TORONTO, Nov. 15 (Ticker) -- Voshon Lenard
shook off three sluggish quarters and scored 11 points over the final 12 minutes against his former team as the Toronto Raptors rallied for an 84-79 triumph over the Denver Nuggets.
NBA TV highlights from|
Lenard has been the Raptors' most consistent scorer this season and extremely productive since stepping into the lineup
following an injury to superstar Vince Carter
. Against Denver, he made just three of his first 11 shots but heated up when Toronto needed him most.
Lenard buried a pair of critical three-pointers in the final two minutes, including a 24-footer from the top of the key with 46 seconds left that extended the Raptors' lead to 81-77.
Lenard, who is averaging 19.8 points since assuming Carter's spot five games ago, was 3-of-4 from the field in the final
period and sealed the victory with two free throws with four seconds to go.
"The main point is that we got the 'W' at the end and that is what it is about," Lenard said. "Sometimes you are going to
struggle from the field, but you have to fight through it."
"It's rare that you can lose a player like Vince Carter and then get a guy like Voshon Lenard," Raptors point guard Alvin Williams said. "And for him to be so effective and become our main go-to guy, we feel very fortunate to have picked him up."
Antonio Davis, who had missed the previous four games with a sprained left rib, added 18 points as all five starters reached double figures for Toronto.
The win was the Raptors' third in four games but first in four meetings with Western Conference opponents.
"We lost the energy, but we kept the mental toughness, and down the stretch if you are going to be a good team, you've got to
make plays," Raptors coach Lenny Wilkens said.
"(Denver) is a young team and they are a very talented team," Toronto forward Morris Peterson added. "I think the last four minutes was what was critical for us."
James Posey had 24 points -- 18 in the second half -- and 12 rebounds for Denver, which fell to 0-3 against Eastern Conference foes.
"It is always tough to lose, you just have to keep building," Posey said. "We need to put this one behind us."
"The guys played hard," Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik added. "They are young and they are trying, they just made some mistakes. A mistake here, a mistake there, it all kind of adds up."
Denver used a 15-2 burst to take a 61-60 lead 12 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Nuggets extended the advantage to 76-69 on a hook shot by Posey with 4:33 remaining.
Davis sank a free throw 18 seconds later to ignite an 8-0 burst that was highlighted by a three-pointer by Lenard. With the Nuggets clinging to a 76-74 lead and 1:47 left in the contest, Peterson penetrated before kicking the ball out to Lenard, who buried a 25-footer from the right wing.
Davis added a free throw with 1:27 to go that extended Toronto's edge to 78-76, but Donnell Harvey made a free throw with 68 seconds remaining to draw Denver within a point.
The Nuggets missed a chance to take the lead when Posey's runner did not fall and Lenard gave the Raptors some breathing room
with a three-pointer with 47 seconds to go.
"Lenard is a good shooter and made big shots," Posey said. "He did it for us last year at times and did it here."
Posey's two free throws with 36 seconds left got Denver back within a basket, but Davis hit a free throw 20 seconds later and
the Nuggets never got off a tying attempt.
Davis and Peterson had seven points apiece as Toronto led 24-16 after 12 minutes. The Raptors still had a 43-37 lead at
halftime and were up 56-41 with 6:22 to go in the third quarter before Denver rallied.
Nuggets rookie Nene Hilario made 6-of-8 shots, scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds in 22 minutes before fouling out.
Denver remained the worst offensive team in the league, averaging just 79 points per contest.