“Somebody’s gotta do it:” Nurse gives hope for historic Raptors comeback

Apr 22 2022, 11:05 pm

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse is not ready to throw in the towel just yet. 

Even if history’s not quite on his group’s side. 

No team in NBA history has ever rallied from a 3-0 deficit, the task Nurse’s Raptors face in its opening-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers after dropping each of the first three games. 

They’re down. 

But not out, according to Nurse.

“Well, I think it’s a heck of a challenge, and somebody’s gotta do it,” he told media Friday. That’s the way I look at it. Somebody’s gotta do it. And if it gets to 3-1, it’s not 3-0 anymore. 

“And 3-1 has been done.”

It certainly has. Multiple times. 

And Nurse needs to only look across the court to see the coach who’s been victimized multiple times by the lead. 76ers skipper Doc Rivers is the only coach to blow three 3-1 series leads in NBA history. 

The first time happened in 2003 with Rivers at the helm of the Orlando Magic. The Magic held a 3-1 series lead against the Detroit Pistons in the opening round of the playoffs before dropping Game 5 by 31 points and Games 6 and 7 by seven points each to lose the best-of-seven set. 

It happened to Rivers again in 2015.

Leading the Los Angeles Clippers, Rivers’ squad jumped out to a 3-1 series lead in the conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets. The rest is history. 

Fast forward to 2020, with Rivers still at the helm of the Clippers. His group jumped out to a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets before folding for three straight losses, losing the balance of the series by a combined 34 points. 

But before the Raptors push for a fourth Rivers’ folley, they need to win the first one. 

Because a loss ends their season. 

“I haven’t talked about the consequences of a loss,” Nurse said. “I think they’re probably fully aware…win or be done, put the balls away for the year.

“We’ve got to do some things a little better, for sure, and we’ve got to play as hard as we did and play as physical as we did and get one on the board to keep this thing going and we’ll see where it goes from there.

“They’re going to come and play.”

Aaron VickersAaron Vickers

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