On the second night of a back-to-back, the Denver Nuggets pulled off a 110-109 road victory over the Toronto Raptors and snapped their eight game winning streak in the process. Toronto came into tonight’s game having not lost since January 26th, but the Nuggets changed that even with the odds stacked against them.
Denver always seems to rise to the occasion when their backs are against the wall and Saturday night’s game in Toronto was no different. The Nuggets record now sits 31-25, which is good for sixth place in the Western Conference as they did a great job of responding tonight after a tough loss in Boston just 24 hours ago.
It was a solid start for the Nuggets as they lead 31-25 after the first quarter behind a phenomenal start from Nikola Jokic. In the first quarter, Jokic scored 18 of the Nuggets 31 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, 6-of-6 from the free-throw line to go along with four rebounds and two assists.
Nikola with an impossible pass to AG. Something we've seen a time or two pic.twitter.com/933veu3LDe— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 13, 2022
The Nuggets did not have as much success in the second quarter as Toronto began to get hot offensively and slowly began to regain the momentum. Toronto would end up winning the second quarter 32-25 as the Nuggets trailed 57-56 at the end of the first half.
Denver’s struggles in the second quarter came mostly because Jokic only attempted one shot in the period. After scoring 18 points in the first quarter, the Nuggets superstar big man only three points in the second as the Raptors did a much better job of slowing him down.
It was more of the same in the third quarter as Jokic scored zero points in the period and only attempted two shots. The Nuggets instead got contributions from Aaron Gordon and Jeff Green, who combined to score 13 of the Nuggets 27 points in the period. Green had 19 points through three quarters, while Gordon had 13 points.
We've never seen Nikola Jokić and Joe Burrow in the same room... Just sayin' pic.twitter.com/mezzxiE5oB— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 13, 2022
Toronto took an 86-83 lead going into the fourth in large part to the night Paskal Siakam was having as he scored 28 points through three quarters. Still, the Nuggets gave themselves a chance going into the fourth quarter on the second night of a back-to-back against a solid team like Toronto, which is all you could really ask for.
The Raptors began the fourth quarter on an 8-3 to build their lead to eight points, but the Nuggets second unit quickly answered with a personal 5-0 run from Bryn Forbes to make it a one possession game once again. Denver’s second unit was able to keep it close till Jokic came back in as the Raptors lead 99-98 with 5:23 remaining.
Jokic and the Nuggets unit battled to close the fourth as they made some timely stops and made some big time buckets when they needed it most. Bones Hyland drained a three with just over two minutes left to give the Nuggets a 106-103 lead, which quickly grew to a 5-point lead after a Jokic bucket the next possession.
Toronto kept fighting as they cut it down to a 2-point lead for the Nuggets with 52.5 second left in the game. Denver used all the clock on their next possession and were bailed out by a brilliant shot from Will Barton to beat the shot-clock buzzer and give the Nuggets a 110-106 lead with 28 seconds remaining.
Like it went all game, when one team was trying to pull away the other team answered and that is exactly what Fred VanVleet and the Raptors did. It took just six seconds for VanVleet to drill a high arching three to cut the Nuggets lead to 1-point with just over 20 seconds remaining.
The Nuggets then got exactly what they wanted as Toronto fouled Jokic, who went to the line with 12 seconds remaining to try and give Denver a 3-point lead. Jokic went into this trip a perfect 8-for-8 on the game, but missed both of his attempts as Toronto now had a chance to win the game down just 1-point with 12 seconds left.
Jokic quickly made up for his missed free-throws as he blocked OG Anunoby’s lay up with one second left to give the Nuggets a big time road victory:
FROM OUT OF NOWHERE.— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 13, 2022
NOT TODAY, BUDDY!!!!! pic.twitter.com/SIxr0snz0t
It was another big night for Jokic as he scored 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field, 8-of-10 from there free-throw line to go along with 15 rebounds and six assists. All of the Nuggets starters finished in double-figures along with Jokic as Barton (10), Hyland (11), Gordon (13), and Jeff Green (19) all made solid contributions offensively.
Denver will be back in action on Monday night when the Orlando Magic visit Ball Arena.