etsThe first quarter between the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors featured a ton of back-and-forth between the two sides. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray combined for 11 points in the first period with Pascal Siakam leading the scoring the other way for Toronto with nine. After the two teams were trading baskets for a while, the Nuggets went on a late run to take a 29-20 lead to end the first period.

After the second unit started things strong in the second period, the Raptors went on a quick run of their own to cut Denver’s lead from double digits down to seven following a triple by Chris Boucher, and that quickly prompted a timeout from Michael Malone. Following the timeout, Peyton Watson came out with some bad intentions with a big dunk, but Denver immediately gave a bucket up on the other end. A triple from Jokic stretched the Nuggets lead to 10 with just over seven minutes remaining in the half.

Over the next few minutes, Denver eventually stretched their lead to 12 which prompted a timeout from the Raptors. Denver’s lead continued to stretch with the starters on the floor, and they were leading by as many as 17 before the Raptors scored back-to-back baskets to get within 13. Denver really started to pour it on down the stretch. They were leading by 19 with 30 seconds remaining in the half as the starting unit was struggling to do anything wrong. Denver was leading 61-44 at the half with Murray pouring in 11 while Aaron Gordon had 10 on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor with Scottie Barnes leading the Raptors with 18 of his own on 8-of-12 from the field.

Coming out in the second half, Denver’s starters picked up right where they left off. Murray was getting shots to fall, and they got their lead to 19. However, they gave up a pair of quick baskets with some sloppy play on offense, and that prompted Malone to call a timeout to stop the run. Out of the timeout, the two sides were trading baskets with neither team really getting stops on either end of the floor. Denver was maintaining their 14-point lead with around six minutes remaining in the quarter.

Denver’s lead was up to 17 following a triple from Jokic, and a Murray basket forced a Toronto timeout with just over three minutes remaining in the quarter. The Nuggets got an additional point given during the timeout following the review of a Michael Porter Jr. triple, and they were now up by 20. The Raptors quickly poured in five points, and the Nuggets lead was now down to 15 with just over a minute remaining in the quarter.

Heading into the final period, the Nuggets were leading 90-75, and their second unit was starting to bleed points. While the defense wasn’t terrible, the offense was struggling to put up points. Denver was nursing a 13-point lead before a triple from Julian Strawther gave them a bit more breathing room. The Nugg gave up back-to-back baskets, and the starters had now re-entered the game to try and secure the win for the Nuggets. Denver was struggling at the free throw line, and the Raptors were taking advantage with a run that had them within eight with less than seven minutes left in the game.

After giving up baskets and letting the Raptors get close, Denver hopped on the back of Jokic as they went on a run of their own. After getting to within five, the Nuggets went on a run over the next three minutes to make it a 12-point game. Following a controversial call that went against the Raptors, they scored four straight points, and the Nuggets were in a tight one with under two minutes remaining in the game. With the shot clock winding down, Jokic flipped in a miracle triple that made it an 11-point game, and that could very well be the dagger in this one. Denver led by as many as 20, but they held on to win 113-104 after making this game be much closer than it needed to be.