Anthony Hurt as Nuggets Top Raptors
Denver 108, Toronto 97
TORONTO, March 10 (Ticker) -- After watching the Toronto Raptors make history, Greg Buckner and Earl Boykins paid appropriate homage.
Buckner and Boykins combined for nine 3-pointers as the Denver Nuggets posted their fourth straight win, a 108-97 victory against the struggling Raptors.
However, it was the Nuggets who did damage from the arc, enjoying one of their best games of the season. Entering last in the league in 3-point percentage, Denver connected on a sparkling 10-of-19 on Friday.
"They made some shots," said Toronto forward Morris Peterson, who made only 3-of-12 attempts from the arc. "They are not known as a 3-point shooting team, but tonight Earl Boykins and Greg Buckner made them."
Leading the surprising onslaught was Buckner, better known for his defense but also having a career season from behind the arc. The seven-year veteran made a career high-tying five 3-pointers, including one in each of the first three quarters to surpass his previous career high of 49 set last season.
Buckner, who scored 17 points, made two more long-range shots in the opening stages of the fourth quarter and Boykins added another shortly thereafter to cap a decisive 19-8 run for the Nuggets, who more than ably made up for the absence of Carmelo Anthony.
The team's leading scorer at 26 points per game, Anthony scored 14 points before leaving early in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury. He did not return.
Buckner was thrilled with the overall effort by the Nuggets, who not only played without Anthony down the stretch but also did not have Kenyon Martin (knee) or Marcus Camby (Achilles) available for the contest.
"It was a great team effort, especially when you've got your whole frontcourt in street clothes," said Buckner, who made 6-of-11 shots. "We normally get a lot of dunks and layups, but tonight, being depleted inside, we got some open looks outside and were able to knock them down."
Helping pick up the slack was Boykins, who connected on 4-of-7 from the arc en route to 18 points.
"It just shows the depth that we have here," the 5-5 Boykins said. "Tonight, the bench really stepped up."
Andre Miller had 23 points and eight assists and Reggie Evans grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds for Denver (35-28), which moved seven games over .500 for the first time this season.
"My main thing was to come out aggressive on the boards without Marcus and Kenyon playing and hold the fort and I was able to do that," said Evans, who became the first player to grab 20 rebounds without scoring a point since Chicago's Dennis Rodman did it on December 15, 1997.
In addition to its impressive 3-point shooting, Denver excelled in several other areas. The Nuggets committed only eight turnovers, held a 45-40 rebounding advantage and dominated the bench scoring, 52-23.
Toronto (21-41) was led by James, who scored 26 points on 11-of-22 shooting. Peterson scored 18 points and All-Star Chris Bosh added 18 and 15 boards for the Raptors, who have dropped nine of their last 10 games.
"We have to come out and keep playing aggressive with intensity not let these losses dictate who we are," James said. "We are better than our record, and I'm tired of saying that, but it's true."