If Michael Malone may’ve, he would’ve sprung off the Nuggets’ bench to seize a rebound himself. As an alternative, he was left to stew at his workforce’s incapacity to place a physique on anybody with a Raptors jersey.
Lengthy and lanky, the Raptors crashed the glass, and the social gathering, with a 127-115 win over the Nuggets on Saturday evening. Led by Pascal Siakam’s 33 factors, the Raptors torched the Nuggets inside for 64 factors, battered them for 30 second-chance factors and turned 19 turnovers into 31 factors. Toronto additionally dismantled Denver on the glass with 23 offensive rebounds.
The frustration on Nuggets gamers’ faces wasn’t refined. A 16-8 Raptors run to start out the fourth quarter flipped momentum, and Toronto appeared to win all of the hustle performs.
The loss spoiled Nikola Jokic’s 26-point, 10-rebound, seven-assist evening. It additionally ruined Bones Hyland’s career-night. The rookie completed with 17 factors on 5 3-pointers and tied a career-high with seven assists.
The loss dropped the Nuggets to 40-28 on the season with a three-game street journey, starting at Philadelphia on Monday, on deck.
After lacking the final three video games attributable to an ankle harm, Will Barton returned to the beginning lineup and made a right away affect. Barton slashed for 9 factors within the third quarter alone, together with an explosive jam via the lane with 4 minutes left within the quarter. Jokic corralled a defensive rebound on the following possession, then rifled a full-court move to a streaking Hyland on the opposite finish.
With verve and hustle, the Nuggets scored 38 factors within the quarter and carried a 99-93 lead into the fourth quarter.
Malone had no disillusions about Toronto’s most popular fashion of play.
“You can tell when they put their team together, they’re looking for those (versatile) type of guys, that’s the model they’re building,” Malone mentioned. “That’s what you love about the NBA, is that 30 teams and 30 different thought processes. … When you have 6′ 5″, 6′ 7”, size, athleticism, versatility like Boston has, very comparable, Memphis. It simply makes it arduous as a result of they change every thing, they’re lengthy within the gaps, energetic arms.
“Last time we played them, they had 11 steals, they had 30 deflections,” he continued. “For those at home who don’t really understand, that’s an insane number of deflections in one game. … Those types of guys, when you have a lot of them out there, are very disruptive on the defensive end of the floor.”
Disruptive could be the optimum phrase to explain what the Raptors did within the first half vs. Denver. Toronto transformed 11 offensive rebounds into 15 second-chance factors over the primary two quarters, and capitalized on eight Nuggets turnovers. By some means, their lead was simply 65-63 going into halftime.
However even with so many lengthy, versatile defenders, Jokic discovered his spots. He poured in 17 factors on 7-of-10 taking pictures within the first half, doing all of his harm from the paint.
His manufacturing helped to counter Siakam, who picked aside Denver’s protection for a game-high 23 factors early.
Jokic additionally acquired some help from the Nuggets’ reserves.
When requested earlier this season how one can beat a zone protection, Hyland mentioned he’d merely shoot the opponent out of it. The precocious rookie buried two 3-pointers within the first half, then undermined Toronto’s protection with two alley-oop lobs to JaMychal Inexperienced.