NURSE NAMED TOP NBA COACH

NURSE NAMED NBA COACH OF THE YEAR

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday that Nick Nurse has been named the NBA’s Coach of the Year for the 2019-20 season. Nurse guided the Raptors to a 53-19 record during the regular season (second best in the NBA) and set a franchise-record with a .736 winning percentage.

 “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,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “That is who Nick is, that is why we believe in him. His journey to this tremendous honour has been a long one – we are so happy to see him recognized this way.”

Highlighting Toronto’s season was a franchise-record 15 straight victories (Jan. 15 – Feb. 10). During this stretch, the Raptors averaged 121.2 points and shot .504 (672-1333) from the field. The winning streak was the longest in Canadian sports history (NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS and CFL).

Nurse earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honours twice during the 2019-20 campaign – January and games played in October/November – and coached Team Giannis at the NBA All-Star Game in Chicago.

The Raptors finished the regular season leading the NBA in points allowed (106.5 ppg) and opponent three-point field goal percentage (.337) and ranked second in opponent field goal percentage (.428). Toronto also held its opponent to fewer than 100 points in 22 games – most in the NBA.

On the offensive end, the Raptors averaged 112.8 points (second most in team history) and a franchise-record 13.8 three-point field goals per game. This despite their top five leading scorers all missing at least 10 games due to injury or illness. Toronto had three players average at least six more points this season than they did in 2018–19: Norman Powell (+7.4 ppg, 8.6 to 16.0), Fred VanVleet (+6.6 ppg, 11.0 to 17.6) and Pascal Siakam (+ 6.0 ppg, 16.9 to 22.9).

After finishing the season restart in Orlando with a 7-1 record, Toronto also extended its streak to 24 consecutive calendar months with a winning record (Feb. 2017 – Aug. 2020). The streak is the longest in franchise history and the longest current streak in the NBA.

A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Nurse was named the ninth head coach in Raptors history on June 14, 2018, taking the job after five years as an assistant coach with the team. On June 13, 2019, he became just the ninth rookie head coach in league history to win an NBA Championship. Nurse has led the club to a 111-43 (.721) regular season record in two seasons.

Coach of the Year voting from a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters was based on games played from the start of the regular season through March 11 and did not include “seeding games,” which took place July 30 – Aug. 14 for the 22 teams participating in the season restart.

Nurse is the third coach in franchise history to win the award, joining Dwane Casey (2017-18) and Sam Mitchell (2006-07).

-RAPTORS-

RAPTORS BLOG: The legend of Fred VanVleet continues to grow — Toronto Sun

The legend of Fred VanVleet continues to grow. His struggles at points of last year’s playoffs seem a long, long time ago now. Read More

RAPTORS BLOG: The legend of Fred VanVleet continues to grow — Toronto Sun

The legend of Fred VanVleet continues to grow. His struggles at points of last year’s playoffs seem a long, long time ago now.

– VanVleet is now shooting 42.6% on three-pointers in the playoffs since the start of last year’s run. Incredibly, that includes his low point, 1-for-14 struggles from beyond the arc in the seven game series against Philadelphia.

RAPTORS BLOG: The legend of Fred VanVleet continues to grow

– How scorching is VanVleet right now? Only Stephen Curry and Paul George had hit more threes over the first two games of a playoff series over the last 10 years and VanVleet nailed six more in Game 3.

.@FredVanVleet is just ridiculous pic.twitter.com/MDyUyV1Sru— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 21, 2020

– Minnesota and the Los Angeles Clippers are now the only NBA franchises to never go up 3-0. Toronto also improved to 10-10 all-time in the third game of a playoff series.

– Serge Ibaka had his second 13-rebound game off the bench for the Raptors in the playoffs. Only Bismack Biyombo (16) has grabbed more without starting. Ibaka also had his third 20-point or more game off the bench with the Raptors, more than any other player (VanVleet has done it twice).

Ibaka had his fourth playoff double-double as a Raptor, tying Charles Oakley and moving one behind Chris Bosh. Jonas Valanciunas had 17 for the franchise lead.

Chef is feasting – 18p / 12r pic.twitter.com/OXofWcdVqh— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) August 21, 2020

– You have to feel for interim Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn who has done what he can with such an undermanned lineup. Brooklyn lost Joe Harris, adding to the long list of unavailable talent, and looked completely overmatched by the deep Raptors in the third game of the series.

– Brooklyn didn’t even manage to score on two straight possessions until nearly midway through the second quarter. And just when the Nets seemed to have some life — like their late in the half three-pointer — VanVleet had to completely take the wind out of their sales by banking in a ridiculous heave to end the half.

“Overall, when you don’t have all the components of your card, it puts stress on different parts,” Vaughn said.

