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The Nuggets are playing the best basketball of the Michael Malone era, and not even the mighty Toronto Raptors can slow them down.
Behind Nikola Jokic’s second triple-double, a 23-point, 11-rebounds, 15-assist effort, the Nuggets staved off a second-half rally from the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors and held on for a 106-103 win. It’s Denver sixth win in a row as the Nuggets maintain their hold on the top spot in the Western Conference.
With Denver inbounding the ball from the sideline with 7 seconds remaining and the scored tied at 103, Serge Ibaka committed a foul on Jokic before the Nuggets put the ball in play. Jokic hit the corresponding free-throw and then nailed two more a few moments later. Kyle Lowry’s buzzer-beating three missed.
It was arguably the most impressive victory of Malone’s tenure in Denver. Toronto came into tonight’s matchup at 20-4 with the best record in the East. Malone moves to one game above .500 (135-134) as the Nuggets’ coach with the win.
Kitchener, Ontario, native Jamal Murray committed seven turnovers but tallied 21 points in the win. Malik Beasley came off Denver’s bench to finish with 15 points on 6-8 shooting. He also closed the game alongside Murray, Jokic, Paul Millsap and Juancho Hernangomez. Gary Harris left the game late in the first quarter with a right hip injury and did not return. Harris is scheduled to undergo an MRI tomorrow.
Denver held Lowry to five points on 1-7 shooting 48 hours after limiting another All-Star point guard, Damian Lillard, to 15 points on 6-16 shooting. Kawhi Leonard, who had won 10 straight matchups against the Nuggets, finished with 27 points and eight rebounds. Denver won despite turning the ball over a season-high 20 times.
The Nuggets (16-7) continue their road trip in Orlando on Wednesday.