It took a tip-in with less than a second left to end Denver’s five-game winning streak. The Nuggets, though, have left no room for late-game heroics during a five-game run against the Toronto Raptors.
After suffering their first loss in almost two weeks, the Nuggets look to continue their dominance of the Raptors when the teams conclude their season series Friday night.
Denver (34-32) had its winning streak come to an end Thursday night, losing 109-108 to Chicago when Tyrus Thomas tipped in Ben Gordon’s missed jumper with two-tenths of a second left. Allen Iverson had given the Nuggets a 108-107 lead with 13.1 seconds remaining.
“I’d rather lose by 100 points than lose by a tip-in like that,” Denver forward Carmelo Anthony said. “We can’t let this shatter our confidence.”
The Nuggets, who failed for the third time this season to extend a win streak to six games, lost for the first time since falling 95-82 to Detroit on March 9. The defeat moved them one game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for sixth place in the Western Conference.
As it looks to improve to 2-1 on its five-game road trip, Denver will be trying to avoid its first loss to Toronto (37-31) since an 81-74 defeat on Dec. 30, 2003. Since then, the Nuggets have outscored the Raptors by an average margin of 9.0 points - 12.5 in two trips to Toronto - to win the last five meetings in the series.
In the teams’ last meeting, Nov. 18 at Denver, Anthony had 34 points, eight rebounds and six assists to lead the Nuggets to a 117-109 victory.
Anthony scored 28 points against the Bulls on Thursday, while Iverson led the Nuggets with 31.
This is Iverson’s first game against Toronto since joining Denver. The former Philadelphia 76ers guard is averaging 33.9 points in his last 15 games against the Raptors.
Nuggets center Marcus Camby’s status is uncertain for this contest after he left Thursday’s game with back spasms.
Toronto won despite the absence of rookie Andrea Bargnani on Wednesday, getting 34 points and 16 rebounds from Chris Bosh to beat Orlando 92-85. The Raptors avoided a three-game losing skid and won for the fourth time in their last five home games.
Bargnani, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft, could be out at least a couple of weeks after undergoing an appendectomy. He is averaging 11.5 points and 3.9 rebounds off the bench.
“We’re trying to win basketball games, and your better players have got to play more minutes at this time of the season and into the playoffs,” Raptors coach Sam Mitchell told the Canadian Press.
Ford had 16 points and 12 assists for the Raptors, who are six games ahead of New Jersey for the Atlantic Division lead. Ford had 26 points and set a career high with 18 assists in Toronto’s last matchup with Denver.