Going up against the Denver Nuggets this afternoon, the Raps came out with a decent start and gave themselves an early lead of 4 points. Having an early lead is typically a good sign for Toronto, but today it didn’t yield results.
Tyler Hansbrough started the game as he replaced Amir Johnson from the starting-lineup. Known for bringing his energy off the bench and the impact was felt, as the new lineup built up a 20-8 lead in the first five minutes of the game. Hansbrough made some big plays with a few charges and a couple of important boards, but he wasn’t productive offensively and ended the game with just 7 points and 5 rebounds in 34 minutes of play.
At the end of the first quarter, the Raptors led the Nuggets 31-26. Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan were all sharing the ball and getting it inside to Jonas Valanciunas.
The energy wasn’t the same to start the second quarter. Gay missed two consecutive jumpers followed by a Valenciunas turnover. The Raptors stuck to their deadbeat individual play, having the team go six minutes with just 2 baskets made by Rudy Gay.
The Denver Nuggets bench is way beyond deep. Nuggets bench players came onto the court with full force and dominated the entire game outscoring the Raptors bench 45-10 in the second half and 72-16 for the game.
Again during the third quarter, Rudy Gay kept on with his disappointing play. Multiple times, Gay let his player blow past him, or let the Nuggets shoot uncontested. Giving the fans hope, Kyle Lowry stepped up for a short period and saw the posts inside. This made a big difference in Valanciunas’ game as he got some easy points early in the third.
Finally, during the fourth, some productivity from Gay forced the Nuggets to call a time-out. Unfortunately, I can’t say the productivity lasted. The fourth consisted of back and fourth points. Toronto would put up a great shot, but Denver would return with an easy transition bucket. The Raps jogged out to their checks and constantly gave them time and space to shoot. In the fourth quarter alone, Nate Robinson had 18 points. The few times the Raptors did get out and defend, Robinson would add in a great step back to complete the play.
In the end, the Nuggets win this one 112 to 98 and the Dinos drop their third straight game.and fall to 6 and 10 on the season.
And yet still lead the Atlantic Division.
Sarah’s Eye: Demar DeRozan’s shoe coming off in the third did put a smile on my face. Something about losing a shoe during the play gets me every time.