Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic
In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse formed the perfect ``O'' with his mouth and held it for a dozen or so seconds.
Oh, these playoffs. They can leave your mouth agape _ just like Nurse's gone-viral expression on the bench during a win Sunday in Orlando.
Now leading 3-1, Nurse and the Raptors look to close out their series with the Magic at home Tuesday. The same goes for Philadelphia against Brooklyn and Portland against Oklahoma City.
The second-seeded Denver Nuggets return home Tuesday following their first victory in San Antonio since 2012. Tied at 2, they've reclaimed home-court advantage as Nuggets coach Michael Malone finds himself in quite a chess match with his counterpart Gregg Popovich.
``He's Bobby Fischer,'' Malone said, in comparing Popovich to the chess prodigy. ``He's a savant. So I'm not worried about matching wits with Gregg Popovich. I'm worried about helping our team.''
Face it, this was comical: The look of Nurse, who instantly became a meme with his expression during a Game 4 win. After a 3-second call on Fred VanVleet in the opening quarter, Nurse stood almost perfectly still on the sideline, his mouth ajar.
Informed it erupted on social media, Nurse said: ``Is that a good thing?''
Here's perhaps a not-so-good thing: Toronto's history in closing out series. The Raptors are 5-6 when they have a chance to win a playoff series, according to the team.
``This team, let's see if they can start their own history,'' Nurse said. ``We need to do our best to take care of business.''
It certainly was a wild weekend around the league, with Brooklyn GM Sean Marks drawing a one-game suspension _ and a fine _ for entering the referees' locker room after a Game 4 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday. In that game, Brooklyn's Jared Dudley and Philadelphia's Jimmy Butler were ejected after a scuffle broke out following Joel Embiid's flagrant foul against Jarrett Allen in the third quarter. The league fined Dudley $25,000 and Butler $15,000.
San Antonio guard DeMar DeRozan got hit in the wallet by the league, too, after tossing the basketball in the direction of an official following a called he didn't like in a Game 4 loss. Asked Monday at practice if there was anything he regrets about the incident besides the $25,000, DeRozan responded: ``The 25-grand. I don't want to just give away that much money.''
The series between the Nuggets and Spurs has been highly entertaining, with each team earning a win on the other's home floor.
``Back at square one,'' DeRozan said. ``Got to go in there and win in a tough environment. It should be fun.''