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Raptors look to reach new heights in Denver: Preview, start time and more

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The Raptors have held their own on the current six-game road trip and will look to improve to 3-2 on the excursion against the Denver Nuggets tonight.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at Denver Nuggets Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

On paper the Raptors are 4-2, which is a respectable record, but when you remember those two close losses came against Western Conference heavyweights Golden State and San Antonio there is even more reason for fans to get excited about Canada’s lone NBA club in 2017-18.

Sitting at 3-4, the Nuggets haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire so far this year. While the Nuggets undeniably lack star power, Canadian hoop fans will get a first-hand look at our native son Jamal Murray.

It’s no surprise to see the Raptors sitting seventh in the NBA in points per game (109), the defense has been a pleasant surprise so far. The club ranks fifth in the Association in points allowed per game at 98.2, which is welcome news for a unit that struggled mightily on that front last year.

Here are all the details and three things to watch out for in tonight’s game:

Where to Watch:

TSN at 9pm

Starters:

Raptors - Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas

Nuggets - Gary Harris, Jamal Murray, Wilson Chandler, Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic

Injuries:

Raptors - ...none?

Nuggets - Juan Hernangomez

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Bench Mob

The Raps have gotten contributions from just about everyone on the roster, but the contributions from the bench have been huge. Toronto’s bench unit of OG Anunoby, C.J. Miles, Jakob Poeltl, Fred VanVleet and Delon Wright has a net rating of 13.1 through six games. The group has the most minutes on the team (50). Anunoby has looked like yet another steal by Masai Ujiri and to say head coach Dwane Casey is fond of him would be a massive understatement.

What’s Up With Millsap?

Paul Millsap has been in the upper echelon of NBA power forwards for quite some time now, but he’s flat out struggled to find his game since signing a lucrative 3-year, $90 million contract with Denver in the offseason. Millsap is shooting the lowest percentage of shots at the rim in his career, and the majority of his shots have come from 3-10 feet.

Millsap has shot 60 percent at the rim and 43.6 percent from 3-10 feet so far. Millsap hasn’t been locked in on either side of the court and his frustrations have been evident, whether it’s screaming at the officials or displaying poor body language overall.

Bebe Breakout

Lucas Nogueira took advantage of Jonas Valancuinas’ absence in Toronto’s impressive 99-85 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday and easily posted the best game of his career. Bebe battled through some early foul trouble to finish with 17 points on 88 percent shooting while adding nine boards, five blocks, two steals, two assists and one 3-pointer in his 30 minutes of action. It’s especially impressive considering he was questionable to play before tip-off.

As of this writing, JV was listed as probable for tonight’s game, but Bebe’s breakout is noteworthy anyway. Too often we’ve seen the Brazilian fail to consistently produce in his time as a Raptor, and it’s good to see him come up big when given the chance. The question now is: will he get another one?