Toronto Raptors fire head coach Nick Nurse
The Toronto Raptors fired head coach Nick Nurse on Friday.
During his media conference on Friday discussing the firing, Raptors vice-chairman and president Masai Ujiri repeatedly mentioned changing the culture of the team was at the heart of the decision.
“This has been hard, the last week and a half,” Ujiri said, adding the goal of having a replacement in place before the NBA draft made the most sense. “There was nothing contentious about this.
“Winning, and the future, is where we have to look.”
The firing of Nurse ends a rocky final season with the club four years after he guided the team to its first and only NBA title.
The Raptors finished a disappointing ninth in the East at 41-41 this year and lost their first play-in game against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday.
Nurse’s name was linked to the Houston Rockets’ job in a couple of published reports last month with former Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka being rumored as a Raptors possibility. Then, he expanded on his future before a game in Philadelphia, saying he’d evaluate his future with the club after the season.
When pressed for more thoughts the next game, Nurse, who had one year left on his contract with the Raptors, refused to go further, saying he was concentrating on the current situation.
Throughout the year, there were signs of a disconnect between the Nurse and the front office. The coach leaned heavily on his starters and young players like Malachi Flynn and Delano Banton got little playing time.
While Nurse said he has a good relationship with President Masai Ujiiri at his end-of-season media availability, the turbulence throughout the season showed they may not always have been aligned.
The disappointing final year was a stark contrast to a good chunk of the rest of Nurse’s time as head coach.
After the team cut ties with head coach Dwane Casey following the 2017-18 season, the Raptors promoted then-assistant Nurse to the top job. He proceeded to guide the Raptors to the NBA title in his first season at the helm after the club made a blockbuster trade for Kawhi Leonard.
Despite losing Leonard in free agency the next summer, Nurse’s Raptors got off to a 46-18 start in 2019-20 before COVID-19 halted play. Upon their return to the Orlando bubble, the Raptors advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs, where they lost in seven games to the Boston Celtics.
Nurse was named NBA coach of the year in 2019-20 and then signed a contract extension.
But with the pandemic still going, the Raptors were forced to relocate to Tampa, Fla. for the 2020-21 season. With the season going poorly, the campaign was dubbed “The Tampa Tank” and the Raptors ended up getting the fourth overall pick, which they used to select Scottie Barnes.
Barnes was rookie of the year the following season as the Raptors rose to fifth in the East before losing in six games to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round.
Nurse arrived in Toronto as an assistant in 2013, a job he held for five years.
Previously, the well-travelled Nurse had worked in the G League, winning two championships as a head coach.
The 55-year-old Iowa native cut his coaching teeth in the British Basketball League.
Nurse was 227-163 in 360 regular-season games as head coach in Toronto.
2023 Canadian Open: Live stream, watch online, TV schedule, channel, tee times, radio, golf coverage – CBS Sports
One last tune up for the U.S. Open takes place this week at the 2023 Canadian Open at Oakdale Golf and Country Club in Toronto, Ontario. The third-oldest running tournament on the PGA Tour schedule behind just the U.S. Open and The Open, the Canadian Open will feature a stout field as players look to find their footing ahead of the third major championship of the season.
The field is headlined by world No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who looks to pull off a rare three-peat. A seven-stroke winner at the 2019 Canadian Open at Hamilton Golf & Country Club, the Northern Irishman successfully defended his title three years later (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) at St. George’s Golf & Country Club. If he is to win this week, McIlroy will have claimed three Canadian Open titles on three different golf courses spanning five years.
Looking to get in McIlroy’s way is reigning U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick. Set to defend his title next week at Los Angeles Country Club, the Englishman has his sights on claiming his second victory of the season — as does his fellow countryman Justin Rose. The English contingent is rounded out by Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood, both of whom appear keen on breaking a winless drought on the PGA Tour.
Cameron Young hopes to find some form following a pair of missed cuts, as does Sam Burns. Shane Lowry and Sahith Theegala are eager at the prospect of raising the trophy, while Canadians Corey Conners, Nick Taylor, Adam Hadwin and many more look to put together a memorable performance in front of their very own.
All times Eastern; streaming start times approximated
Round 3 – Saturday
Round starts: 9:15 a.m.
PGA Tour Live: 9:15 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. — PGA Tour Live
Early TV coverage: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. on Golf Channel
Live TV coverage: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on CBS
Live simulcast: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App
Radio: 2 – 7:30 p.m. — PGA Tour Radio
Round 4 – Sunday
Round starts: 8:15 a.m.
PGA Tour Live: 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. — PGA Tour Live
Early TV coverage: 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. on Golf Channel
Live TV coverage: 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. on CBS
Live simulcast: 2:30 – 6:30 p.m. on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App
Radio: 1 – 6:30 p.m. — PGA Tour Radio
Bobrovsky bounces back, Panthers win Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final – NHL.com
SUNRISE, Fla. — Before Matthew Tkachuk and Carter Verhaeghe were the late-game heroes for the Florida Panthers, Sergei Bobrovsky was back to doing what he did best.
