Game Preview: Raptors at Nuggets

Holly MacKenzie – Raptors.com

Toronto Raptors (4-2) @ Denver Nuggets (3-4)

When: Wednesday, November 1st 9 P.M. ET

Where: Pepsi Center

Broadcast info: TSN, TSN1050

LAST MEETING

The Raptors held on for a 113-110 overtime victory against the Nuggets in November of last year. DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 30 points in the aforementioned overtime road victory while Kyle Lowry added 18 points and 13 assists. The Nuggets were led by 25 points apiece from Emmanuel Mudiay and Wilson Chandler in the loss.

LEADING INTO TONIGHT

Toronto played its best defence so far in Monday’s 99-85 victory against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Raptors held Portland to just six points in the second quarter, forcing the team into a 1-for-17 shooting performance from the floor with the lone Blazers field goal coming with 5.4 seconds remaining in the half.

Injury status: Lucas Nogueira returned to the starting five against the Blazers, after missing the previous two games with an ankle sprain. Serge Ibaka did not play on Monday due to swelling in his right knee and Jonas Valanciunas missed his third consecutive game with a left ankle sprain. Though Valanciunas and Ibaka are listed as day-to-day, both participated in practice in Denver on Tuesday.

Kyle Lowry followed up a triple-double in Toronto’s win in Los Angeles with a 19-point, 10-rebound, six-assist performance in Portland. His 19 points moved him past Morris Peterson into fifth place on Toronto’s all-time scoring list.

EXTRA ASSISTS

Nogueira solid in return: Lucas Nogueira showed little rust after returning from a two-game absence. Nogueira played one of the best games of his career in Portland, scoring 17 points to go with nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and five blocked shots in 30 minutes. Nogueira’s 17 points were a career-high while the nine rebounds tied a season-high. In addition to stuffing the stat sheet, Nogueira also did it efficiently, making 7-of-8 field goal attempts, including his only three-point attempt.

Highlight reel: Delon Wright showed off his fancy footwork against the Blazers, scoring on this beautiful euro step:

Post-game Delon wanted everyone to know there will be plenty more highlights to come:

DeMar DeRozan got off to a hot start against the Blazers, scoring 15 of his team-high 25 in the first quarter. He’s currently ranked 15th in the league in scoring this season, averaging 23.7 points per game. In Toronto’s series sweep of the Nuggets last season, DeRozan averaged 31.5 points per contest.

Bench continues to impress: After an offseason shakeup that resulted in veteran reserves Cory Joseph, Patrick Patterson and P.J. Tucker departing Toronto, the Raptors wanted to see what their young talent could do. Six games into the season, Toronto’s bench is looking solid. “The second unit has been great this far this season,” DeMar DeRozan said. “Especially all the young guys, they go out and play extremely hard on both ends.” That strong play has helped Dwane Casey monitor the minutes of his starters, with no one averaging more than DeRozan’s team-leading 34.5 minutes per game.

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