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Anthony's Buzzer Beater Sinks Raptors At ACC

Related: Box Score | Photos | Game Rap: Anthony Doesn't Miss Second Shot At Sinking Raps Late
Video: Game In Six | Triano | Bosh | Weems | DeRozan | Jack | Evans | Wright
More Video: Bosh With The Follow | Back-To-Back Dunks For Bosh
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March 26, 2010

TORONTO (CP) -- Fresh off two dismal efforts at home, the Toronto Raptors found a new and more devastating way to lose.

Carmelo Anthony buried an 18-foot fadeaway at the buzzer to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 97-96 come-from-behind win over the Raptors on Friday night.

Toronto played some of its best basketball of the season over the first three quarters but crumbled in the fourth, watching a 12-point lead melt away following a series of mistakes. Three in the final minute -- a Chris Bosh missed free throw and a pair of Denver offensive rebounds - helped set up Anthony's dagger shot.

After the all-star forward missed his first shot attempt in the dying seconds, the loose ball was batted to Nene. He swung it to Chauncey Billups, who fed Anthony inside the arc. Anthony dribbled once and hoisted up a jumper that went in as the final horn sounded, drawing gasps from the sellout crowd of 19,800 at Air Canada Centre.

"It always hurts to lose a close game like that," said Bosh. "We just have to put this behind us and move on to the next game."

Anthony, who led all scorers with 25 points, wasn't so sure it was going in.

"Chauncey got the ball, I (saw) Bargnani chasing him out and I just cut to the basket," said Anthony. "It was just one of those shots that went in. (When) I released it, I thought it was long."

Anthony said it was fun to suck the life out of the crowd.

"I think hitting one on the road, you get that much more joy out of it," said Anthony. "That much more satisfaction. You've got 20 thousand people against you and you can make a shot to silence them? That feels good."

Nene added 20 for the Nuggets (48-25), who avoided their first four-game losing streak since February 2007. Billups chipped in 18 points, despite going just 4-for-18 from the field.

Bosh had 18 points and 12 rebounds, DeMar DeRozan added 15 points in a rare reserve role and Andrea Bargnani put up 14 points and 15 rebounds. Sonny Weems also had 14 points for Toronto (35-36), which has dropped two straight to remain entrenched in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The loss comes as the Raptors enter a pivotal two-game road stretch against Charlotte and Miami, the two teams directly in front of them in the East.

Toronto had dropped its previous two games at ACC by a combined 52 points. And while Friday's heartbreaker may sting for a while, the Raptors did plenty right - outrebounding Denver 58-38 and holding the third-best offence in the NBA under 100 points.

Head coach Jay Triano said it was easy to glean some positives from it.

"We rebounded extremely well," said Triano. "To outrebound a team by 20, to hold this team to 41 per cent from the field, I thought our defensive schemes were good.

"Their stars made plays. It's tough to swallow, but there's nothing we can do about it."

Bosh, who has expressed frustration at his team's recent lack of effort, said he would like to see more games like this one.

"It just goes to show we're gonna have to give that effort every night, from here until the season is over," said Bosh. "If we do that, we can have a lot of fun playing basketball, and I think we'll be in a better position for success later."

Down four at the half, the Raptors took advantage of some shoddy Denver shooting - the Nuggets shot a putrid 3-for-21 in the quarter - and seized the lead with seven minutes to go in the third. Bosh added consecutive dunks later in the quarter, and Toronto rode that momentum to an 81-72 advantage entering the fourth.

A Marco Belinelli jumper extended the lead to 12 before the Nuggets answered with a 9-0 run. An Anthony 18-footer evened the score with 1:39 remaining, but Bargnani followed with a running layup and drew a foul, making the shot to put Toronto back up by three.

Anthony missed a pair of free throws at the other end, but Denver retained possession and Billups hit a pivotal three with 33.9 seconds left. Bosh drew a foul on Toronto's next possession and converted one of two free throws to put Toronto up 96-95 with 16.2 seconds remaining, setting up the dramatic finish.

"We knew that we were just missing shots," said Billups. "Defensively we were sound all night. If we kept getting stops, kept turning them over like we did, the ball would start going in the basket. We just trusted in that."

With Hedo Turkoglu missing the game with a stomach virus and DeRozan struggling of late, the Raptors retooled their starting lineup, inserting Weems and Antoine Wright. The move paid dividends - DeRozan shot 7-of-8 from the field in his first game off the bench this season. Weems also excelled, going 5-of-8, while Wright added eight points and six rebounds.

Toronto struggled early on, missing eight of its first 10 shots, but trailed by just seven after one quarter. Belinelli's nine second-quarter points helped keep the Raptors close, down 56-52 at the break.

Notes: Nuggets G/F Joey Graham made his first appearance in Toronto since leaving the Raptors as a free agent last summer. He was greeted with mild applause when he checked in to begin the second quarter. ... Bosh came into the game averaging 16.4 points in 12 career games against Denver, his lowest scoring average against any NBA team.. ... Nuggets F Kenyon Martin (knee) sat out his 12th consecutive game. ... The Nuggets entered Friday having won 10 of their last 11 meetings with the Raptors by an average margin of 15 points.