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Robinson, Nuggets tag Raptors

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TORONTO -- Guard Nate Robinson said the Denver Nuggets make basketball like a tag-team wrestling event.

Robinson came off the bench to score 23 points in less than 24 minutes in Sunday's 112-98 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

"Our coach says we have a tag-team mentality, which is the first team wears them down and the second team wears them out," Robinson said.

The Nuggets had a season-best 72 points from their bench -- six points better than the previous high -- to extend their winning streak to six games.

They also had a pair of double-doubles from center Timofey Mozgov, who had 16 points and a career-best 15 rebounds after coming off the bench. Forward Kenneth Faried had 12 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season.

Robinson exploded for 18 of his points in the fourth quarter with the game still close, hitting four of his five 3-pointers for the game in the final 12 minutes.

"It's great when it explodes the right way," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "But that's who Nate is."

The Raptors had only 16 points from their bench, 10 by guard Terrence Ross.

"Our guys can't play for 48 minutes," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. "So the guys coming in have got to develop a toughness and a resilience. And it starts in the defensive end. That's where our problems started in the second half."

Guard Ty Lawson added 16 points for Denver (10-6) while forward Darrell Arthur had 14 points on seven-for-seven shooting after coming off the bench, and reserve forward Jordan Hamilton chipped in with 10.

"We know we're going to get minutes," Arthur said. "And when we go out there we just have to play as hard as possible and make the best of it."

Forward Rudy Gay scored 23 points to lead the Raptors (6-10), who lost their third game in a row.

"They made some tough shots," Gay said. "We made them take some tough shots. They made some falling away. We made them move the ball around. We made some shots today but we can do better."

Guards Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan scored 17 points each. Center Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.

It was the first game of a six-game trip for the Denver.

Robinson hit a pair of 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter as the Nuggets stretched their four-point lead after three quarters to eight points. When Ross hit a 3-pointer with 5:54 to play the lead was reduced to five points.

Faried was shaken up and left the game after making an alley-oop dunk to put Denver ahead by seven with 5:12 left.

Mozgov's dunk with 3:49 to play had Denver leading 100-92.

"Nothing different," said Mozgov, who also had two blocked shots. "I just tried to do what I do every time; some night it's good. On this team everyone can play so the guys in the bench want to play too."

Lowry's floating jumper with 2:38 left brought the Raptors back to within five points. But Robinson answered with two 3-pointers to give Denver an 11-point lead with 1:39 to play.

The Nuggets, who trailed by 15 early in the game, took a two-point lead into the second half. The Raptors took a four-point lead before the Nuggets finished the third quarter with a 76-72 lead on a pull-up jumper by Lawson and a layup by Arthur.

Lawson's driving layup with 44.9 seconds left in the second quarter gave the Nuggets a 47-45 halftime lead. DeRozan led all first-half scorers with 12 points, 11 in the first quarter, while guard Andre Miller came off the bench to lead Denver with seven first-half points.

With forward Tyler Hansbrough in a starting role and forward Amir Johnson coming off the bench as the sixth man, the Raptors had a quick start. They led by as many as 15 points in taking a 31-25 lead out of the first quarter.

Notes: Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri spent three seasons as executive vice president of basketball operations for the Nuggets before returning to Toronto on May 31, 2013. He was named the 2012-13 NBA executive of the year after Denver had a team-record 57 wins while going a league-best 38-8 at home. ... F Danilo Gallinari (left knee ACL tear) and F Javale McGee (left tibia stress fracture) were out for the Nuggets while F Kenneth Faried (right quadriceps contusion) was listed was as a game-time decision and started. ... The Raptors open a three-game Western Conference swing on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. ... The Nuggets play the second game of their six-game trip against the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday at Barclays Center.
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