|6:00 PM PT7:00 PM MT8:00 PM CT9:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0021:00 ET7:00 PM CT0:00 , April 29, 2021
Ball Arena, Denver, Colorado Attendance: 4,025
Raptors open western roadswing at injury-riddled Nuggets
Toronto Raptors at Denver Nuggets
- The Raptors won the last game between these teams, 135-111, on March 24. That's the Raptors' second-largest margin of victory this season and it's the Nuggets' largest margin of defeat.
- The Nuggets are 12-3 in April and with a win tonight they would tie their most victories in a month in their NBA history. Denver went 13-2 in March 1982 and again in March 2013.
- The Raptors have lost 11 of their last 12 road games, since February 24. Their only road victory over that stretch was on April 10 in Cleveland.
- Facundo Campazzo has 30 assists over his last three games, the highest three-game total by a Nuggets rookie since Jalen Rose had a high of 35 over three games in April 1995.
- Nikola Jokic has made 58.8 percent of his shots against the Raptors in his career, his second-highest field-goal percentage against any NBA opponent (60.8% against the Spurs).
- Pascal Siakam has averaged 24.2 points per game in April, which would be his highest in a month of 10+ games in his career.
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The Toronto Raptors are a nomadic team, decamping at a temporary home in Tampa during the pandemic and yet they have found a way to stay competitive during a trying season.
Toronto (26-36) has won five of its last seven and put up a fight against Brooklyn despite being short-handed. The Raptors will be tested with a tough four-game road trip west, starting Thursday night in Denver.
After Thursday night's game, Toronto will play at Utah followed by two games in Los Angeles against the Lakers and Clippers. But the 2019 NBA champs aren't intimidated by the schedule. They are emboldened by their recent play.
"We've been playing pretty high-level basketball for the last few weeks. It hasn't always resulted in wins, but even like tonight, if we have this type of performance in Scotiabank Arena, we are walking out of there with a win," Fred VanVleet said after a 116-103 loss to Brooklyn on Monday night. "We have to keep that in mind as well. This year, we need to be about 10-12 points better than we are most nights on the road and at home because our home games are road games."
The Raptors have been without guard Gary Trent Jr. since Saturday with a lower leg injury and he won't play Thursday. Neither will Paul Watson, who didn't make the road trip due to a knee injury, but Jalen Harris (hip) is probable. He hasn't played since March 14.
Toronto will face a Nuggets team playing on consecutive nights. Denver (41-21) beat New Orleans 114-112 at home on Wednesday night.
The Nuggets have kept winning despite the injuries piling up. They won't have guards Monte Morris or Will Barton III, who are both out with hamstring injuries, and they've lost Jamal Murray for the season. Even with those setbacks, Denver is 23-6 since the end of February and is in a battle for one of the top seeds in the playoffs.
Denver had another scare in the fourth quarter when Michael Porter Jr. rolled his left ankle on a drive to the bucket. He walked behind the bench during a timeout and stayed in the game.
A big reason the Nuggets have kept winning is the play of their backup guards -- P.J. Dozier and Facu Campazzo, who has earned the praise of his teammates and coach with his energetic play on both ends of the court.
Campazzo was one of the heroes in the win over the Pelicans. He had 13 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, a career high in points, and he had 10 assists for his first double-double of his rookie season.
"We're a good team. Injuries are a part of the NBA," coach Michael Malone said before Wednesday's game. "We talked, as a team, that our goals still remain the same. It'll be a little harder without Jamal Murray with all that he brings to the table. If you thought we were going to just stop playing and quit because one player went down, well then you haven't been watching us for six years."
--Field Level Media
Updated April 29, 2021