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Nick Nurse gets ‘Saint Nick’ treatment from Raptors fans

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Just like that, the Toronto Raptors are NBA champions.

The Raps defeated the Golden State Warriors in the 2019 NBA Final — effectively crowning Kawhi Leonard as the dynasty killer — and delivered the first-ever NBA championship to Canada.

Certainly, the NBA Finals were tainted by devastating injuries in back-to-back games to Kevin Durant (torn Achilles) and Klay Thompson (torn ACL), but the Warriors still put up a tremendous fight in six games. In the end though, they were ultimately unable to force a Game 7 behind the depth and defensive prowess of the Raptors.

Much of that defensive brilliance can be chalked up to the Raptors’ personnel, which was put together by mastermind Masai Ujiri, but a lot of the credit must also go to first-year Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.

Nurse had been a journeyman coach before landing in the NBA D League, where he won two D League championships as a head coach — one with the Iowa Energy (now the Iowa Wolves) and one with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Nurse also held head coaching positions at Grand View University (at the tender age of 23) and spent 11 seasons as a head coach in the British Basketball League.

Though Nurse was questioned throughout his first season, the results speak for themselves. Nurse seemingly pushed all the right buttons on his way to an NBA championship, and Raptors fans had nothing but adulation for him during the team’s victory parade, as this shrine in Toronto would indicate.

Perhaps he might not be a holy man just yet, but Raptors fans are likely ready to christen him as such after the team’s magical run to the title.