Nuggets nix Raptors in Edmonton

The Toronto Raptors concluded their exhibition schedule on a losing note Tuesday night, falling 105-94 to the Denver Nuggets at Edmonton's Rexall Place.

The Toronto Raptors concluded the pre-season schedule on a losing note Tuesday night, falling 105-94 to the Denver Nuggets before a crowd of 17,534 at Rexall Place.

It marked the first exhibition game in Edmonton since 1999, when the Raptors prevailed 110-84 over the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Toronto proved much sloppier this time around, committing 20 turnovers.

"It is what it is," Raptors forward Chris Bosh said. "We have got to work on things.

"Turnovers are one of the things we have to work on. That is very uncharacteristic of us."

Toronto closed out the pre-season at 4-4, and opens the regular season at Philadelphia on Oct. 29. 

J.R. Smith of the Nuggets led all scorers with 22 points off the bench, while teammate Carmelo Anthony had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists. 

Nene matched Anthony with 15 points, and Dahntay Jones netted 12 points. 

Despite the absence of starting point guards Allen Iverson (sprained ankle) and Anthony Carter (healthy scratch), Denver led 24-17 through one quarter, 58-47 at the half and 80-71 after three.

"For whatever reason, we're not shooting the ball very well," Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell said, noting the team's 45.8 shooting percentage from the field (33-72).

"Our defence is not that great, but it is not that bad.  We're just not making the shots."

Andrea Bargnani led the Raptors in points (19), rebounds (7) and blocked shots (3).

Jose Calderon provided 18 points, seven assists and five rebounds, while Bosh contributed 17 points and three rebounds.

Kris Humphries had 10 points in 26 minutes off the bench, filling a void at centre after early foul trouble forced Jermaine O'Neal to sit for long stretches.

O'Neal later left for the dressing room with a stiff back, ending the evening with two points, two assists, one rebound and one block in 13½ minutes. 

"It [the stiffness) caused a little tightness in my leg," he said. "It is more of a maintenance thing."

Toronto acquired the six-time all-star from the Indiana Pacers in return for T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic, a first-round draft pick and a player to be named.

He has averaged 14.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.9 blocked shots, 1.5 assists and 28.2 minutes in 724 NBA games (515 starts) since he was drafted 17th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1996.

However, problems with his left knee limited him to 42 games last season.

With files from the Canadian Press