Nuggets outlast Raptors in continuation of winning ways minus Jamal Murray
Denver centre Nikola Jokic posts 53rd double-double of season in win
Nikola Jokic had 19 points and 11 rebounds in just three quarters to lead the Denver Nuggets past the Toronto Raptors 121-111 on Thursday night.
"This is the point you want to be at," Porter said. "Nine, 10 games until playoffs, so this is the fun. We have to make sure we're in prime-time shape and ready to go once the playoffs start."
Denver improved to 8-1 since Jamal Murray went down with a torn ACL in his left knee on April 12. The Nuggets also lost guards Monte Morris and Will Barton to hamstring injuries, but both are expected to return this season.
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Without its starting backcourt, Denver has relied on reserves Facu Campazzo, P.J. Dozier and Shaquille Harrison, a two-way player getting a chance to make an impact. He did Thursday with a season-high 11 points, and Campazzo followed up his first double-double on Wednesday night with 12 points.
Jokic's double-double was his 53rd of the season.
The Nuggets led by six in the second quarter and again late in the third, but Toronto rallied both times to tie it. It was 87-85 after three quarters. Denver scored the first 12 points of the fourth against the Raptors' bench and held them to just a pair of 3-pointers by Lowry in the first 5:40 of the fourth.
"It turned the tide of the game, got them feeling pretty good and they didn't stop pretty much until the end," Toronto coach Nick Nurse said. "It was not a good lineup. They didn't get any stops and didn't get any scores."
Lowry's flagrant foul on P.J. Dozier led to a six-point possession for Denver and a 21-point lead. Denver held the Raptors two just two made field goals in the first 7:28 of the fourth.
"For me, being a defensive-minded coach, that was some of the best basketball I've seen that group play," Denver coach Michael Malone said.
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