“It put extra stress on individuals to make plays that they might not have had to make if Joe (Harris) was here.”

– Credit too to Nets big man Jarrett Allen who worked his butt off all game despite not getting to see much of the ball on offence. Allen only took two shots all game (leading to four free throw attempts), but still chased down 17 rebounds. Only Giannis Antetkounmpo, Dwight Howard (three times), Ben Wallace, Marcus Camby and Draymond Green have had more rebounds against the Raptors in the post-season. Each of those guys attempted at least 10 shots in their big rebounding games.

“They pack the paint. They force you to kick it out to guys,” Nets guard Tyler Johnson said of Toronto’s elite protect the paint defence. “They’re usually bringing three or four guys into the paint. We got into a timeout in the third quarter and I looked at J.A. (Jarrett Allen)and told him how unselfish he was being throughout the entire game because a guy of his caliber could easily be frustrated and angry and be more demonstrative about not getting field goal attempts, but the guy continued to screen, continued to get guys open, continued to get offensive boards. You know, you can find yourself just going up and taking shots off of those, (but) he continued to kick it out, continued to make the right basketball play,” Johnson said.

Allen is a very good young player and it’s going to be a shame when politics put him on the bench so that Kevin Durant/Kyrie Irving pal DeAndre Jordan, who is no longer close to the player Allen is, gets to be the guy in the middle.

Lowry could have been given a star for his strong outing, just as Ibaka could have gotten one last game. We’re evening things up by going Ibaka for this one.

THREE STARS

1 — Fred VanVleet

2 — Pascal Siakam

3 — Serge Ibaka

TORONTO FC 1, WHITECAPS 0: Postgame notes and quotes.

TORONTO FC (1) – VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (0) POST MATCH SUMMARY

SCORING SUMMARY

TFC – Richie Laryea 15’ (Alejandro Pozuelo)

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

TFC – Liam Fraser 36’ (caution)

VAN – Andy Rose 55’ (caution)

TFC – Pablo Piatti 84’ (caution)

TFC – Alejandro Pozuelo 86’ (caution)

RECORDS

TORONTO FC: 4-0-3  15 PTS.

VANCOUVER: 2-5-0  6 PTS.

MEDIA NOTES

  • Toronto FC extended its unbeaten streak to 17 consecutive regular season matches. The fifth-longest streak in MLS History (8 wins and 9 draws) – courtesy of Opta

LINE-UPS

TORONTO FC – Quentin Westberg; Auro Jr., Omar Gonzalez, Chris Mavinga, Richie Laryea (Justin Morrow 67’); Jonathan Osorio (Nick De Leon 83’), Michael Bradley (C), Liam Fraser (Marky Delgado 57’), Pablo Piatti (Laurent Ciman 84’), Alejandro Pozuelo; Jozy Altidore (Patrick Mullins HT’)

Substitutes Not Used: Alex Bono, Eriq Zavaleta, Erickson Gallardo, Tsubasa Endoh

VANCOUVER – Thomas Hasal; Ranko Veselinovic (Theo Bair 88’), Derek Cornelius, Jake Nerwinski (Cristian Dajome 71’), Ali Adnan; Andy Rose, Leonard Owusu (Ryan Raposo 71’), Russell Teibert (C), Patrick Metcalfe; Lucas Cavallini, Tosaint Ricketts (David Milinkovic 78’)

Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Christian Gutierrez, Jasser Khmiri, Michael Baldisimo, Georges Mukumbilwa

GREG VANNEY – HEAD COACH, TORONTO FC

On the differences between Tuesday’s game vs tonight’s game….

The difference from Tuesday’s game is they sat off a lot more, they have five in the back line, it was our job to try and move those guys out of the back line and create some spaces to be able to attack. We did an ok job at times but times we were a little bit too impatient. It slowed the game down and then you have to be really patient to try and move people around. Still, it was a good performance, we stayed responsible, we did what we had to do, and it would have been nice to have finished one or two of the good chances we had. 

On staying focused for a year and staying undefeated…

Our group is pretty mature, we ‘ve got some really young guys who have come through the academy and some veteran guys who have played a lot of games together. A lot of things click into natural gear quickly. Guys were motivated to play coming in from the stoppage and after getting to the final last year. There is a lot of motivation in our group to be successful this year.

On Altidore’s substitution at halftime, just a precaution….

It is a quick turnaround for Jozy, having played minimal minutes down in Florida and to have a turnaround in three days is not easy. We wanted to get him 45 minutes and to get the lead in the first 45 minutes. We wanted to start off where we left off from the last game. We’ll get him prepared for the next game.

