Photo Credit: Toronto Raptors/Twitter
The Toronto Raptors lost 121-111 to the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena on Thursday night, splitting the season series between the teams at a win apiece.
The game was tight through three quarters, with the Nuggets taking an 87-85 lead into the fourth. With Toronto’s second unit on the floor to start the final quarter, Denver scored 15 unanswered points, effectively sealing the game.
Michael Porter Jr. led the way for the Nuggets, scoring 23 points and grabbing seven boards on 8-of-19 shooting. Nikola Jokic scored 19 points and secured 11 rebounds, while being limited to only two assists.
OG Anunoby continued his hot streak on offence, leading Toronto with 25 points, sinking four shots from beyond the arc. Kyle Lowry scored 20 points, going 5-for-10 from three-point range in his 600th career game as a Raptor. Khem Birch had a career night offensively, scoring 20 points, grabbing eight rebounds and showing off some of his passing ability from the post with four assists.
The Raptors were red-hot from deep all game, going 16-for-32 from downtown. Each of the starters ended the night shooting 50 percent from three. The Nuggets scored most of their buckets from inside the three-point line, hitting only 34.3 percent of their attempts from outside.
Toronto was outrebounded 47-35 as they struggled against a bigger Denver squad. The Nuggets crashed the glass, recording 14 offensive rebounds and translating them into 21 second-chance points.
Denver forced a lot of turnovers with aggressive pressure and trapping of Toronto’s ball handlers, resulting in wayward passes and easy steals. Toronto gave up the ball 16 times, six of which coming from rookie Malachi Flynn.
The Raptors’ bench struggled on both ends of the floor, scoring few baskets and allowing the Nuggets to break away in the fourth quarter. Toronto managed only 19 points off the bench, while Denver scored 48, led by JaMychel Green’s 15.
Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr. and Paul Watson Jr. missed the contest due to injury. Nick Nurse put out a 29th-different starting lineup on Thursday night, setting a franchise record.
Toronto will move on to Salt Lake City to face Matt Thomas and the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.