Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Versatile Nikola Jokic directs Nuggets past Raptors

Game Preview Raptors vs Nuggets        Holly Mac Kenzie Game Preview Raptors vs Nuggets Holly Mac Kenzie
Cassandra Castillo | 06 December, 2018, 08:12

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone hailed Nikola Jokic's "phenomenal" showing in the 106-103 beating of the Toronto Raptors and believes the giant centre still has another gear to go to. Jokic posted 23 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds as his team continues a very successful route so far in the season.

Nuggets enjoyed their sixth straight win and snapped Toronto's winning streak at eight.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) drives past Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9) in the second quarter at Scotiabank Arena.

The Raptors shot 3 for 22 from 3-point range before the break compared to 6 for 16 by the Nuggets, who also had a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points in the first half. They arrived in Toronto tied with the Los Angeles Clippers for first in the West. Murray logged a whopping 41 minutes, scoring 21 points, dishing out eight assists, and grabbing seven rebounds.

Beasley's running dunk after a Toronto miss nudged the lead back to 10 for the Nuggets, who led 86-78 after the third quarter. Beginning of the game, end of the game, they made some tough ones.

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Toronto still maintained the momentum though and tied the game at 94 with 4:40 remaining. Leonard's 17-foot pullup jumper put Toronto ahead by one with 55 seconds left.

Clawing their way back from a 12-point deficit, a fadeaway shot by Leonard tied the game with 7.1 seconds on the clock.

Before the Nuggets could even inbound the ball, the Raptors fouled Jokic to give him one free throw and allowing Denver to maintain possession of the ball.

Then trailing by a point with two minutes to play, Leonard air-balled a three-point attempt, but made up for it with a long jumper - and a double fist pump in celebration - on the Raptors' next trip down the floor to give the Raptors a brief lead.

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