Three-game winning streak, anybody? DeMar DeRozan scored 22 points, Rudy Gay hit yet another game-winning shot and the Toronto Raptors squeaked past a depleted Denver Nuggets squad by a score of 109-108 at the Air Canada Centre.
Ty Lawson had a game-high 29 points and 9 assists for the Nuggets (33-20), who were playing without Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler and Andre Iguodala.
The Raptors (20-32) have now won three straight games and four of six in the Rudy Gay era to pull within six games of the Milwaukee Bucks for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference.
The game was back-and-forth for the most part, with the Raptors maintaining a modest lead all the way through the third quarter and much of the fourth.
The fourth quarter consisted mainly of the Nuggets (read: Ty Lawson) getting pretty much anything on offense, interleaved with the Raptors (read: John Lucas) getting rather lucky from three-point range. Eventually, two free throws from Anthony Randolph put the Nuggets up one. Some sloppy play from the Raps was offset by great work on the offensive glass, leading to key second-chance points in the fourth. The last came after a missed Alan Anderson jumper that, had Denver got the rebound, would’ve given them the ball with the lead under 24 seconds. Instead, the Raps were able to set up an offense and run that already-familiar Rudy Gay isolation play on the baseline. Gay, cool as a cucumber, drained the jumper with five seconds left. Lawson missed a running jumper at the other end, sealing the victory for Toronto
Kyle Lowry: Got a double-double and was active on defense in the fourth quarter when the game was slipping away. I liked his attitude. Grade: A-
Rudy Gay: Was in foul trouble throughout the game which limited him to just 25 minutes and 17 points. He struggled on both ends of the floor in the fourth, but he calmly stroked the game-winning jumper like it was nothing. My question is, why can’t he focus like that for the rest of the game? Grade: B+
DeMar DeRozan: Had to carry the scoring load with Gay in foul trouble and did get 22 points, but missed 10 shots — mostly off-balance two’s as usual. Grade: B
Amir Johnson: Not too much of a factor but he was efficient and reliable as usual. Grade: B+
Jonas Valanciunas: Was a physical force, and that’s enough for a B. Grade: B
Andrea Bargnani: Non-factor, but non-toxic. Grade: C+
Alan Anderson: 4-of-7 shooting? That kind of efficiency is unheard of! Joking aside, he got 10 points in the fourth when it counted. Grade: A-
Landry Fields: Stat line says he did all right. I say B. Grade: B
Terrence Ross: Hit a three. Grade: B
John Lucas III: Carried the limping Raps through the fourth quarter doing what he does best–threes on threes on threes. The one-trick pony has hit 9-0f-11 from downtown in the past two games. Grade: A
The Raptors play tomorrow at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.
Casey Sherman is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.