RICHIE LARYEA – DEFENDER, TORONTO FC

How has TFC maintained consistency and kept a 17-game undefeated streak…

It comes down to us being a resilient group, this group fights to the end, this is a very big club in this league and guys want to compete for trophies every single year. We want to show why this club is where it is and why it has been for the last couple years. I think it is about us taking ownership on our own and making sure we are doing our own individual workouts. 

On his goal…..

It was a good build up down the right side and I was pinching in to help with the transition and the ball was getting in the box and I didn’t have anyone near me so I was able to push forward a little bit more and I was able to get the ball in front of me and landed nicely for me and I was able to put it in the back post.

QUENTIN WESTBERG – GOALKEEPER, TORONTO FC

On how the team is playing in front of him in the last two games…

I think we have done well, and we have done well individually and collectively. We have been playing together for a while now and have established a good identity. I think it is a great collective effort. I think our playing values and our principles are very well established. We have a lot of the ball and create a lot of chances and are great defensively.

On playing at BMO without fans…

It is a shame to be here without fans as we know how special this place is with our fans. We try to respect our stadium and have a responsibility to perform well here, we have to perform well everywhere but it is very particular here to all of us. BMO is a strong part of TFC’s identity and is a very hard place to come with or without fans. 

-TORONTO FOOTBALL CLUB-

BLUE JAYS 6, RAYS 5 (10): Postgame notes.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS 6, TAMPA BAY RAYS 5
Friday, August 21, 2020  Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
Win: Hatch (1-1) Loss: Loup (3-1) Save: Romano (1)
First Pitch: 6:42 p.m. Temps: 72-in, 79-out Attendance: — Time of Game: 3:31

TORONTO BLUE JAYS NOTES
THE WIN—The Blue Jays have won six consecutive games, extending
their season high and their longest streak since July 2-8, 2016 (7)…are a
season-high 2 games over .500, their most since the end of play on May
12, 2018 (21-19)…are 2.5 GB of the Rays and Yankees in the division.
— Improved to 3-4 in extras and 7-3 in 1-run games this season.
— During their 6-game winning streak, the Blue Jays are outscoring
opponents, 38-26, batting .290/.350/.500 and have hit 11 HR…they
have multiple homers in five of their last 6 games and have 27 HR
in their last 10 games (starting with their 7-HR game on Aug 12).
— This was the fourth game in Blue Jays history that both teams had
a least a 5-game winning streak, and the Blue Jays improved to 3-1
in those games (also won on May 16, 2011 and May 1, 1985).
— The Blue Jays won all three series openers against the Rays.
MATT SHOEMAKER—Yielded three 1-out hits and a walk in the 1st inning but escaped with just 1 run allowed and settled in to retire 13 of
his last 14 BF…was the beneficiary of a Lourdes Gurriel Jr. assist to nab
Yandy Díaz attempting to score from 1st base on a Ji-Man Choi double in
the 1st…the exit velocity on his 2 HR allowed were 104.8 mph and 103.3
mph, according to StatCast, while the other 2 hits were registered at 67.3
mph and 69.9 mph…has a 2.56 ERA (38.2-IP, 11-ER) in seven starts against
the Rays…marked his third time this season allowing multiple homers.
VLADIMIR GUERRERO JR.—His 2nd-inning homer left the bat at an
estimated speed of 115.9 mph, according to StatCast…the three-hardest
hit home runs by the Blue Jays in the StatCast era (since 2015) have all
been in the last 10 days: Rowdy Tellez (117.4) on Thurs vs. PHI, Teoscar
Hernández (115.9) on Aug 12 vs. MIA and Guerrero tonight…marked the
hardest-hit homer and the 6th-hardest batted ball of his career.
— The homer had a launch angle of 16°, the lowest on a homer in his
career… .was the lowest on a homer in the majors (excluding inside-the-park) since ARI Ketel Marte on July 29, 2019 at MIA (15°).
TEOSCAR HERNÁNDEZ—His 9 HR through 24 games are the 2nd-most
by a Blue Jay in club history, behind Carlos Delgado (10) in 2001…is batting .357 (10-for-28) with 3 HR against the Rays this season.
CAVAN BIGGIO—Hit a go-ahead RBI double in the 10th inning, his first career extra-innings hit and RBI and only his second career go-ahead RBI
in the 8th inning or later…has recorded a hit in 10 consecutive games
against the Rays, batting .359 (14-for-39) over that stretch.
JORDAN ROMANO—Recorded his first career save.

