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Raptors end drought in Denver, beat Nuggets 100-90

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 31, 2014 at 11:53 pm •  Published: January 31, 2014
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DENVER (AP) — Toronto coach Dwane Casey wasn't ready to celebrate after the Raptors ended a decade-long drought in Denver. He was too upset about his team's lackluster finish.

DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points, Terrence Ross had 18 and Toronto, after opening a 25-point lead, settled for a 100-90 victory over the Nuggets on Friday night.

"We will take the 'W,' but it was not a quality finish," Casey said. "I let the players know I was disappointed in the close. You can't come in and feel like you have the game won with a 20-point lead. You have to continue to execute, be strong with the ball and continue to execute defensively if you want to be serious about winning in this league."

Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry added 13 points apiece for the Raptors, who snapped a nine-game losing streak in the Mile High City dating to 2003.

Still, Casey's postgame critique on his team's fourth-quarter play — the Raptors were outscored 20-14 in the period — outweighed any sense of relief over the end of the streak.

"We have to finish a lot better," Lowry said. "This is the NBA. Teams are going to make a run. We're not going to be negative. We won the game. But we have to finish better than that."

The Nuggets were dealing with their own problems. They announced during the game that guard Nate Robinson had season-ending surgery earlier Friday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Robinson was injured in a spill underneath the Nuggets' basket during the first quarter of Wednesday night's loss to the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Nuggets also were without leading scorer Ty Lawson, who missed his second consecutive game Friday with a left rotator cuff strain.

"We don't want anybody to feel sorry for us and we won't feel sorry for ourselves," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "We just have to continue to fight, stay positive, keep working and just be more fundamentally sound."

J.J. Hickson and Evan Fournier led the Nuggets with 18 points apiece. Hickson also had 13 rebounds. Randy Foye, normally a shooting guard switched to the point in the absence of Lawson and Robinson, had 10 points and a career-high 16 assists. But he also committed eight of the Nuggets' 26 turnovers, which led to 29 points for Toronto.

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