The Denver Nuggets came into tonight’s game with the Toronto Raptors riding a three-game losing streak, and things quickly got out of hand. The Raptors were hitting shots early, and they were being chiefly led by Fred VanVleet, who hit four of his five three-point attempts in the first quarter. Meanwhile, the Nuggets had hit just one three in the first quarter and were trailing 30-49 heading into the second quarter.

In the second quarter, things weren’t getting better. The Nuggets’ deficit ballooned to as many as 23 points with Toronto dominating on the glass, and they were shooting an incredible 61 percent from the floor more than midway through the quarter. Denver wasn’t far behind at 58 percent, but they didn’t have the 3-point shooting to match them. Down the stretch of the first half, Denver couldn’t get shots to fall while getting stops, and they would be trailing 74-56 heading into the half.

After getting four quick points to start the second half, the Nuggets were quickly unraveling as they gave up a six-point run over a 45-second span while letting the referees take them out of their focus. Following that run, the Nuggets got a couple of buckets to fall, but they just couldn’t get stops. The Raptors continued their run, and their lead had grown to 24 with eight minutes to go in the quarter. The Nuggets turned things around midway through the quarter, and they got a run going to get them within 12 with just under four minutes remaining. Following a couple of points from the Raptors, the Nuggets’ run continued, and they had gotten to within five with some hot shooting and an improved effort on the defensive end. They were trailing 98-92 heading into the final period.

The Nuggets started the final quarter trading buckets back and forth, and they were within three with under 10 minutes remaining in the game. Denver was within six for a couple of minutes, but they couldn’t get any closer. Their deficit was 12 with just under seven minutes remaining. The Nuggets’ full starting lineup was back in the game, and they just couldn’t get anything going on either end of the floor. Toronto’s defensive intensity was too much for Denver, and their offense just couldn’t be stopped on the other end. Denver had a chance to get the deficit back to single digits, but Michael Porter Jr.’s shot didn’t fall. It looked like the dagger came when VanVleet hit his eighth 3-pointer of the night, and the game was punctuated with a Scottie Barnes dunk with just under two minutes remaining to stretch the deficit to 15. The game would end with the Nuggets losing 125-110 with their losing streak stretching to four games, which is their longest of the season.

Stat Leaders

Points: Nikola Jokic – 28

Assists: Jamal Murray – 9

Rebounds: Jokic – 8

Player of the Game: Nikola Jokic – 28 points, 7 assists, 8 rebounds, 10-of-13 field goal, 0-of-1 3-point, 8-of-8 free throw