The Toronto Raptors 11 game winning streak is now over. The Raptors fell to the Denver Nuggets 112-93 in a game that really wasn’t close after the first quarter. The Raptors put up one of their worst performances of the year, where nothing seemed to go their way. The altitude difference in Denver was likely a factor, but the Raptors simply came out flat. They didn’t hit shots they normally do, nor did they play with the same energy we normally see from this team. More bad news – James Johnson left the game with what appears to be an ankle injury, and was reportedly walking on crutches. With a DeMarre Carroll injury, the Raps will now have to get really creative, with Terrence Ross seeing significantly more playing time.
Let’s get to the report card:
Denver is not a good defensive team. The Raptors shot 37.2% from the field, 69% from the free throw line, totalled 13 assists, and managed just 93 points in a high scoring, fast paced game. There were a ton of ‘gimmes’ that the Raptors missed, and there really isn’t much you can say. Denver didn’t win, the Raptors lost.
DeMar DeRozan was the lone bright spot with 24 points on 7-14 shooting and 10-11 at the line. I thought Jonas Valanciunas also looked pretty good at times, but only logged 18 minutes for some reason. He still put up 10 points and 8 rebounds during that span.
You simply cannot let Denver score 112 points. The interior defense was unacceptable. JV and Bismack Biyombo did not get it done, as Nikola Jokic torched them for 27 points. Will Barton also poured in 20 off the bench. Denver shot a sky high 54% from the field.
The other categories might have been slightly harsh, but this certainly was not. The Raptors got outrebounded 49 to 35 – this is a hustle discrepancy. Jokic terrorized the interior with 14 rebounds, and nobody aside from JV really looked good on the glass. Just a tough loss.
Game Ball: Nikola Jokic
27-14 for the young fella. He’s going to be a good player soon enough. He really made the Raptors big men look foolish tonight.
It’s crazy how much can change after one game. There isn’t much time for the Raptors to dwell on this one, as they have another game tomorrow night against the Phoenix Suns. Let’s hope they can get on track and start a new winning streak.