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Raptors edge depleted Nuggets in OT

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TORONTO — Playing overtime in the second of back-to-back games with a depleted lineup caught up to the Denver Nuggets on Monday in a 112-107 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

“It wasn’t too bad until overtime that’s when I really felt it,” said Nuggets guard Ty Lawson who had 22 points and 12 assists in more than 49 minutes. “In the fourth quarter, I felt good but in the overtime my legs felt like tree stumps.”

After batting back from a 17-point disadvantage to take a five-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets watched as Raptors forward Patrick Patterson tied the game at 102 with 28.9 seconds left in regulation on his fifth 3-pointer of the game that forced overtime.

The Raptors took over in the overtime with Raptors guard Lou Williams scoring five points, including the go-ahead basket, to finish the night with 26 points after coming off the bench.

“I think we had six out of eight stops down the stretch,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “Again, we’re capable of locking in, but it seems to be one area, just something that always breaks down in our execution defensively. But the one thing I will is effort and I thought our guys busted their behinds and really gave it to us down the stretch.”

It was the fourth loss in a row for the Nuggets (9-12) who lost all three games on their road trip that ended in Toronto. “

The Raptors (16-6) snapped a two-game losing streak in games at home where they are 10-3.

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw blamed the result on the first quarter in which the Raptors outscored his team 35-30.

“Two things stick in my mind,” Shaw said. “The beginning of the game, the 35 points we gave up in the first quarter. We give up 40 points the entire second half, not including overtime. We give up 20 in the third quarter and 20 points in the fourth quarter. … but the 35 points we gave up in the first quarter set us back and that’s been our problem not only on this trip, but the entire season.”

“We lost the game in the first half, said center Timofey Mozgov who had 15 points and 12 rebounds in more than 49 minutes. “We didn’t go hard like we did in the second half. You have to good hard every time from the start to the finish.

Patterson had 19 points for the Raptors and left his biggest points for the end on the clutch shot from 3-point range.

“The system that we have in place, as far as being in the right spot at the right time, if someone penetrates, is to get to get into the corner or the top of the key and we all know that,” Patterson said. “(Kyle Lowry) was down in the paint and I thought he was going to shoot the ball but thankfully he saw me at the top of the key.”

Center Jonas Valanciunas added 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors. Lowry, the Toronto point guard., scored 13 points, dished out 13 assists and grabbed eight rebounds. Forward Terrence Ross chipped in with 16 points.

Guard Arron Afflalo had 25 points for the Nuggets and forward Wilson Chandler added 18. Denver forward Darrell Arthur scored 12 points off the bench before fouling out, and forward J.J. Hickson had 10 points.

The Nuggets cut a 10-point half-time disadvantage to six when Afflalo made a layup with just under five minutes left in the third quarter, and his layup with 2:09 to play in the quarter reduced the lead to one point. The Raptors led 82-81 at the end of the third quarter.

Lawson put the Nuggets ahead by three and then followed a Toronto miss with a layup to give Denver a 96-91 lead with 3:10 to play.

The Raptors cut the lead to two points on Patterson’s 3-pointer.

Forward Amir Johnson made one of two free throws to bring the Raptors to within a point with 1:24 left. Afflalo hit a jumper for Denver but Patterson’s 3-pointer with 28.9 seconds remaining tied the game.

Williams put Toronto into a 107-105 lead in overtime with a layup in overtime, and after Chandler’s miss, the Raptors led by four points on a layup by forward Amir Johnson with 2:10 to play and had the game in hand.

NOTES: The Nuggets were without F Kenneth Faried (back), G Nate Robinson (back) and C JaVale McGee (leg) on Monday, leaving them with 10 players for the second game in a row. F J.J. Hickson made his second start of the season in Faried’s spot at power forward. … Raptors G Kyle Lowry was selected as Eastern Conference player of the week after averaging 29.3 points, including a career-high 39 at Utah on Dec. 3. The Raptors were 2-1 last week. … After completing a three-game trip on Monday in Toronto, the Nuggets return home to play the Miami Heat on Wednesday. … The Raptors will visit the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. The teams have split their first two meetings, with the Cavaliers.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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