around the league.

"A hundred percent," the 51-year-old said. "That was hard on them. I think they had a rough year injury-wise, and they kept playing. 

"They got through some playoff rounds and guys in and out. And obviously a lot of things, a lot of bad breaks in the Finals, to be honest.

"Like us, they kept on playing. They were super-intense, high-level games and both teams desperately trying to win. I have a tremendous amount of respect for coach [Steve] Kerr and his staff and their players, for sure."

The Toronto Raptors won their first title in franchise history with a 114-110 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Thursday.

This all started last year when the Raptors was swept by LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs.

Toronto went for it after that, trading for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green and picking up Marc Gasol at the deadline.

It turned into an Eastern Conference title and eventually a championship.

Here are seven key stats from the Raptors' title run:

 

732: Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard scored 732 points in the postseason, which is the third most by any player in playoff history (LeBron James, 2018 and Michael Jordan, 1992).

16: Toronto's Fred VanVleet hit 16 three-pointers in this series, setting an NBA record for the most shots made from beyond the arc off the bench in a Finals. JR Smith and Robert Horry are now tied for second with 15.

26, 10: Kyle Lowry scored 26 points and added 10 assists in the Raptors' win. He is just the sixth player ever to have 25 or more points and 10 or more assists in Game 6 or 7 of an NBA Finals. He joins LeBron James as the only other player to do it on the road.

(Ditto): Pascal Siakam also scored 26 points and added 10 rebounds for the triumphant Raptors.

0 for 9: Warriors star Stephen Curry is now 0 for 9 in the playoffs on shots to take the lead in the last 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime.

Nine: Nick Nurse became the ninth rookie head coach to win an NBA title. He is the first since Cleveland's Tyronn Lue in 2016-17.

34: Danny Green is the 34th North Carolina Tar Heel to win an NBA title. That is more than any other college program. He is the ninth former UNC player to win multiple rings.

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse knows the Golden State Warriors will not relinquish their crown without a fight as his team stand on the cusp of their maiden NBA championship.

The Raptors are only one win away from claiming the title thanks to Friday's 105-92 victory over the Warriors in Game 4 at Oracle Arena.

Kawhi Leonard led the way with 36 points and 12 rebounds to give the Raptors a 3-1 lead against the two-time reigning champions in the NBA Finals.

The Raptors are poised to make history ahead of Game 5 in Toronto, however, Nurse is not getting too carried away.

"I think it's difficult," Nurse told reporters when asked about the team's mentality amid the excitement in Toronto. "I mean, we're going to get back there, and as you know, they're going to be going crazy in Toronto.

"And my message to them is, is we have never really talked about the series score, can't let people take you someplace you aren't yet, right, and we know this is a great team and we know how hard we have to play to beat them.

"Home or away, we know how hard we have to play and just focus in on trying to be the hardest working team on the floor. If we do that, then we'll give ourselves a chance to win and go from there."

Leonard was the star of the show again, with the 2014 Finals MVP shooting five for eight in the first quarter, while the rest of his team were one for 13.

He finished the half with 13 points and the Raptors were in striking distance, just four points adrift of the Warriors.

Then Leonard really turned it on. He dropped 17 third-quarter points as part of a 37-21 frame for Toronto. It was his 14th 30-point game of the 2019 playoffs. He has scored more than 20 points in all but two of the Raptors' postseason games.

"Obviously he's playing great and he's lifted us a lot of times with big buckets or runs of buckets or just that settling bucket when the place is going crazy and he'll calmly sink one to kind of quiet the crowd," Nurse said of Leonard. "But I think more than anything, just once we saw him early in the year, I think, again, your team's vision of who they can become eventually changes.

"I say that about Marc Gasol too. When we got him, I think we started passing the ball, our assists started going way up, we became the number one three-point shooting team in the league because of the extra passes and the contagious passing, et cetera, and I think our team again thought their sense of who they thought they could become went up."

The Toronto Raptors will not allow their displays to be affected by the Golden State Warriors' injury woes in the NBA Finals.

The Warriors were missing Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney for Game 3 and lost 123-109 at home, with the recently returned DeMarcus Cousins also evidently out of sorts. 

Victory on the road gave the Raptors a 2-1 lead in the series, but coach Nick Nurse insists they paid little attention to the late absence of Thompson, who had featured in the warm-up. 

"It doesn't impact it very much," he told reporters. "I think we're at the point of this series where we've got to get out and guard these dudes, whoever's out there.

"We've got to get playing our defense, quit worrying so much about special plays, this, that, and the other thing. We need to get into the ball.

"When you're guarding it, be great at guarding the ball; when your man doesn't have it, help, make the rotations; if somebody goes to help, help the helper.

"Fly out at shooters and block out. We've got to do a better job of that if we want to win."

