TORONTO — He was surrounded and hugged, had his hair messed up and some water poured on his head, was even in the center of a big group dance.
Don Nelson has been somewhat nonchalant the past few weeks when he's been asked about potentially becoming the NBA's all-time leader in coaching victories. But the scene after the Warriors' heart-stopping 113-112 win over the Toronto Raptors at a raucous Air Canada Centre told a completely different story.
Moments after Chris Bosh's layup attempt lipped out just before time expired, Nelson put his hands on his head and wore a look of relief as he secured NBA career victory No. 1,332 to match all-time leader Lenny Wilkens. He then was surrounded by nearly all of his exuberant players and flashed a huge smile in what's arguably been his most trying season in 31 years of coaching.
"You live for moments like that, really, when your team wants something more than you do yourself," Nelson said. "They were just so happy and as a group they were a part of it. They put me in their circle of hope or whatever they call that. I've been practicing and did a little dance for them."
Forward Corey Maggette scored 31 points and Stephen Curry had 29 points and 12 assists, and both hit a pair of free throws in the last 10 seconds. Curry sank his with 3.2 seconds remaining to give the Warriors a 113-110 edge, but Bosh was fouled after the ensuing inbounds pass with 2.9 seconds left.
Bosh made both his free throws when the Warriors were expecting him to purposely miss his second attempt. But Sonny Weems stole the inbounds pass by Ronny Turiaf and fed the ball to Bosh, whose shot was contested by Turiaf. It bounced hard off the glass and rolled off the rim.
"It's a game that guaranteed, he will forever remember," Turiaf said. "That's what it's all about. I think he's going to remember all those young guys fighting out there for him and doing whatever we could to get that record."
The Warriors have six more games this season, and Nelson has his first opportunity to break the record Tuesday when Golden State visits the Washington Wizards.
"I just think that congratulations are in order for Nellie," Wilkens, 72, told NBA FanHouse. "Hey, records are made to be broken. I either thought it would be Nellie or Pat Riley (eventually breaking it). I just want to say congratulations."
The Warriors have only six road wins this year, but none has been as thrilling or satisfying as Sunday's.
"What a game to tie the record. Unbelievable," Nelson said. "That is about everything you would want from good to bad, to playing great, to wetting the bed. We did about all of that. Somehow, we prevailed."
The Warriors were out-rebounded 55-40 and were outscored in the paint 48-24 as Bosh finished with 42 points and 12 rebounds. Still, Golden State had a 105-89 lead with just under seven minutes remaining.
But the Warriors went 0-for-4 from the field and had three turnovers in a five-minute span, as Toronto climbed to within 107-103 with 2:10 to go.
The Warriors led 109-106 with 11.6 seconds left when Curry missed two free throws, giving the Raptors a chance to tie the game. Golden State forward Devean George fouled Toronto guard Jarrett Jack immediately after the ball was inbounded, and Jack hit both free throws with 10.2 seconds left.
"You sure appreciate getting a win when you go through a year like we've been through," Nelson said. "It's been so hard to win games. We've battled and fought and we've come close, but we haven't won many close games.
"This one was special for me. It was a close game, we won by a point, and it will sure be a game I remember."
Wizards, 4 p.m.
Coaching to the top
Most wins by an NBA coach: