Toronto's Nurse named NBA Coach of the Year

The defending champion had NBA's second-best record during the regular season -- 53-19 -- and currently leads Brooklyn Nets 3-0 in the playoffs series.

Nick Nurse is in his second season as the Raptors head coach nd became the ninth rookie head coach to win an NBA championship,   -  Getty Images

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse was named NBA Coach of the Year for the 2019-20 season on Saturday.

The defending NBA champion had the league's second-best record during the regular season -- 53-19 -- and its .736 winning percentage set a franchise record. It has a 3-0 lead in its best-of-seven opening-round series against the Brooklyn Nets.

“When you see Nick on the sidelines, that's who he is as a person. Relaxed, but so hard-working. Creative and dynamic. Always setting the tone for our team -- attacking our next championship, rather than defending our last,” said Masai Ujiri, the Raptors president.

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“That is who Nick is, that is why we believe in him. His journey to this tremendous honor has been a long one -- we are so happy to see him recognized this way.”

Nurse, 53, is in his second season as the Raptors head coach after five seasons as an assistant. He was the ninth rookie head coach to win an NBA championship and has an overall 111-43 record with the team.

Nurse kept the Raptors among the top teams in the league this season despite having NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard depart as a free agent to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers.

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“There's a player development segment, there's a way we play defense, there's a way we share the ball, there's competitiveness, there's a never-give-up attitude, there's all kinds of big-shot mentality, there's lots of things that have emerged from this team, but I think that the biggest one is the way we try to go out and play hard and try hard defensively and how we try to figure things out each, almost each and every possession, on each and every night,” Nurse told reporters.

“We don't do it every night, but we come out fighting most nights, and that's the trait that I think I would say we should all be proud of.”

On defense, the Raptors led the NBA in points allowed (106.5 points per game) and opponent three-point field goal percentage (33.7) and ranked second in opponent field goal percentage (42.8). Toronto led the NBA in holding its opponents to fewer than 100 points 22 times.

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On offense, the Raptors averaged 112.8 points and a franchise-record 13.8 three-point field goals per game.

Toronto has a winning record in 24 straight months of regular-season play, the longest streak in the NBA.

Nurse is the third Raptors coach to win the award, following Dwane Casey (2017-18) and Sam Mitchell (2006-07).

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