Notebook: Raptors 109, Nuggets 108

Posted Feb 12, 2013 11:14 PM

Josh Lewenberg, for

THE FACTS: With 4.8 seconds remaining, down by one point, forward Rudy Gay knocked down his second game-winning shot in the last three games, giving the Toronto Raptors (20-32) a 109-108 victory over the undermanned Denver Nuggets (33-20) at the Air Canada Centre Tuesday.

The Raptors have won four of six games since Gay was acquired in a three-team trade from Memphis. The newest member of the Raptors battled foul trouble throughout the second half, finishing with 17 points in 25 minutes. DeMar DeRozan had a team-high 22 points and eight rebounds while Kyle Lowry registered his second straight double-double contributing 11 points and 10 dimes.

Ty Lawson poured in a game-best 29 points to go along with nine assists for the Nuggets, who were playing without the injured Andre Iguodala (neck strain), Danilo Gallinari (sinus infection) and Wilson Chandler (groin). Anthony Randolph scored a season-high 16 off the bench, Kenneth Faried had a double-double of 15 points, 11 rebounds and Andre Miller added 12 points.

QUOTABLE: "He is a big time player. He is a closer. His roll card has 'closer' all across the front of it. He has done it his whole career. He has done it at high levels like in the playoffs. I have seen him do it so many times, that is what he does."
-- Raptors coach Dwane Casey on Gay.

THE STAT: For the second straight game the Raptors' second unit came through for them in the clutch. Reserve guards John Lucas III and Alan Anderson combined to score 22 of the team's 27 fourth-quarter points. Lucas scored 12 of his 14 in the final period after a 13-point fourth-quarter performance in Sunday's win over the Hornets. Anderson scored all 10 of his points in succession during the frame.

TURNING POINT: After a back-and-forth second half the Nuggets took a one-point lead on a pair of free throws from Randolph. Despite battling foul trouble, which limited him to just two points in eight second-half minutes, Gay hit the go-ahead shot -- a 17-foot jump shot -- to put his new team on top. Lawson missed a runner at the buzzer to seal Toronto's victory. Gay was 0-for-3 in the fourth quarter before hitting his second game-winner as a member of the Raptors -- the first coming at the end of an overtime victory in Indiana on Friday.

QUOTABLE II: "We started off really well but they're a good team. They came back but no matter what this team kept the game close and allowed me to go out there and try to make the shot."
-- Raptors forward Gay

HOT: DeRozan kept his team afloat as the Nuggets made their run in the third quarter, scoring eight points on 3-of-3 shooting in the frame. The Raptors' guard bounced back after a quiet seven-point outing on Sunday. ... Lucas went 4-for-6 from beyond the arch in the final quarter and is now shooting 9-of-11 from three-point range over the last two games. ... Lawson recorded 29 points for the second consecutive contest, going 12-of-20 from the field. He came into the game averaging 20.0 points over his last 11 after scoring 13.0 in the previous 11.

NOT: Coming off a triple overtime loss in Boston, the Nuggets have now dropped two in a row after winning nine straight, their longest streak in almost eight years. ... Andrea Bargnani returned for the Raptors following a one-game absence suffering from the flu. The forward shot just 2-of-7 in 17 minutes scoring four points and grabbing just one rebound.

QUOTABLE III: "That team is talented team. George [Karl] does a heck of a job. He's been my mentor, he's one of my friends in coaching and that team is going to go a lot way just because of his coaching and also the team they've put together."
-- Casey on the Nuggets

NOTABLE: Iguodala sustained his neck injury in the third quarter of Sunday's loss, playing just 20 minutes in that contest. Iguodala, Gallinari and Chandler were all late scratches from the Nuggets line-up. ... Brewer was in the starting line-up for the first time this season while rookie Evan Fournier made his first career start for the Nuggets. Without three of his regular rotation players, Karl used all 10 available Nuggets in the first seven minutes of the game, before the Raptors went to their bench... Center JaVale McGee played just five minutes prior to leaving the game with left tibia soreness. He is being considered day-to-day. ... Bargnani, the first Toronto reserve to enter, was a game-time decision after missing Sunday's game with flu-like symptoms. The illness also kept him out of practice on Monday and shootaround Tuesday morning. ... The Raptors attempted 12 free throws, making 11, before the Nuggets got to the line for the first time midway through the second quarter. ... The Nuggets closed out both the first and second quarter with 10-4 runs that cut Toronto's lead to two at the half. ... The Raptors allowed an opponent season-high 70 points in the paint, a mark Denver has reached four times this year. ... Amir Johnson has now recorded a block in 12 straight games, one short of his career high set from Jan. 24-Feb. 23, 2011.

UP NEXT: For the Nuggets, Wednesday @ Brooklyn, Feb. 19 vs. Boston, Feb. 22 @ Washington. For the Raptors, Wednesday @ New York, Feb. 19 @ Washington, Feb. 20 vs. Memphis.