The Toronto Raptors suffered just their 5th loss of the season last night. The teams making up the Raptors' loss column now include: the Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, and Denver Nuggets.
Denver is now tied for first in the Western Conference, with them and the Clippers both being 16-7. Meanwhile, the Raptors (20-5) remain in first place in the East by a mile, 3.5 games ahead of the Bucks.
The game was Denver's from the very beginning. They came out more energized and hot from the field than the Raptors.
The key contributors for the Nuggets were the same as they have been all season, with some impactful bench performances helping out. Kitchener, Ontario, native Jamal Murray (21, 8, and 7) performed well, with Juancho Hernangomez and Malik Beasley both pitching in as scorers with 15 points apiece.
The difference-maker in this game was who you might normally expect it to be though. Yeah, you guessed it: Nikola "No Homo" Jokic. The Nuggets' big man put up one of his infamous triple-doubles, maintaining his reputation as the best-passing center in the league. The Serbian 7-footer went off to the tune of 23 points, 15 assists, and 11 boards in 36 minutes of play.
As for the Raptors, no one had a bad performance; the regular key contributors played well and Delon Wright came off the bench to record a 9, 2, and 3 performance in 15 minutes.
The difference in this game was Kyle Lowry: he totalled the assists that he does on a nightly basis with 11, but his point total was lower than usual, scoring just five points in 34 minutes.
If the Raptors want to beat the streaking, Jimmy Butler-led Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, they'll need more out of their starting point guard.