Opinion: Masterful moves of coach Nick Nurse have Raptors on brink of first NBA title

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SportsPulse: Much will be made about the demise of the Warriors dynasty and the absence of Kevin Durant, but it is time to give props to the Toronto Raptors. They look and are playing like champions.
USA TODAY

TORONTO — For all the numbers and analytics that drive so many decisions in the NBA, there is no real data set that can quantify the impact of a head coach. Differentiating a great one from a good one from one who is utterly replaceable remains a parlor game for our eyes, often dependent on factors completely outside their control. 

But when you watch these NBA Finals, which the Toronto Raptors now lead 3-1 with a possible championship clincher at home on Monday (9 p.m. ET, ABC), it’s impossible to avoid the feeling that first-year head coach Nick Nurse is conducting a master class in game-to-game adjustments, lineup management, composure and trust. 

Toronto still has work to do to lift the trophy, and Golden State still has time to rewrite the narrative. But Nurse, once a coaching vagabond of basketball’s minor leagues, has proven that NBA teams don’t need to keep recycling the same names to find a coach who can thrive on the biggest stage. 

“He’s been…

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