The Toronto Raptors were no match for the defending champion Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets got off to an early lead and never looked back as they led by as many as 21 points on route to the 113-104 win.
Nikola Jokic was dominant in this one finishing with 31 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists. Canada’s own Jamal Murray was also huge for the Nuggets finishing with 20 points and 6 assists.
Toronto made the game interesting late as they cut the lead to 5 in the fourth quarter thanks to play from their bench. But the Nuggets proved to be too much and the Raptors simply couldn’t stop them when they needed to.
Leading the way for the Raptors was Scottie Barnes who was once again brilliant. Barnes was the only player who brought it from start to finish. He finished with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
Pascal Siakam chipped in with 18 but the rest of Toronto’s starters struggled. O.G. Anunoby scored only 9 points in 40 minutes, Schroder had 7 points and was a -17. Also, Poeltl was once again benched in the second half of the game as he only played 19 minutes and finished with 4 points.
Toronto’s bench was the reason why the Raptors made it a game after the Nuggets got off to a big lead. Precious Achiuwa in extended minutes scored 13 points, Gary Trent Jr. had 12, Malachi Flynn had 6 and Chris Boucher had 5.
Poor starts continue to be a big issue for the Raptors. They are continuously finding themselves in big deficits that end up being too big to overcome. It’ll be interesting to see if Darko Rajakovic changes up the starting lineup in hopes of sparking something new. However, for now it seems like Rajakovic will keep things the same.
With the loss the Raptors are now 11-16 and fall to 12th in the Eastern Conference standings.
Next on tap
It’s not going to get any easier for the Raptors as they take on the Philadelphia 76ers on the road on Dec. 22.
The Raptors have lost 8 of their last 11 games and will play 10 of their next 12 games on the road.
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