Nurse salutes 'big-time' Leonard performance
Nick Nurse saluted a "big-time performance at both ends" from Kawhi Leonard after he inspired the Toronto Raptors to a 108-95 victory in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semi-finals series against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Leonard scored a career playoff high 45 points and claimed 11 rebounds as the Raptors drew first blood at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday.
The Raptors superstar also became only the sixth player in NBA history to pour in at least 45 points, grab 11 rebounds and make three or more three-pointers.
Raptors head coach Nurse hailed the contribution that the outstanding forward made both in attack and defence.
"A big-time performance at both ends," he told reporters. "I just like the force he's playing with at both ends, but especially when he's getting the ball.
"He's pushing it up the floor. He's punching the gaps with force. He's determined to get to spaces.
"I guess I should not be surprised, but that was pretty cool to watch."
Leonard stated that the victory was all that mattered to him.
"This individual stuff, it's not big for me," Leonard said. "To reach these goals, it's great when you do it and you could win.
"But our focus is every game trying to win the ballgame. That's why we're playing this game. We're not playing so I could score 50 or get 40 points; we're all on this team trying to say, 'Raptors win' at the end of the day."