Quick Reaction: Raptors 93, Nuggets 112

Toronto Raptors
93
Final
Recap | Box Score
112
Denver Nuggets

Luis Scola, PF 17 MIN | 2-5 FG | 1-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 5 PTS | -11 +/-
Forced some turnovers early, which seems to be his modus operandi of late. He’s not quick by any means, but he’s so smart at recognizing a chance to trap, cut off space, or make a well-timed reach.

James Johnson, PF 10 MIN | 1-2 FG | 1-1 3FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | -7 +/-
Left the game with a sprained ankle, which stands to make things difficult for the Raptors moving forward. Played quite poorly before leaving, taking a few silly gambles and getting bled on back-door cuts.

Jonas Valanciunas, C 19 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 10 PTS | -19 +/-
Looked gassed pretty early in each stint, struggled with the super-active Jokic, and did a pretty poor job setting screens. Thought his team looked him off with good post position a couple of times, but it wouldn’t have made a great deal of difference. This was a bad one.

Kyle Lowry, PG 32 MIN | 3-12 FG | 1-6 3FG | 3-8 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 3 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 10 PTS | -20 +/-
I generally try to avoid playing doctor and there are any number of things that can go into a bad couple of games. Still, after playing 41 minutes through a sprained wrist Tuesday, Lowry has shot 7-of-27 in the two games since, scoring 28 points with two assists. With a short night Monday and three days of rest coming up after Thursday, hope for a return to the regular Lowry form next week, if this is actually a matter of wrist/fatigue rather than just a bad couple of nights.

DeMar DeRozan, SG 28 MIN | 7-14 FG | 0-0 3FG | 10-11 FT | 1 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 24 PTS | -13 +/-
Waste of a solid night on offense, though he was fairly willing to give those points back at the other end. When he dished four dimes in the first, it looked like the ball might move well for the team, but then nobody else could score and the entire offense was DeRozan getting to the line. He does that well, but it wasn’t enough.

Anthony Bennett, PF 8 MIN | 1-3 FG | 0-1 3FG | 2-2 FT | 3 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +8 +/-
Got into it with Mike Miller, which is probably worth a higher grade. Hit the glass well. He’s still shown so little at either level to suggest he has an NBA skill that warrants playing time.

Patrick Patterson, PF 23 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-5 3FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 3 PTS | -16 +/-
Passed up a few open looks and still managed to go 1-of-5 from outside. Wasn’t the greatest of nights for the reserve group, and his cold shooting on largely open looks contributed. Tried to move the ball well, at least.

Terrence Ross, SF 27 MIN | 5-10 FG | 1-5 3FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 12 PTS | -16 +/-
Brought some nice energy initially, making a few plays on defense and sticking a couple of jumpers. Had a ridiculous ball-fake in transition that led to free throws, too. Lost the shooting touch outside the line and didn’t bring it as well on the defensive end in the third quarter.

Lucas Nogueira, C 14 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 3FG | 2-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 4 PTS | -3 +/-
Thought he’d be really up for an opportunity when the other centers weren’t doing a ton but slipped into a bit of a disinterested demeanor late. His length creates issues and he’s a smart, heady defender. Unfortunate they didn’t look his way on the roll a little more.

Bismack Biyombo, C 15 MIN | 0-1 FG | 0-0 3FG | 3-6 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 3 PTS | +3 +/-
Didn’t play horribly outside of a brutal three-minute sequence in the second quarter where he went Full Biyombo on the offensive end. Liked the move to give Nogueira a look early in a lost game just to see what he could offer, and that’s not an indictment of Biyombo, I don’t think.

Delon Wright, PG 6 MIN | 2-2 FG | 2-2 3FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 6 PTS | +4 +/-
Hit a pair of threes! That’s something he’s been flashing at close to a league-average clip in the D-League and would represent an important development in his game, particularly if he gets comfortable pulling up.

Cory Joseph, PG 28 MIN | 2-8 FG | 1-2 3FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | -6 +/-
Couldn’t help Lowry get the offense going when his lead guard needed a pick-me-up. Offensive malaise isn’t entirely on him but this was disappointing given how well he’d played, with or without Lowry, in the four games leading up to this.

Norman Powell, SG 13 MIN | 0-5 FG | 0-2 3FG | 2-2 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | 0 +/-
Asking him to take a few threes was somewhat unfair given his game, but they’ll need him to do that if he’s going to fill in for Johnson. Had a woeful time finishing but his energy and defense are palpable. I’m not discouraged.

Dwane Casey
Not sure any of this can really be hung on the coach. Almost to a man, the team played poorly. He tried going to the bench early, he tried dusting off Powell and Nogueira earlier than he normally would to spark things, and he conceded the loss in a fairly timely manner, sitting Lowry and DeRozan late. He also got T’d up, a rarity, for whatever that’s worth. I don’t think a 25-point game falls on the coach. If they come out flat again Tuesday, then sure. But don’t try to use this as a jump-off point for Casey hate when he had, like, 1.5 players playing well.

Five Things We Saw

This game was bound to happen eventually, whether it was Monday or Tuesday or Thursday or whenever. It’s unreasonable to expect any team to be at their best for such a long stretch of time. It’s psychologically exhausting and, in the case of some players, physically so. So long as they reset well Tuesday, there’s nothing much to take from this game other than “winning every game is really hard.”
The Raptors nearly hit as many free throws as field goals and both numbers were right around the Nuggets’ assist total. That about sums it up, yes?
Nikola Jokic is an absolute monster. A hulking, beastly, unstoppable, beautiful monster. He somehow made Will Barton only my second-favorite opponent in a game, which I would have thought was impossible.
The Blue Jays have won 11 in a row five times. The Leafs’ longest undefeated streak is 11 games. The Raptors’ now have an 11-game high-water mark. There’s something about that number. (Or, again, winning so much is really hard.)
Enjoy the streak for a moment. That was a lot of fun, and people seemed to fall into two camps: Searching for negatives or ignoring them completely. The loss is a chance for everyone to give the stretch a nod of appreciation, recalibrate their analysis and expectations, and, in the case of the Raptors, re-establish a focus on longer-term goals, having now built a cushion for the No. 2 seed.

Follow @raptorsrepublicFollow @BlakeMurphyODCQuick Reaction: Raptors 93, Nuggets 112 originated on Raptors Republic: ESPN TrueHoop Network Blog.

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