On Sunday night at Pepsi Center, NBA fans have witnessed the clash between the two teams who currently hold the best records in their respective conferences – the Denver Nuggets and the Toronto Raptors. Both teams seemed to be evenly matched earlier in the game, but the Raptors managed to take an eight-point lead at the end of the first half.
However, the Nuggets bounced back in the third and fourth quarter and gave the Raptors their second straight defeat, 95-86. Jamal Murray established an explosive performance late in the game, scoring 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. After beating powerhouse teams like the Raptors, Golden State Warriors, and the Boston Celtics, Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone confidently declared Denver as the “best team for the time being.”
However, Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse doesn’t look happy with the outcome of their game against the Nuggets. In a post-game interview, Nurse voiced his frustration with the way the game was officiated, saying that it was alarming that their best player, Kawhi Leonard, only got four free throws despite the Nuggets being very physical with him.
“Tonight was a very severe case of a guy who was playing great, taking it to the rim, and just absolutely getting held, grabbed, poked, slapped, hit and everything. And they refused to call any of it,” Nurse said, via ESPN. “It was unbelievable to me. You can’t tell me one of the best players in the league takes a hundred hits in that game and shoots four free throws.”
Kawhi Leonard is like a new toy, a toy you want to use as much as you can. And the @Raptors are still learning how to best use their new toy so it doesn’t get worn out, and the other toys don’t gather too much dust, writes @SmithRaps.https://t.co/PyaBXq6uhM— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) December 17, 2018
Kawhi Leonard, who finished the game with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and four assists, shared the same sentiment as Coach Nick Nurse. However, instead of wasting his energy complaining to the referees, Leonard decided to keep his focus on the game.
“It’s been very physical. I just go with the next play,” Leonard said. “I pride myself on just keep moving and keep going.”
They may be some truth regarding Coach Nick Nurse’s allegation, but the Raptors should not put all the blame on the officiating. After dominating the first three quarters, the Raptors showed a poor performance on the offensive end of the floor in the fourth quarter where they only shot 4-of-23 from the field and 1-of-13 from beyond the arc. Also, in their recent game against the Nuggets, the Raptors were missing some of their key players, including Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, and Jonas Valanciunas.