Nuggets 113, Raptors 110

The Denver Nuggets were running, dunking and cruising to a

laugher of a win midway through the fourth quarter.

Six minutes later they walked off the court more relieved than

happy after withstanding a desperate rally by Toronto.

Corey Brewer scored 19 points, JaVale McGee had 17 points and

five blocks, and the Nuggets held on to beat the Raptors 113-110

Monday night.

Andrea Bargnani scored 23 points for Toronto and Kyle Lowry had

24, including 12 in the fourth quarter when the Raptors cut a

17-point lead to one with 2:18 left.

”We dug ourselves too big of a hole,” Raptors coach Dwane

Casey said. ”They are a good offensive team, they’re a very

explosive offensive team. We decided to play defense the last few

minutes of the game, and it’s too late.”

It was the third time in the last four games that the Nuggets

let a double-digit lead disappear late. This time they were able to

hold on after losing at Utah and Golden State last week.

”I think it’s a great win. It’s what we needed. We needed a

win,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. ”We’ve got to get better at

finishing the game.”

The Nuggets led 103-86 on a dunk by Kenneth Faried midway

through the fourth before Toronto came storming back. The Raptors

scored 11 straight points before Danilo Gallinari hit two free


A 3-pointer by rookie Terrence Ross and two free throws by Lowry

made it 105-104.

”Lowry started getting more aggressive going to the basket,

getting fouls and finding open shooters,” Nuggets guard Ty Lawson

said. ”We’ve got to be smarter and more focused on putting our

foot on them when we’re up 15 points.”

Lawson, who finished with 16 points, hit a 3-pointer and Toronto

missed its next three shots as Denver built a 110-104 cushion.

Lowry hit another 3 with 14 seconds left, and after two free

throws from Andre Iguodala, Amir Johnson hit a 3 with 7.9 seconds

remaining to make it 112-110.

”We stopped making shots, they started making shots,” Brewer

said. ”NBA teams are going to make runs and they made their run


Faried hit one of two free throws with 5.8 seconds left and

DeMar DeRozan missed a long 3 at the buzzer.

Faried had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Six players scored in

double figures for Denver, which held a 23-9 edge in offensive


”We made a commitment in the second half to play defense the

whole time,” Lowry said. ”I don’t think in the second half that

they had too many fast-break points. We have to play like we did in

the second half in the first 24.”

The Nuggets looked as though they would sail to their first win

in four games. They led 61-44 at halftime and maintained a

double-digit lead throughout the third quarter.

Denver trailed 22-19 when it took control late in the first

quarter. Brewer came off the bench and had two quick dunks and a

layup to spark a 10-2 run to finish the period.

Brewer continued his tear in the second quarter. He scored nine

points in 2:30 and McGee had an alley-oop dunk among his 11

first-half points to help Denver take a 38-26 lead before Toronto

called a timeout.

Denver didn’t let up. Jordan Hamilton scored six straight points

to push the lead to 53-34 with 4:15 left in the first half. The

Nuggets continued to turn missed shots and turnovers into easy

baskets, outscoring Toronto 13-0 on the fast break in the first


”They were the aggressors. They really turned the game at that

time,” Casey said. ”Altitude, real or perceived, really messed

with guys.”

NOTES: McGee had a career-high 16 free throw attempts. He made

nine. … Raptors F Linas Kleiza (sore left hip) did not play. He

had an MRI on Monday afternoon but the results were not available

yet. … Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler, who has missed the last

10 games while trying to recover from offseason surgery on his left

hip, will not join the team on its upcoming five-game road