Denver, CO (Sports Network) – Rudy Fernandez poured in 23 points to lead four teammates in double-figures as the Denver Nuggets topped the Toronto Raptors, 96-81 at Pepsi Center.
Danilo Gallinari dropped in 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Nene finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who extended their winning streak to six games. Andre Miller finished with 13 points and matched a season-high with 12 assists to go with six rebounds.
Im feeling good, Fernandez said. I needed this game for my confidence. Im very happy about the game.
The Nuggets were also without point guard Ty Lawson, who sat out with a sprained ankle.
Leandro Barbosa paced the Raptors with 19 points, while Jerryd Bayless had 18 and James Johnson donated 16 points. Aaron Gray had a big night on the glass, grabbing 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost nine of their last 11.
Toronto also played its first game without forward Andrea Bargnani, who will be out indefinitely after aggravating a calf strain in a double-overtime win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.
Denver came out on fire in the first quarter, ripping off a 16-2 run to start the game before a running jumper by Johnson finally stopped the run with 3:08 left in the opening 12 minutes.
The Nuggets continued to make shots, shooting 55 percent in the frame. Gallinari led the offensive outburst with three treys and nine points.
Miller capped the quarter by nailing a 60-foot three-pointer at the buzzer to put Denver ahead 28-12.
The Nuggets continued to hammer Toronto in the second quarter, shooting 57 percent from the floor and outscoring the Raptors, 26-20.
Fernandez finished with 10 points in the frame and the Nuggets took a 54-32 lead into the locker room.
Trailing, 67-47, with 5:47 to go in the third quarter, the Raptors stepped up their game, using an impressive 27-13 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters to get the deficit all the way down to 80-74 with 9:37 to play in regulation.
Gallinari stopped the run with a jumper and Fernandez nailed a trey on the Nuggets next touch to push the lead back to 85-74 with 6:10 left in regulation and they cruised the rest of the way.
You have to believe you can win right from the jump ball, Raptors head coach Dwayne Casey said. Thats the challenge I issued our guys after the game tonight. I didnt see the belief in their eyes.