And Kyle Lowry says Toronto will not be concerned by any updates on the status of Thompson and Durant before Friday's Game 4 in Oakland.

"We have just got to prepare the same way. We're a real defensive-minded team," he said. "We know they've got those type of weapons, but we've got to just prepare ourselves to be focused on ourselves.

"And that's the one thing we have always done: continued to work on ourselves and work on what we can do.

"We can't control anything else what the Warriors do, we've just got to go out there and do what we can do to get better, continue to grow, and see what we can make adjustments on."

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said he is baffled by the antics of Canadian rapper and Toronto Raptors fan Drake during the Eastern Conference Finals.

Award-winning artist Drake has been an ever-present courtside in Toronto, where the Raptors levelled the NBA playoff series at 2-2 on Tuesday.

Drake trolled Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo during Toronto's 120-102 victory by laughing as the MVP candidate missed free throws, while he was seen rubbing Raptors coach Nick Nurse's shoulders.

His antics angered Octagon Basketball Europe senior director Georgios Dimitropoulos, who used to be Antetokounmpo's European agent and tweeted he had "never seen anything as disrespectful as this before" before deleting the post.

Budenholzer was asked about Drake on Wednesday and he told reporters: "I will say, again, I see it in some timeouts, but I don't know of any person that's attending the game that isn't a participant in the game a coach -- I'm sorry, a player or a coach, that has access to the court.

"I don't know how much he's on the court. It sounds like you guys are saying it's more than I realise. There's certainly no place for fans and, you know, whatever it is exactly that Drake is for the Toronto Raptors.

"To be on the court, there's boundaries and lines for a reason, and like I said, the league is usually pretty good at being on top of stuff like that."

Asked if was looking to speak to the league about addressing Drake, Budenholzer said: "I haven't checked in with our organisation.

"I do think there's a lot of things that coaches have got to do, and there's other things, [general manager] Jon Horst and the front office and those guys, they are on top of all that kind of stuff. They do a really good job for us, and I think if it needs to be addressed from an organisational standpoint, it will be and they will share it with me.

"But as of now, there's nothing for me, there's nothing I know of from our organisation. And certainly the fans and owners and employees, and there's so many lines; I guess Drake crosses all of them and ticks a lot of boxes. The NBA is usually on top of that stuff."

Meanwhile, Nurse was quizzed on the shoulder rub midweek and the Raptors boss played it down ahead of Game 5 in Milwaukee on Thursday.

"I didn't even know I got the shoulder rub last night until somebody showed me a picture of it today," he said. "I didn't even feel it. I was so locked into the game."

Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard is "feeling good" heading into Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals, insisted head coach Nick Nurse.

Leonard appeared to injure his leg after finishing a layup in the first half of the Raptors' Game 3 overtime win over the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals.

However, Leonard remained in the game – playing 52 minutes – and followed that up with 34 minutes of action in Toronto's 120-102 Game 4 victory on Tuesday, which tied the NBA playoff series at 2-2.  

Nurse and the Raptors are not worried about Leonard's fitness ahead of Thursday's clash in Milwaukee.

"He's feeling good," Nurse told reporters on Wednesday. "No concerns at this point. He's good."

Leonard has been terrific for Toronto against the Bucks. He is averaging 29.3 points and shooting 46.1 per cent from the field through the first four games of the series.

OG Anunoby, meanwhile, has been sidelined since undergoing an emergency appendectomy in mid-April.

Nurse said the 21-year-old forward is still out indefinitely.

"OG does not have a timetable for coming back," Nurse added. "He is being more active every day. … He's moving pretty good, he's shooting, etc., but still a ways away from being able to take hits and contact in the areas that he needs to test out."

Anunoby averaged 7.0 points and 2.9 rebounds in 20.2 minutes per game in 2018-19. He is a versatile defender capable of guarding multiple positions, as well.

Nurse also revealed Raptors guard Kyle Lowry has been playing through a hand injury.

"It's hurt and it's sore and it causes him a lot of pain," Nurse said. "But he seems to be able to manage it through the game and do what he can do.

"He's obviously scoring and playing great on top of the other things he always does, and we're really showing a heck of a lot of toughness and again, the spirit that he just wants to be out there and help his team any way he can."

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse believes Kawhi Leonard will be on the floor to face the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Leonard injured his leg early in Sunday's 118-112 double-overtime win, which saw the Raptors reduce the Bucks' series lead to 2-1.

However, Nurse expects Raptors star Leonard – who played 52 minutes in Game 3 – to feature against the Bucks in Toronto on Tuesday.

"I think the consensus today is he's tired, and he's got two days and will be ready to go," Nurse told reporters on Monday.

"Those are kind of the words coming out of his mouth. Little tired, but he'll get his rest, got two days, and he'll be ready."

Leonard appeared to suffer the injury after finishing a layup in the first half and was walking with a noticeable limp.

