DENVER — Guard DeMar DeRozan returned to the lineup to score 19 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the short-handed Denver Nuggets 100-90 on Friday night.
Forward Terrence Ross had 18 points for the Raptors, who won for the first time in 11 years in Denver.
Center J.J. Hickson had 18 points and 13 rebounds and guard Evan Fournier scored 18 points for the Nuggets, who dropped their second straight home game.
Guard Randy Foye had a career-high 16 assists for the Nuggets.
Denver won rather handily in Toronto on Dec. 1 in a game where the Nuggets’ reserves outscored the Raptors 72-16, led by Nate Robinson’s 23 points.
Things looked very different Friday — for both teams.
Eight days after that loss, Toronto pulled off a nine-player deal with Sacramento that brought in guards Greivis Vasquez and John Salmons and forwards Chuck Hayes and Patrick Patterson.
The Raptors played better since the deal, going 19-11 while getting solid production from all four players.
The Nuggets, meanwhile, were without their best player, guard Ty Lawson, and Robinson. Lawson is nursing a strained left rotator cuff while Robinson is done for the season after having surgery on his torn left ACL earlier Friday.
The Nuggets could have used both of them against the surging Raptors. Denver committed a season-high 26 turnovers, 10 in the third quarter when Toronto took control.
Leading 62-60, guard Kyle Lowry hit a 3-pointer to spark an 11-3 run that gave the Raptors a 10-point lead. Lowry hit a step-back 3-pointer and DeRozan hit a 17-foot fade away to make it 86-70 heading into the fourth.
The Raptors led 99-75 early in the fourth but went cold. Denver went on an 11-0 run to get make it interesting but really threatened.
Ross had 16 points in the first half to help the Raptors take a 60-53 at the break. Toronto led by as many as 12, but the Nuggets pulled within four points on Hickson’s layup with 3:17 left in the second.
Forward Amir Johnson’s jumper stretched the lead to 58-50, Foye’s three-point play cut it to five and Denver had a chance to make it closer at the break but Ross’ fast-break dunk off a Johnson steal gave Toronto the seven-point lead at intermission.
NOTES: Nuggets G Nate Robinson’s surgery on Friday for a torn left ACL was performed by team doctor Steve Traina. Traina performed the same procedure on F Danilo Gallinari last week. … Toronto G DeMar DeRozan returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained left foot. DeRozan was named an Eastern Conference All-Star reserve on Thursday. … Denver G Ty Lawson’s strained left rotator cuff is improving but not enough to get back into the lineup. He has missed the past two games after suffering the injury on Sunday in Sacramento. … Toronto F Patrick Patterson returned to the lineup after missing one game with a broken nose. Patterson was wearing a protective mask on his face.
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