Raptors Score 49 First Quarter Points, Defeat Nikola Jokic’s Nuggets

Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

During the Tuesday night NBA slate, the Toronto Raptors defeated the slumping Denver Nuggets 125-110 in a franchise-record 49-point first quarter.

As a team, the Nuggets haven’t won since beating the Raptors at home on March 6. In Tuesday’s loss, Nikola Jokic scored 28 points while adding eight rebounds and seven assists. Michael Porter Jr. added 23, and Aaron Gordon had 18.

“Right now we’re just in chill mode, and you can’t be in chill mode with 13 games to go in the season,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “We’ve got to try to find a way to get our swagger back.”

The Nuggets have given up 120 points or more in three consecutive games. The level of defensive execution they’ve provided has slipped significantly.

“Maybe we’ve gotten a little soft with success,” Malone said. “We’ve been on cruise control for so long, No. 1 in the West since like December 15. I just told our players we’ve gotten away from who we are.”

After the game, Malone said several Denver veterans urged the team to play better. Jokic responded with a clear yes when asked whether the Nuggets needed the wake-up call.

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets & Toronto Raptors Updates

In extending Toronto’s five-game home winning streak, VanVleet shot 13 for 22 and made eight of his 12 long-range attempts. In nearly 38 minutes, VanVleet recorded seven assists, three steals, and just two turnovers.

“Freddie called an incredible game tonight,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “He really had us incredibly organized. He found a bunch of little wrinkles.”

The Raptors never trailed behind Jakob Poeltl’s 12 points and 11 rebounds, Pascal Siakam’s 12 points and Gary Trent Jr.’s 11. On the other hand, Murray scored 14 points on five of 18 attempts, and Bruce Brown added 12 to lead the Nuggets to a season-high five-game road trip. After the opening period, the Raptors led 49-30 after shooting 20 of 28.

“We just dug too much of a big hole and couldn’t climb the mountain from there,” Murray said.

NBA SCORES & NEWS: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets & Toronto Raptors Updates

A Siakam basket with 8:16 left in the third gave Toronto a 88-64 lead, its largest of the game. By the time the fourth quarter ended, the Nuggets had cut the lead to 98-92, but they were unable to maintain it.

“When you expend so much energy getting back in the game you have nothing left to finish,” Malone said.

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About Jake Rogers 406 Articles
Jake Rogers is a sports writer who attended Arizona State University and currently serves as a contributor for NBA Analysis Network.