Raptors coach Nick Nurse’s 94-year-old mother dies

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Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse looks on as his team plays the Cleveland Cavaliers in first half NBA basketball action in Toronto on Wednesday, October 17, 2018. (Nathan Denette/CP)

LOS ANGELES — Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse has rejoined his team in Los Angeles after the death of his 94-year-old mother.

Nurse says his mother, Marcella Nurse, died Monday in Iowa, where he was born in the city of Carroll.

He plans to coach Tuesday night against the Clippers and Wednesday at Golden State before returning to Iowa.

"I’m here because my mother wouldn’t want it any other way," Nurse said before the game.

In June, Nurse was promoted from assistant to head coach of the Raptors after Dwane Casey was fired. He has led the team to a record of 21-7, best in the NBA.

"She had a big impact because she had nine of us and I was the last one," the 51-year-old coach said. "Lots of games — 94 years, nine kids and about 80,000 games watched are her final stats."

Marcella Nurse lived in Carroll for more than 60 years. She endured a suspenseful wait in June before Nurse was elevated to head coach of the Raptors.

"The anticipation was just something you wouldn’t imagine," she told the Daily Times Herald newspaper in Carroll.

Marcella Nurse followed her youngest son’s playing exploits in basketball, football, baseball and track and field.

"He was always busy, trying to learn about all kinds of sports," she said.

Marcella Nurse was preceded in death by her husband, Maurice. He died in July 2015 at age 89.

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