NBA

Raptors coach Nick Nurse fined $15K US for criticizing officials

Toronto Raptors head coach, Nick Nurse was fined $15,000 US by the NBA on Tuesday after comments he made to the media following the Raptors' 95-86 loss in Denver on Sunday.

Bench boss pays the price after demanding more whistles for Kawhi Leonard

Following the Raptors' loss in Denver on Sunday, Nick Nurse told the media he doesn't 'understand' why officials let other teams play Kawhi Leonard so physically.' (Noah K. Murray/Reuters)

Kawhi Leonard appreciates his coach's support, but it came at cost.

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse was fined $15,000 US by the NBA on Tuesday for comments he made to the media about officials following the Raptors' 95-86 loss in Denver on Sunday.

"It's great . . . he can see the game," Leonard told reporters after Tuesday's practice. "We're playing it and we might see it a certain way and we always feel like we're right on the floor, but when you have your coach watching it and seeing the same things you're feeling then it's great."

Nurse had lashed out at officials, saying he didn't understand why they were allowing opponents to "play one of the best players in the league so physically."

"It's been going on all year," Nurse said after the game. "But tonight was a very severe case of a guy who was playing great, taking it to the rim and getting absolutely held, grabbed, poked, slapped, hit and everything, and they refused to call any of it. It's unbelievable to me."

Watch: Is Kawhi to blame for Raptors' losses?

CBC Sports Anson Henry discusses some questions raised about Kawhi Leonard's effect on The Raptors this season. 1:44

C.J. Miles said bigger, stronger players such as Leonard routinely take a beating because they're capable of playing through a lot of contact.

"Sometimes, getting hit, it might not look the same as if Freddy (VanVleet) went in there and got hit, but it's still a foul," Miles said.

He believes a vocal coach can translate to favourable calls on the floor.

"It helps. I played for Jerry Sloan [in Utah] and he talked to the referees in a way, I don't know how to put it, but definitely, they hear you," Miles said. "They're human beings, they make mistakes, the way you approach them, the way you talk to them definitely makes a difference."

Nurse said Tuesday that his comments were a long time coming.

"So I just thought it was time to do it. And . . . I'm gonna back my players," the coach said. "I don't mind physicality in the least. I don't mind it in the least, both ends of the floor."

Sunday's game at Denver capped a four-game western road trip that saw the Raptors go 2-2.

Despite the two losses, the Raptors (23-9) continue to lead the league. They host Indiana on Wednesday and Cleveland on Friday.