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Raptors get boom-kicked by Nuggets 129-111

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Forget this one. The Raptors are on to Utah.

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

The Raptors undid pretty much all of the good work they showed in Portland in losing 129-111 to the Denver Nuggets in the penultimate game of their west coast trip.

There really isn’t much I have to say about this game; I figure if they mailed it in the way they did, I’m allowed to as well. It’s 11:30 PM EST and I am tired.

The Raptors looked sluggish from the gun as the Nuggets raced out to a double digit lead within three minutes of the game starting. Oh yea, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas returned from injury and both looked slow as shit. Paul Millsap had 13 of the Nuggets’ first 15 points and him absolutely owning his matchup against Serge Ibaka was a microcosm for how the first half went for the Raptors. For a team that averages 23 assists and 33 three-point attempts per game, the Raptors shot 2-of-12 from deep and had only 8 assists for their 19 field goal makes. The ball movement and distance shooting that’d been a staple in their offense during the early season was completely non-existent.

The halftime score read 60-46 but that really flattered the Raptors somehow. Were it not for some garbage points off offensive rebounds by Valanciunas, this game would’ve gotten out of hand far earlier.

The Raptors scored the first 5 points of the third quarter to make it a 60-51 game, but the Nuggets then went on a 43-18 (!!!!!) for the rest of the quarter. I literally can’t describe what happened. Jamal Murray got anything he wanted, there was no transition defense and the rest of the Nuggets had a barrage of open 3s and free throws due to dumb fouls committed. It was an absolute trainwreck. Then we had 12 minutes of garbage time.

The Raptors looked slow on defense, had some strange lineups, and lacked all of the energy that they’d shown two nights ago. They were lazy in their perimeter defense, didn’t close out on shooters and got lost in pick and rolls all night. While the Nuggets have had their lumps to start the season, this is a team that many pencilled in to be a top-5 offence this year. Given how lethargic the Raptors looked all night, this should hopefully serve as a wakeup call if the team thought they’d win games just by showing up.

  • I don’t know what the fuck Dwane Casey was doing with the hockey shifts for his big-man rotation. JV-Ibaka was line 1, Bebe-Siakam was line 2, and Poeltl-OG was line 3. It was absurd. Stop that shit.
  • The Raps had 20 assists to 12 turnovers. And a lot of those turnovers were live-ball turnovers that led to easy transition. I’m getting the sense that teams are starting to figure out that the Raptors new system doesn’t have much motion beyond pick and roll, kickouts, attacking closeouts and shooting threes. That usually is enough, but it wasn’t tonight.
  • Serge Ibaka got absolutely cooked by every single Nuggets player he faced today. I don’t know if it was a wise idea to start two of our slowest players at altitude when they’re both returning from injury
  • Speaking of altitude, Matt and Jack made playing in Denver sound like the Raptors were forced to play in space against aliens in their natural habitat. Relax, man. It doesn’t excuse a 30 point loss.
  • Norman Powell got some garbage time buckets. Let’s hope that helps his confidence.
  • That was a pathetic display. They’ll need to be on a string defensively next time out. The Raptors came into this game 2nd in defensive rating in the league. It’s been a long road trip, and we have one more game before it’s over. Let’s finish strong.

We’re on to Utah then we can finally watch games at a normal hour.