The best team in the Eastern Conference and the best team in the Western Conference will meet up tonight to battle it out in a must-see. The Toronto Raptors will travel to Colorado to take on the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Neither team has lost more than ten games this season and have yet to lose five or more in a row. The Raptors are coming off a 128-122 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers while the Nuggets are looking for their third straight victory.
The Toronto Raptors and the Denver Nuggets have battled each other a grand total of 45 times in the past as the Raptors won 18 games while the Nuggets went on to win 27 games. This matchup will mark the second and final meeting between these two ball clubs this season. The last time they played each other was on December 3 when the Nuggets pulled out with a 106 to 103 victory. During that game, Nikola Jokic scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished off 15 assists, and committed 2 steals while Kawhi Leonard had 27 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists.
-Kyle Lowry (back; 14.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 10.0 APG, 43.6 FG%, 33.0 3P%, 83.3 FT%)
-Norman Powell (shoulder; 5.0 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.9 APG, 47.6 FG%, 40.9 3P%, 75.0 FT%)
-Pascal Siakam (back; 14.4 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 60.4 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 78.4 FT%)
-Jonas Valanciunas (thumb; 12.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.0 APG, 57.5 FG%, 30.0 3P%, 81.9 FT%)
-Jordan Loyd (G-League; 4.0 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 100.0 FG%, 100.0 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Fred VanVleet (back; 9.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 4.5 APG, 42.5 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 76.9 FT%)
-Will Barton (hip/core; 16.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 3.0 APG, 57.1 FG%, 55.6 3P%, 100.0 FT%)
-Gary Harris (hip; 16.6 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 43.8 FG%, 32.4 3P%, 79.1 FT%)
-Paul Millsap (foot; 13.6 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 49.8 FG%, 40.0 3P%, 72.7 FT%)
-Michael Porter (back)
-Isaiah Thomas (hip)
-Jarred Vanderbilt (foot)
-Brandon Goodwin (coach’s decision)
-Tyler Lydon (coach’s decision; 1.8 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.0 APG, 75.0 FG%, 75.0 3P%, 50.0 FT%)
-Thomas Welsh (coach’s decision; 0.8 PPG, 0.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 66.7 FG%, 50.0 3P%)
The Toronto Raptors would have the slight upper hand during the first half as they connected for 47 percent of their shots while the Denver Nuggets completed 35 percent. Kawhi Leonard scored ten points in the beginning half while grabbing 6 rebounds and dishing off two assists. Serge Ibaka also had ten points as he earned three of them from beyond the arc in the second quarter. New York-native Danny Green chipped in with 7 points while Delon Wright had eight points. OG Anunoby played nine minutes off the bench but was kept to just a three-pointer early in the second period.
On the other end of the floor, Nikola Jokic chalked up ten points of his own while shooting 40 percent from the field. Jamal Murray, who is averaging 18 points a game this season, was limited to just a trey in the first quarter. Mason Plumlee would score six points while Juancho Hernangomez was held scoreless. Monte Morris played the most minutes off the bench but only dropped five points while the visiting team went into halftime with a 47-39 advantage.
The Colorado team would enter the second half with the mindset of completing a comeback, sparking up a 56 to 39 run. During that run, Murray made up for his poor first-half performance, lighting the floor up with 16 points, knocking down two treys in the process. He would finish the contest with a total of nineteen points. Jokic also had 16 points as he collected six rebounds and gave out two assists.
Torrey Craig earned himself eight points while hitting two three-pointers in the third quarter. Hernangomez would continue to struggle in the game as he only scored two points, all coming from the free-throw line. Monte Morris played 22 minutes off the bench as he had seven points, including a three-pointer in the third.
As for the Canada team, Leonard stayed hot as he dropped nineteen more points, hitting a three-pointer in the third quarter. Wright helped out with seven points but it wouldn’t matter as the Denver Nuggets come back from an eight-point deficit to win the game, 95-86. Nikola Jokic finished the game with 26 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals while Kawhi Leonard had 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 4 assists.
The Toronto Raptors will host Victor Oladipo (20.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 5.0 APG, 43.4 FG%, 33.6 3P%) and the Indiana Pacers (19-10) on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. This game will mark the first of three matchups between these two teams this season. The Raptors would win the regular-season series last season, 3-1.
The Denver Nuggets will host Harrison Barnes (17.9 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 41.7 FG%, 40.4 3P%) and the Dallas Mavericks (15-12) on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. This matchup will mark the first of three meetings between these ball clubs during this season. Last season, both the Nuggets and Mavericks tied the regular-season series up at 2 apiece.