A 19 point deficit was erased to 1 point, yet it was the same old result that the Toronto Raptors were all too familiar with this season: a close game loss, falling to the Denver Nuggets 113-110. What can I say- the Raptors take another close loss, but moral victories aren’t going to impact the win column.
The refs made a few calls that would have changed the game here and there, but ultimately, early turnovers and being absolutely hammered on the boards by a margin of 53-37 costed the Raps this one. The culprit was the Raptors front court, and I don’t understand why Dwane Casey continued to play Andrea Bargnani despite his ineffectiveness in the fourth while Ed Davis was outrebounding the Nuggets during his 17 minutes of playing time.
The two point guard line-up saw light once again tonight, as John Lucas III played alongside Kyle Lowry in the fourth quarter, while leading scorer DeMar DeRozan sat down. Even if you are going to use this horrid two point guard system, playing Lucas over Jose Calderon makes no sense whatsoever, and Casey’s inability to adjust properly in critical points has killed this team too many times.
Despite this loss, there is some optimism moving forward that can be taken from this. Denver is a tough, tough team to beat, especially at home. The fact that the Raps clawed back from such a large deficit makes you wonder how good they could be if Casey figured out rotations that worked for 48 minutes. Terrence Ross continues to improve, scoring 12 points with some clutch baskets along with solid defense down the stretch. The line-up of Lowry, DeRozan, Ross, Amir Johnson, and Bargnani worked well toward the end, however with Ed Davis playing so well it would have made more sense to let him play alongside Amir.
At the end of the day, there are usually some positives to take away from every game. Sure, the team fought hard, made a huge run, lost with some respect, and took another close loss- but until these moral victories transfer to wins, the Raptors will still be losers. They are close- they are just waiting for that breakthrough to happen. The season isn’t lost yet, but that breakthrough needs to happen, and soon, as these close ones are the ones the Raps will have to start winning.
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