The Toronto Raptors started their 6 game home stand with an upset 105-106 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Both teams were coming into the game having played the night before, (Toronto a win in Atlanta while Denver a loss in Chicago).
It was the Raptors who started the more sluggish of the two sides however going down early and trailing 29-19 at the end of the first. Denver continued the second quarter looking like the in-form team outscoring the Raptors again to take a commanding 56-42 half time lead.
There was brief hope of a come back when a Kyle Lowry 3 pointer lowered the deficit to 7 but the Nuggets responded with 9-0 run to re-establish control in the game. In the fourth quarter the Raptors started to pull things back and for brief while looked as though they would go onto to steal the game after a Corey Joseph drive cut the Denver lead to two with the Raptors being down 88-90, but it wasn’t to be as again Denver was allowed to escape and Toronto were forced to be the ones playing catch up with little time remaining.
After 20 of 82 games the Raptors are now 12-8, they next face the undefeated Golden State Warriors at home in two nights time.
A late run in the final quarter masks what was a poor shooting performance and a lackluster overall display. Firstly just 19 points in the opening frame put the Raptors in a hole they never got out of. The Raptors were unable to get back in the game, missing multiple chances to do so and continuing to attempt isolation drive plays instead of moving the ball. It was also a shooting display to forget as Lowry and DeMarre Carroll combined to shoot 7-28 from the field.
DeMar DeRozan put in 34 points and early on seemed to be doing all the Raptors scoring. DeRozan was for the most parts efficient shooting a decent 14-26 from the field. 3 point shooting was dismal however as the team shot only 29.6% and simply could not find their range. On the plus side the Raptors only gave up 5 turnovers.
The Raptors gave up 106 points to the Denver Nuggets so that pretty much sums it up. Toronto was just unable to get the critical stop when they needed to, which could have made all the difference. Kenneth Faried went unused but Denver was always able to find scorers when it mattered. Most of their points coming from Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton. Lowry ended the game with four steals as Denver only gave up 11 turnovers.
The Raptors were out rebounded (42-39) for one of few times this season. Bismack Biyombo carried the load with 7 and no player was able to find double figures in this department. Part of this can be attributed to Denver hitting every single free throw and being overall clinical shooting wise but tonight it feels as if the Raptors just gave up way to much in every department.
Game Ball: Danilo Gallinari
Denver had a lot of their guys contribute tonight but it was Danilo Gallinari who helped the Nuggets pull away whenever the Raptors looked like maybe getting it back. He finished the game with 21 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists with 7-13 shooting as well as having zero turnovers. While a lot of Nuggets had a big night it was Gallinari who led his team to victory so for that he can have the game ball.