Despite the injury, Leonard scored 36 points on 11-of-25 shooting.

"I'm just confident in myself," Leonard told TNT. "My team-mates are confident in me. I just go out there and play. I can live with the results because I'm giving 110 per cent out there."

Leonard said he "was feeling alright" after the hard-fought victory on home court.

"This is playoff basketball," Leonard said. "Everybody is hurting. Just have to keep fighting."

Nick Nurse wants the Toronto Raptors "to play their a** off in Game 3" as they look to stay alive in the Eastern Conference finals.

The second-seeded Raptors trail the high-flying Milwaukee Bucks 2-0 in the NBA playoff series following Friday's comprehensive 125-103 defeat.

Raptors head coach Nurse was told on Saturday that 93 per cent of teams down two games in a series go on to lose and joked: "That can't be right. Check the figures."

Nurse then made a request for the Raptors just a day removed from their demoralising defeat in Milwaukee, with the series moving to Toronto on Sunday.

"I don't really give a crap about that," he said. "I just want our team to play their a** off in Game 3, get a win and that changes the series."

The Raptors were close to winning Game 1 at Fiserv Forum on Wednesday but a fourth-quarter surge from the Bucks led to Milwaukee winning 108-100. 

The rusty Bucks came back Friday to completely dominate the Raptors, thanks to another stellar performance from MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Toronto are being carried by Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors star is not receiving much help from others – including the team's second-leading scorer Serge Ibaka, who could see a starting role if Nurse decides to change the line-up in an effort to revive the team's chances in the series.

"You think certain series aren't for certain guys, et cetera, but I also think that we've gotten, we've had bad biorhythms a couple times, maybe three or four times in the playoffs, and then the next game our biorhythms were back intact," Nurse added.

"So I kinda trust these guys, know who they are, believe in 'em, and know they're better than they played last night and have shown that on bounce-back situations usually."

Kawhi Leonard wants the Toronto Raptors to prove their championship calibre by responding to back-to-back defeats against the Milwaukee Bucks with a win in Game 3.

The Bucks took a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals with a 125-103 blowout of the Raptors at Fiserv Forum on Friday, MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo contributing 30 points, 17 rebounds and five assists.

Milwaukee began the game with a 9-0 run and took a 28-point lead early in the third quarter, though Toronto reduced the deficit to 13 later in the period.

However, the Raptors were unable to stop Mike Budenholzer's team surging back to seal a resounding triumph and Leonard is keen to see a response in Toronto on Sunday.

"If we want to do anything, if we want to be a championship team, we've got to play through adversity. It's a challenge now to come home in Game 3 and try to get a win," said Leonard, who scored 31 points.

Asked how the Raptors let the game get away from them so early, he responded: "A couple of turnovers, missing wide open shots, they got out in transition. We started the game and Giannis got an offensive rebound putback and those are one of our key emphases to try to limit them, and they came out with a 9-0 run.

"It's very tough [to stop], especially on the road. When you get down in a hole, down 15 points in the first quarter, when you're on the road it's tough to come back in that game.

"They've got adrenaline running, they're feeling confident, just got to try to lock in and chip it down point by point and see what happens."

Game 1 proved a much closer affair as the Bucks triumphed 108-100, and Raptors coach Nick Nurse wants a repeat of the effort displayed in the series opener.

"We didn't play very well tonight, and we did play pretty well in Game 1," said Nurse.

"They've done what they're supposed to do and protect their home court, and we've got to go now and do the same and get ourselves back in the series.

"But it's got to be more of an effort like Game 1 than tonight because, again, we were just uphill for almost three quarters tonight.

"We've got to continue to work the offense for shots. And again, I sound like a broken record up here, but we had our share of wide-open shots that could have at least stymied a little bit of the breakout in the score. But we've got to make sure we continue to work for them.

"We just weren't quite physical enough. We weren't getting our screens set good enough. We weren't getting them off their screens good enough as well.

"We're going to have to be better or they're just going to look bigger and stronger than we are, and I don't necessarily think that's the case. We've got to play a little tougher."

Point guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 15 points off four-of-13 shooting, emphasised the need for Toronto to improve on the glass after they were out-rebounded 53-40.

"They got 17 points after second-chance shots. That definitely will hurt you. It's not a back-breaker; we've just got to be a little bit more physical rebounding the ball," said Lowry.

"We know that they're going to crash a little bit more. But when we get out-rebounded, we don't get to play the way we need to play. We've got to do a better job of rebounding the basketball. They had 11 offensive rebounds - way too many. Those are things we can clean up.

"Now we've got a chance to go home and protect home court and do what we're supposed to do."

Nick Nurse believes the Toronto Raptors will have to improve if they are to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Raptors went seven games with the Philadelphia 76ers but ended on a high, winning 92-90 on Sunday thanks to Kawhi Leonard's landmark buzzer-beater.

That victory booked a date with the Bucks, the top seed in the NBA, boasting MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo and able to rest up since knocking out the Boston Celtics in five games.

Coach Nurse acknowledged the scale of Toronto's task, believing they must alter their game, recover quickly and perform better in order to prevail.

"It's a totally different style than we've just been through in our last two series," Nurse told a news conference.

"These were set-play teams, pretty methodical on offense, going to come down and look at things, run stuff for certain guys.

"It's not to say Milwaukee doesn't do that, too, but they'd much rather spread the floor, give it to a guy to put their head down and take it to the rim, then put it in the rim.

"If you send help, they're going to fire it out and shoot a ton of threes.

"It's a little different style that we're going to see and we're going to have to adjust to that really quickly. We have to forget about how happy we are pretty quickly, because it's a hungry team, a very deep team, a very good team.

"We're going to have to continue to grow and we're going to have to play better."

The Raptors head to Milwaukee for Game 1 on Wednesday.

Nick Nurse saluted a "big-time performance at both ends" from Kawhi Leonard after he inspired the Toronto Raptors to a 108-95 victory in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semi-finals series against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Leonard scored a career playoff high 45 points and claimed 11 rebounds as the Raptors drew first blood at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday. 

The Raptors superstar also became only the sixth player in NBA history to pour in at least 45 points, grab 11 rebounds and make three or more three-pointers. 

Raptors head coach Nurse hailed the contribution that the outstanding forward made both in attack and defence. 

"A big-time performance at both ends," he told reporters. "I just like the force he's playing with at both ends, but especially when he's getting the ball. 

"He's pushing it up the floor. He's punching the gaps with force. He's determined to get to spaces. 

"I guess I should not be surprised, but that was pretty cool to watch." 

Leonard stated that the victory was all that mattered to him. 

"This individual stuff, it's not big for me," Leonard said. "To reach these goals, it's great when you do it and you could win. 

"But our focus is every game trying to win the ballgame. That's why we're playing this game. We're not playing so I could score 50 or get 40 points; we're all on this team trying to say, 'Raptors win' at the end of the day." 

Cleveland Cavaliers coach Larry Drew condemned the shocking incident where Marquese Chriss and the Toronto Raptors' Serge Ibaka traded blows on Monday.

The struggling Cavs downed the high-flying Raptors 126-101 at Quicken Loans Arena and frustration seemed to get the better of Ibaka.

After an exchange with Chriss as the Toronto man tried to buy a cheap foul, Ibaka lifted himself from the floor and hurled himself at his opponent, with both men then appearing to throw punches before they were ejected.

Drew defended Chriss' right to protect himself - although he did not see the full extent of the clash - and insisted such scraps have no place in the NBA.

"I don't condone fighting at all, but I think, if somebody comes at you, you have the right to defend yourself," Drew said.

"I have to go back and look at the tape to see exactly what happened, but I don't believe there's a place in our game for fighting.

"In the heat of the moment, I understand that things do happen. If you get in a situation where clearly you're being attacked, your natural instinct is going to be to defend yourself.

"I'm not sure what happened. I'll go back and take a look and it and then I'll make a judgement on that."

Raptors coach Nick Nurse also saw little of the incident and was keen to ensure that Ibaka was unharmed, but he was frustrated to see the center get involved in an incident that is likely to prompt a suspension.

"I just wanted to see if he was okay, first of all," Nurse said. "I didn't know if there were any punches landed or any of that kind of stuff.

"I just wanted to make sure physically he was okay. He seemed fine.

"We certainly don't want that in the game. It's going to cost him a game, probably, right? It usually does when there's an altercation like that and we don't want that.

"We don't want to lose one of our guys for incidents like that. Whether it's Serge or anybody."

Nick Nurse was full of praise for the "phenomenal" Kawhi Leonard after he scored a career-high 45 points in the Toronto Raptors' 122-116 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Leonard stole the show at Scotiabank Arena on New Year's Day, scoring 30 second-half points as the Raptors moved to 28-11 in second spot in the Eastern Conference.

Raptors head coach Nurse hailed Leonard's performance ahead of his return to San Antonio on Thursday for the first time since he was traded by the Spurs.

"He was phenomenal," Nurse said. "Early in the year, he moves to some spaces fairly easily, and he would go 9-for-22 at the end of the night.

"I was just thinking, 'When is he going to go 16-for-22?' because it looked like they were shots he was going to make.

"I have kind of been waiting for one of these nights where he makes them all ... he was great. He is a special, special player, as we all know."

Leonard is relishing coming up against his former employers, with the Raptors eyeing a third consecutive win.

"Yeah, it's going to be fun," he said. "Everybody's anticipating the game. Things like that only get me better for the long run, so it's going to be a good game."

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