Nuggets-Raptors Preview

The Associated Press

The Denver Nuggets were never deterred by a rough start, and they're hoping their current winning streak is just a sign of how good they can be going forward.

Denver seeks a sixth straight victory as it begins a six-game road trip against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

The Nuggets (9-6) dropped their first three games this season under rookie coach Brian Shaw, but they've been hot of late and extended their win streak with a 97-95 victory over New York on Friday.

Ty Lawson, who leads the team with 20.9 points per game, scored 22 and added eight assists against the Knicks.

"We've got five wins in a row. We're trying to keep it going," Lawson told the team's official website. "If we stay focused and stay with the game plan, we can make this win streak a lot longer ... You can't be like, 'I want to win four out of six.' That doesn't make sense. We want all six."

Nate Robinson scored 16 points off the bench and is averaging 13.2 over his last six.

"We're hungry," Robinson said. "Every team looks like Thanksgiving dinner. We're trying to get it."

Denver dropped four of its first five road games before winning its previous two. Each team it will face on the trip has a record below .500, though Shaw said his club won't take any of them lightly.

The trip to Toronto is followed by visits to Brooklyn, Cleveland, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington.

"What I want them to feel is what it feels like to string some games together, get some momentum," Shaw said. "We want it to continue regardless of whether we're on the road or not. All these teams that we play, we have to respect them. We've had some good fortune, so we can't afford to overlook anyone."

The Raptors, whose general manager is former Denver GM Masai Ujiri, have won the last two home meetings with the Nuggets. Rudy Gay's jumper with five seconds remaining gave Toronto a 109-108 win in the most recent matchup Feb. 12. The Raptors overcame 29 points from Lawson in the victory.

DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and Gay had 21 and 11 rebounds Friday, but Toronto (6-9) fell 90-83 to Miami for its second straight defeat. The Raptors, who have lost four of five at home, trailed by as many as 20 but made a late run to close the gap to four.

"We're a hell of a team when we get down 20, but we can't let it get there," DeRozan said.

Coach Dwane Casey agreed after Toronto shot only 38.4 percent and committed a season-worst 21 turnovers.

"The way we played the second half, and I told the team in there, shows we can play with anybody," Casey said. "But there's two halves. We can't play one half and expect to beat anybody. Right now, we're a one-half team. We've got to get two solid halves put together."

Tyler Hansbrough needed two stitches to close a cut over his left eye in the first half, but was able to return and should be good to play Sunday.

Denver forward Kenneth Faried left in the third quarter Friday because of a right quad contusion. He's day to day.

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