HOME RUNS

Tm. Batter # Distance Type Field Count Pitcher Inn. Score
TB Brandon Lowe 9 404 ft. solo right field 1-1 Matt Shoemaker 1st 1-0, TB
TOR Teoscar Hernández 9 427 ft. solo left-center 0-1 Ryan Yarbrough 2nd 1-1
TOR Vladimir Guerrero Jr. 4 390 ft. solo left field 1-0 Ryan Yarbrough 2nd 2-1, TOR
TB Yandy Díaz 2 426 ft. solo left-center 2-0 Matt Shoemaker 3rd 4-2, TOR


TOMORROW’S PROBABLE PITCHERS

RH Aaron Slegers (0-0, 11.25) vs. LH Hyun Jin Ryu (2-1, 3.46)
Broadcast: FOX Sports Sun, WDAE 95.3 FM/620 AM, WGES 680 AM (Sp.)

TAMPA BAY RAYS NOTES

THE LOSS—The Rays snapped a 5-game winning streak, which was one
shy of matching their season high…they lost for only the second time in
their last 13 games, and fell to 2-2 in extra-inning games and 5-3 in 1-run
games this season…at 17-10, they are tied with the Yankees (16-9) for 1st
place in the AL East (pct. points behind)…with the loss, the Rays snapped
their best 12-game stretch (11-1) since Aug 29–Sep 10, 2019 (11-1) and failed
to match the best 13-game stretch in club history (last July 6-22, 2013).
— The Rays have allowed 5 runs (or more) seven times in 11 games
since the start of the last road trip…they have allowed 35 HR this
season, their most through the first 27 games since 2007 (37).
— The Rays have allowed 13 HR in 7 games against the Blue Jays.
— The Rays have hit multiple homers in six consecutive games…the
club record is seven straight (2x-last July 27–Aug 4, 2019).
— The Rays began a 7-game homestand and dropped to 8-4 at home
this season and 23-6 (.793) at Tropicana Field since Aug 21, 2019.
— The Rays trailed 4-1 but tied it in the 6th before losing in extras…
failed to record their 10th come-from-behind win this season.
— The Rays lost all three series openers against the Blue Jays.
RYAN YARBROUGH—Matched season-highs with 6.1 IP and 6 SO but extended his career-long winless streak to 14 games, going 0-6 with a 5.03
ERA (73.1-IP, 41-ER) over that stretch…struck out all 3 BF in the 1st inning
but allowed 4 runs on 5 hits, including back-to-back homers, in the 2nd
before settling down to retire 11 of his next 13 BF, including a 5-pitch 4th…
allowed a pair of singles to start the 7th then struck out Santiago Espinal,
his last batter faced…allowed consecutive homers for the second time in
his career, following June 16, 2018 at NYY (5th inning, Giancarlo Stanton
and Gary Sánchez)…remains winless in his last 11 apps (9 starts) at Tropicana Field, going 0-4 with a 5.03 ERA (59-IP, 33-ER) over that stretch.
— Pitched into the 7th inning for the second time this season, following July 30 at ATL (6.1 IP)—no other Rays starter has done so once.
— In the 1st inning, struck out the side for only the third time in his
career and the first time since Aug 20, 2018 vs. KC (4th inning).
— Threw first-pitch strikes to 19 of 27 BF (70.4 pct.) and has thrown
first-pitch strikes to 68.2 pct. (90 of 132) of batters faced this season.
— Allowed nine batted balls with an exit velocity of 95+ mph—entered the game with the 5th-lowest avg. exit velocity in the majors.
BRANDON LOWE—Has 6 HR in his last 9 games (8 starts) and 9 HR in
his last 19 games…has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, batting .386
(17-for-44) with 7 HR and 15 RBI over that stretch…his 9 HR through 27
games are tied for 4th in Rays history and the most since Carlos Peña (11)
in 2009…batting .478 (12-for-27) with 3 HR this season against Toronto.
YANDY DÍAZ—Has homered in consecutive games for the second time
in his career, also doing so July 16-18, 2019 at NYY…is batting .390 (16-for41) with 2 HR and 12 RBI in his last 11 games…reached base in all 5 PA, the
second time in his career he reached five times (or more) without recording an out, following Aug 24, 2017 vs. BOS (with CLE).
JOSÉ MARTÍNEZ—His pinch-hit, 2-run double tied the game in the 6th
inning, his first game-tying or go-ahead RBI since a 2-run double on Sep
25, 2019 at ARI (with STL)…is batting .319 (29-for-91) in his career as a
pinch-hitter, the 3rd-best average in the majors since 2016 (min. 50 AB).

Clippers hold off hobbled Mavericks as Luka Doncic injures ankle — Press Telegram

Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic (77) grabs his left leg after being injured during the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Los Angeles Clippers Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool) Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell, center, and Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic (77) exchange…

Clippers hold off hobbled Mavericks as Luka Doncic injures ankle — Press Telegram