Raptors and Team Canada coach Nick Nurse wants to kick Jonas Valanciunas’ ass in FIBA World Cup
As Canada prepares for their must-win game versus Lithuania on Monday, head coach Nick Nurse said that he plans to give Jonas Valanciunas and his team the good old-fashioned beating.
“Obviously love Jonas, but I’m going to try to kick his ass tomorrow,” Nurse said, per Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun.
When Valanciunas heard about what Nurse said, however, he had a more serious response.
“I don’t look at it that way. For me, the most important thing is to win, not to kick somebody’s ass. Either we play against NBA stars, or players from Europe, Canada is a good team. It will be a tough battle,” Valanciunas told Lithuanian journalist Donatas Urbonas.
Nurse had a chance to work with Valanciunas over the past few years with the Toronto Raptors before the latter was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in the middle of the 2018-19 season. Nurse still found a way to joke about his former player despite the fact that a loss against Lithuania will officially end their quest for gold in the FIBA World Cup.
Only the top two teams from each group will advance to the second round of the tournament, and as it currently stands, Canada will need to win their next two games in order to have a legitimate shot at moving on to the next stage. They have already lost against Australia while Lithuania won their first game against Senegal.
If Canada loses, Lithuania will automatically move on to the next round. Meanwhile, Nurse and Co. will have to hope that Senegal blows out the Boomers to even get a slim chance of qualifying to the next stage.