NBA Game Summary - Denver at Toronto
(Sunday, March 23rd)
Final Score: Denver 109, Toronto 100
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony each eclipsed the 30-point mark, and the Denver Nuggets notched an important comeback win, escaping Toronto with a 109-100 victory over the Raptors.
Iverson poured in 36 points to go along with six assists, and Anthony added 33 points and seven rebounds, but Denver remained 1 1/2 games behind Golden State for the eighth and final playoff berth in the West. That's because the Warriors beat the Lakers on Sunday night.
J.R. Smith contributed 14 points for the Nuggets, who swept the two-game season series with the Raptors. On March 14th, Denver dominated Toronto, 137-105, at the Pepsi Center. On Sunday, the Nuggets rallied from a 17-point first-quarter deficit to win.
"They jumped out to a 17-point lead, but fortunately our second unit came in and got us back into the game and we took care of business," Iverson said. "Our starters in the third quarter cut the lead to two and we were just stronger than them in the last quarter."
The Nuggets have triumphed in seven of their last eight outings against the Raptors, though they had dropped five of the last seven at Air Canada Centre before Sunday.
Kenyon Martin chipped in with 10 points, six boards, three blocks, and a pair of game-changing steals late in the fourth quarter, helping Denver triumph in back-to-back contests overall. The Nuggets also have won two in a row on the road after a five-game skid as the guest.
Chris Bosh and Jose Calderon led a balanced offensive attack with 17 points apiece for the Raptors, who had each of their seven scorers finish in double- figures. Bosh also reeled in 12 rebounds and dished out a career-high nine assists -- coming up just one helper shy of his first career triple-double.
"They had guys who made plays, but the thing that bothers me is at the end of games we're just too hesitant," Bosh said. "When I give up the ball guys just have to go ahead and rely on their talent. I think we hesitate too much and we think about it too much. We just have to play basketball down the stretch because we don't worry about it in the first two quarters so why worry about it in the fourth?"
The defeat pushed Toronto into a deadlock with idle Philadelphia for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Andrea Bargnani scored all 16 of his points in the opening period for Toronto, shooting 0-for-6 from the field after a 7-for-8 start. Jamario Moon tallied 15 points and grabbed a career-high 15 boards, Anthony Parker provided 14 points, and T.J. Ford had 11 points. Rasho Nesterovic rounded out the Raptors' slew of double-digits scorers with 10 points, but the squad still came up short for its sixth loss in the last seven tilts.
Trailing 98-96 after a Parker trey, the Nuggets sparked a 9-0 spurt that sealed the come-from-behind victory. Iverson and Anthony ignited the surge, combining to hit four straight free throws which pushed Denver ahead, 100-98, with just under two minutes to go.
Martin spoiled the next two Toronto possessions, swiping clutch steals each trip downcourt, followed first by an Iverson three-pointer and then by a pair from the charity stripe by Martin, as the Raptors were forced to foul. After the successful foul shots, the Nuggets had built a comfortable 105-98 cushion with 1:07 remaining.
Toronto responded with a monstrous slam by Moon, but Anthony answered that by nailing a jumper for Denver to ensure the win, as the Nuggets led 107-100 with just 21 seconds on the clock.
The Raptors used a 12-0 run in the first frame to take a 35-23 advantage into the second stanza. The 35-point output marked a season-high for Toronto in an opening period.
The Nuggets trimmed the deficit to 54-46 heading into the locker room for halftime, and the Raptors took a 73-71 edge into the final 12 minutes of action.
The squads stayed close through the fourth period. Linas Kleiza drained a three-pointer at the outset, immediately giving the Nuggets their first advantage of the affair, 74-73, just 12 seconds into the fourth. The lead exchanged hands a whopping 10 more occasions from there, with neither club going in front by more than five points until the final minutes.
The Nuggets improved to 42-28 overall, while the reeling Raptors slipped to 35-35...Denver climbed to 14-21 as the visitor, dropping Toronto to 20-14 as the host...Marcus Camby hauled in 15 boards to go with five points for the Nuggets...The Raptors fell to 29-6 when leading after three quarters, while Denver rose to 5-16 on the road when trailing after three frames.
03/24 00:20:44 ET