Game Rap: Raptors 113, Nuggets 111
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
IT WAS OVER WHEN
Jonas Valanciunas made one of two free throws with 2.7 seconds remaining to protect a 113-111 overtime victory against the Denver Nuggets. The win kicked off a five-game road trip for the Raptors and moves Toronto to 8-4 on the season.
The Raptors were without Lucas Nogueira on Friday as he missed the game for personal reasons. Nogueira was absent to celebrate the arrival of his daughter and was expected to join the team in Sacramento on Sunday.
SECOND QUARTER ISSUES
For the second straight game, the Raptors had trouble in the second quarter. After getting outscored 32-15 in the second quarter against the Warriors on Wednesday, the Nuggets outscored Toronto 38-23 in the second quarter on Friday as they turned a 10-point Raptors lead after the first quarter into a five-point deficit at the half.
The Raptors didn’t gain any ground on the Nuggets in the third quarter and went into the fourth still trailing by five. After forgetting about defence earlier in the game, Toronto stepped up its efforts, holding the Nuggets to 20 points in the fourth, while using two big three-pointers from Terrence Ross and an eight-point quarter from Jonas Valanciunas to get back into the game.
RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
DeMar DeRozan topped the 30-point mark for the 10th time in his first 12 games of the season, the first time this has been done since Michael Jordan did it in 1986-87. DeRozan shot 12-for-25 from the floor, 6-for-10 from the free throw line and added five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 37 minutes.
UNDERRATED RAPTORS PLAYER OF THE GAME
Terrence Ross was huge for the Raptors on Friday. Ross came off the bench to score 16 points in 30 minutes against the Nuggets. He shot 6-for-11 from the floor, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, adding two rebounds and two assists. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Ross aggressively looked for his shot, coming up big with his outside shooting when the team needed it most.
THAT'S A RAP…
“Terrence, he’s got heart. He’s willing and he’s more than capable of making big shots. When you’ve got another threat out there that’s going to play extremely hard on both ends, don't give him any type of space on the offensive end; He’ll knock down that shot. T-Ross won us this game tonight.”
BY THE #’S
18…Points, 13 assists, five rebounds for Kyle Lowry in 39 minutes.
19…Turnovers for the Nuggets, leading to 25 Raptors points. Toronto had 12 turnovers, leading to 14 points for Denver.
25…Points, 10 rebounds, three assists for Wilson Chandler off the bench for the Nuggets. Emmanuel Mudiay also scored 25 points for Denver.
26…Lead changes, six ties in the game.
61…Percent free-throw shooting for the Raptors (19-for-31), compared to 74 percent shooting for the nuggets (29-for-39).
THEY SAID IT…
“We lost our defensive mentality. We started the game with it, got away from it, got back to it back near the end. We’ve got to understand it’s a 48 minute grind. We’ve got to make sure we maintain that mentality for 48 minutes.”
- Dwane Casey on needing to keep focus for the full game
“We just started off a little slow. It might have been because of the altitude. The bench came in to pick up the pace, kind of jumpstart how we were playing on the defensive end and offensive end.”
- Terrence Ross on the bench coming in to provide a boost
"We’ve got to be a lot better. Can’t give up 38 points in a quarter. No matter what. We would have been in good shape, take away that [second] quarter. We have to play 48 minutes on the defensive end. We can score the basketball, but we’ve got to be better.”
- DeMar DeRozan on the team’s defensive effort
“We understand. We know exactly what we have to do, where the problems are defensively and now we have to execute them. From the starting unit down. From DeMar, Kyle, all of our starters, everybody has to step it up defensively.”
- Dwane Casey talking about the defensive focus needed from everyone on the team
“I guess the altitude, the ball is lighter or something. As soon as it hits the rim, it’s something. That’s my excuse and I’m running with it.”
- DeMar DeRozan joking when asked about the team’s struggles at the free throw line
The Raptors fly to Sacramento to face the Kings on Sunday at 9 P.M. ET.