RaptorsHQ Rapid Recap - Denver Nuggets 96 - Toronto Raptors 81


-The Toronto Raptors' scoring woes sans Andrea Bargnani continued in their 96 to 81 loss tonight to the Denver Nuggets. The Raps scored only 12 first quarter points, and only seven points in the game's final nine minutes ensuring a win by the Nugs at home. The loss snaps the Dinos short-lived win streak at two games.

-On the plus side, what looked like a blowout early thanks to the Nuggets 54 to 32 halftime lead, turned into a competitive affair thanks to a scrappy Raps' second unit. Players like Jerryd Bayless and Leandro Barbosa were instrumental in cutting Denver's lead down to a mere six points, but unfortunately that's as close as things got. The Dinos' offence died when the starters returned, James Johnson, a key player in keeping this one close all night, fouled out, and the Nuggets pulled away for good.

-Rudy Fernandez led all scorers with 23 points on an nearly unconscious night of shooting. He was 9 of 11 from the field and his first quarter shooting was a big reason the Raps got in the hole they did. Not to be outdone though, Nene and Danilo Gallinari both posted 20 point evenings with Danilo's 21 coming at key points in terms of keeping the Raps at bay. His 22 foot jumper with about eight minutes to play ended Toronto's run, pushed the Nuggets lead over six again, and by getting to the line four times in the game's final minutes, he effectively ensured the Raps' comeback was over.

-For the Raptors, as noted, Barbosa and Bayless both had strong scoring games, combining for 37 points off the bench. James Johnson had 16 himself but got nothing in terms of help from his fellow starters. Yes, Aaron Gray turned in a good game on the glass, grabbing 11 rebounds in only 15 minutes, but in terms of scoring, Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan shot a combined 6 for 25 on the night.

-Anything else of note in this one?

-Well, maybe a small pushing match between Linas Kleiza and Al Harrington with about 30 seconds left in the match.

-It got testy for a minute and there were some technical fouls and hard stares between teams.

-But that was about it and now Toronto heads to New Jersey to face the Nets and finish off this wild road trip.

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