The Panthers goalie rebounded from being pulled in his previous start to make 25 saves in in a 3-2 overtime victory against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final at FLA Live Arena on Thursday.
Florida still trails 2-1 in the best-of-7 series, with Game 4 here Saturday (8 p.m. ET; TNT, TBS, truTV, CBC, SN, TVAS), but has life now after rallying from 2-1 deficit with Tkachuk scoring the tying goal with 2:13 left in the third period and Verhaeghe scoring the winner 4:27 into overtime. But the Panthers wouldn’t have been in position to pull out the first Stanley Cup Final victory in their history without Bobrovsky.
He was at his best in the second period, stopping 12 of the 13 shots he faced to prevent Vegas from building more than a one-goal lead.
“I can’t even count how many huge saves he made tonight,” Verhaeghe said. “Probably at least 10.”
[RELATED: Complete Stanley Cup Final coverage]
Panthers coach Paul Maurice scoffed Wednesday at the suggestion that Bobrovsky might not start Game 3 after he was pulled in the second period of a 7-2 loss in Game 2 on Monday after allowing four goals on 13 shots. So, Maurice couldn’t resist asking the media postgame Thursday, “You want to ask who’s starting next game?”
Bobrovsky didn’t seem bothered that he was pulled in Game 2, saying, “It is what it is.”
“I only can control the things that I can control,” Bobrovsky said. “You try to give your best and sometimes it’s happening, so it’s OK. As long as you stay mentally [focused] and the series goes on, and tonight is a big win for us.”
Video: VGK@FLA, Gm3: Bobrovsky stops Theodore and Howden
Still, Bobrovsky wasn’t the same goalie in the first two games against Vegas as he had been in the second and third rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Carolina Hurricanes, when he was 8-1 with a 1.51 goals-against average, .954 save percentage and one shutout.
Vegas utilized screens in front and took advantage of Florida’s defensive breakdowns on rush chances to score eight times on 46 shots on Bobrovsky in the first two games. It helped that Florida played with better defensive structure in front of Bobrovsky on Thursday, but he also elevated his play to make big saves at key moments.
Among them was a glove save on defenseman Nicolas Hague‘s open shot from the left circle at 4:05 of the second period and a right pad stop on Jonathan Marchessault‘s shot from the left circle at 5:49 of the second to keep the score tied 1-1.
“He’s been doing it for us all year and especially the last couple weeks,” Panthers forward Sam Reinhart said. “When we’re in lanes, we’re kind of back defensively collapsing, it makes it a little bit easier on him and he’s been making the spectacular saves at the right time, and that’s what you need at this time of year.”
“Every game he’s giving us a chance to win the game,” Panthers center Aleksander Barkov said. “And today, no different. He was incredible for us. Made some unreal saves in literally every period. He gave us the chance to win, and we used that chance.”
Video: Panthers earn comeback OT victory in Game 3 of SCF
Bobrovsky said he didn’t feel that different than he did in Game 2.
“I felt pretty comfortable last game too, but I feel good tonight as well,” he said.
Instead, he credited his teammates for the way they played in front of him.
“This game, the coaches gave us a pretty clear plan, and I thought the guys were executing it unbelievably tonight,” Bobrovsky said. “We defended very well. We didn’t give much space or room for them, or time, so that’s a big win for us.”
Blue Jays cut ties with pitcher Anthony Bass amid backlash over anti-LGBTQ social media post
Reliever Anthony Bass has been designated for assignment by the Toronto Blue Jays.
It’s the latest development in a controversy that began last week when Bass shared a social media post that supported anti-LGBTQ boycotts.
Bass, who made a public apology last week for the post, had been scheduled to catch the ceremonial first pitch by LGBTQ advocate leZlie Lee Kam when the Jays hosted Minnesota on Friday night to kick off their Pride Weekend.
The Blue Jays said pitcher Kevin Gausman would catch the first pitch instead.
The decision to include Bass was met with criticism by some on social media.
Bass has a 0-0 record and 4.95 earned-run average over 22 appearances this season.
Toronto called up right-hander Mitch White in a corresponding roster move.
Bass had shared a since-deleted video post urging others to spurn Target and Bud Light over the support they showed for the LGBTQ community.
He said in a scrum that he initially did not think the video post — which described the selling of Pride-themed merchandise as “evil” and “demonic” — was hateful.
“That’s why I posted it originally,” he said. “When I look back at it, I can see how people can view it that way and that’s why I was apologetic.”
Before Friday’s game, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said the decision to cut Bass was primarily motivated by performance and not by the pitcher’s off-the-field circumstances.
“There’s a myriad of variables,” Atkins said. “Performance is usually the driving one and performance was a large aspect of this decision. Distraction was a small part of it and something we had to factor in.”
Atkins refused to say whether Bass would still be on the team if his performance had been better.
“We’re trying to build the best possible team we can build,” Atkins said. “This was a baseball decision to make our team better.”
Atkins also said it was not “a realistic option” for Bass to land in Toronto’s minor league system.
“We won’t stand in his way to be with another organization,” Atkins said.
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