Basketball fans witnessed quite the showdown Tuesday morning. Nick Nurse, Jonas Valanciunas's former coach on the Toronto Raptors, ignited a friendly feud at the FIBA World Cup. The two went head-to-head during Team Canada’s face-off against Lithuania. Despite their Raptors bond, the game was incredibly competitive with Nurse even throwing some shade at JV ahead of the match.
"I obviously love Jonas. But I'm gonna try to kick his ass tomorrow," Nurse said, according to The Score. "I don't know if there was a guy that I spent as much time with and had a strong, long relationship like him."
Valanciunas and Nurse spent a total of six seasons together in Toronto before the Raptors traded the beloved centre for Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies. The trade came midway through their 2018-2019 season, which would eventually become the Raptors' NBA Championship year.
JV’s impact on the team was recently praised by former teammate Kyle Lowry, who insisted last week that Valanciunas should receive a championship ring for his time served with the franchise.
So, how did JV react to his former NBA coach’s smack talk? He took the high ground. Valanciunas shut down Nurse’s comments by explaining that he didn’t “look at it that way.”
Jonas Valanciunas: "I don't look at it that way. For me, the most important thing is to win, not to kick somebody's… https://t.co/7eWriqgs68— Donatas Urbonas (@Donatas Urbonas)1567441656.0
"For me, the most important thing is to win, not to kick somebody's ass. Either we play against NBA stars or players from Europe. Canada is a good team. It will be a tough battle,” JV stated according to Lithuanian reporter Donatas Urbonas.
Canada won't advance at the World Cup after a big loss to Lithuania. 🇱🇹 🏀 #FIBAWC https://t.co/R1GuSte8Xl— theScore (@theScore)1567516926.0
Lithuania defeated Canada 92-69 during today's game, killing Canada's chances of advancing in the FIBA World Cup. Valanciunas led Lithuania to victory, putting up a stunning 13 points. Nurse may have come to talk, but JV came to play.