Raptors coach Nick Nurse has come under fire on social media after encroaching on the game and appearing to fool Tatum into a pass in their playoff clash against the Boston Celtics.
The reigning NBA champions rose to the moment as the Toronto Raptors beat the Boston Celtics in double overtime to take their play-offs series to a Game 7.
‘WHAT A FINISH’: Raptors stun Celtics with insane buzzer-beater
The Raptors faced a sizeable early deficit. They trailed in the fourth quarter. And again in the first overtime. And again in the second overtime.
But they still managed to pull off a 125-122 win over the Celtics in Game 6 on Wednesday night.
But one moment that had Celtic fans fuming was when coach Nurse appeared to take a step onto the court, while Boston were in possession.
Nurse was yelling instructions to his team when he moved into the corner of the court.
Tatum must have presumed he was a free man and flung the ball his way, only for it to go out.
Fans on social media were quick to point out Nurse shouldn’t have been encroaching.
Others labelled him an ‘evil genius’.
Did Nick Nurse just bait Tatum into that pass lol pic.twitter.com/VPN5GdxqsG— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) September 10, 2020
Nick Nurse. 6th Raptor on the floor. Evil genius. pic.twitter.com/4QWMOIotmn— Tas Melas (@TasMelas) September 10, 2020
NBA needs to fine the Raptors or suspend Nick Nurse for this play.— FLEE TV ™ (@FLEESPORTS) September 10, 2020
He purposely stands in the corner with a shooting motion to trick Jayson Tatum causing a game changing turn over. #NBA #NBAPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/2QdIyE94qp
Didn't realize until after the game the reason Tatum passed to Nurse wasn't just because Nurse was standing out of the coach box, but he was literally standing in bounds in the corner.— Jared Weiss (@JaredWeissNBA) September 10, 2020
"That was my fault. Can’t blame Nick Nurse. He’s not playing. It was my fault," Tatum said. pic.twitter.com/yHbyqn0OXw
After the game, Jaylen Brown called out Nurse for getting too involved.
“I think there was a lot of emotions, it is very intense,” he said.
“Sometimes things seem to go overboard at times...grown men should be able to control themselves, especially the coaching staff.”
Raptors and Celtics go to Game 7
Next up is a deciding game on Friday for a spot in the eastern conference finals against the Miami Heat.
"Game 7 to go to the eastern conference finals," Toronto guard Fred VanVleet said.
"All you can ask for is a chance."
Kyle Lowry scored 33 points in 53 minutes for Toronto and was left on his back, laying on the court, breathing fairly heavily and with his fists thrown high in the air when Norman Powell made an important late bucket and was fouled in the process.
That's about when he realised the Raptors weren't flying home from the NBA's Orlando bubble on Thursday.
"Thank you, Norm. ... That was cool. We needed that," Lowry said.
Lowry played the entire second half again, the third time that happened in the past four Toronto games, while Pascal Siakam played a whopping 54 minutes.
Jaylen Brown had 31 points and 16 rebounds for the Celtics, who had their starters on the floor - without a single sub - for the final 22-plus minutes.
Marcus Smart had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists but missed a 3-pointer that would have tied it with about three seconds left in the second extra period.
"We had a lot of opportunities down the stretch and we didn't take care of the all as good as we needed to," Brown said.
"That's fine. We're heading into a Game 7. We feel good about ourselves."
Centre Daniel Theis was the only Celtics starter not to play at least 50 minutes on Thursday - he played 47 minutes.
Boston will be in a Game 7 for the 33rd time; they're 23-9 all-time - but have lost four of their past seven deciding games.
The Raptors are 3-2 in Game 7s.
Later on Thursday, Kawhi Leonard finished an assist shy of his first play-off triple-double as the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 96-85 to be one win away from advancing to the western conference finals.
Leonard filled up the stat sheet with 30 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, four steals and two blocked shots.
He has scored 30 or more points six times during this post-season.
Nikola Jokic had 26 points and 11 boards for the Nuggets, who fought back from same 3-1 series deficit against the Utah Jazz in the first round of the playoffs.