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DEN

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Nuggets beat Raptors 95-86 in matchup of conference leaders

DENVER (AP) In the fourth quarter, Jamal Murray's shot finally started falling.

''About time,'' the Denver guard said.

About time, too, to take the Nuggets as a serious, pesky threat.

Nikola Jokic scored 26 points, Murray had 15 of his 19 in the fourth quarter and the banged-up Nuggets rallied past the equally banged-up Toronto Raptors 95-86 on Sunday night in a contest between conference leaders.

Trailing 70-57 in the third quarter, the Nuggets went on a 23-2 run to send them to their 10th win in 12 games and retain a slim lead over Golden State in the Western Conference. This marks the latest the Nuggets (20-9) have been in first place in the West since Dec. 18, 1984, according to information by Elias Sports Bureau.

''It's December,'' Mason Plumlee said. ''It's a long way to go.''

Still, they've now beaten the Raptors (twice), Golden State and Boston.

''I guess maybe it says we're the best team for the time being,'' Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. ''There are a lot of games left. I think one thing we've done a really good job of is tempering our own excitement.''

Kawhi Leonard had 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors, who finished 2-2 on their trip. They still own the league's best mark at 23-9.

Murray led the charge with eight straight points early in the fourth. The defense stepped up, too, as the Raptors didn't score their first field goal in the final quarter until Leonard's dunk with 7:42 remaining.

Toronto pulled to 86-83 with 3:28 left, but Plumlee's easy bucket gave Denver some breathing room. The Raptors were 4 of 23 from the field in the fourth quarter, including 1 of 13 from 3-point land.

More alarming to Raptors coach Nick Nurse was that Leonard only had four free throws despite all his work around the rim.

''You can't tell me one of the best players in the league takes a hundred hits in that game and shoots four free throws,'' Nurse said. ''It's been going on all year. I do not understand why they are letting everybody play one of the best players in the league so physically. I do not understand.''

Leonard agreed, but shrugged it off.

''It's been very physical. I just go with the next play,'' Leonard said. ''I pride myself on just keep moving and keep going.''

Both teams had several key players on the bench due to injuries. The Raptors were without Kyle Lowry (thigh), Pascal Siakam (back), Fred VanVleet (back) and Jonas Valanciunas (thumb).

The Nuggets didn't have Will Barton (right hip/core muscle surgery), Gary Harris (hip) and Paul Millsap (big toe).

Not that Malone gave it much thought.

''Teams look at us right now with players out, and they think they can show up and beat us,'' Malone said. ''We've shown teams, `No, that's not the case.' We have more than enough players that are going to go out there and battle and compete.''

The Nuggets beat the Raptors 106-103 on Dec. 3 in Toronto. In that game, Jokic had 23 points, 15 assists and 11 rebounds.

Jokic was a handful again. He also had nine rebounds.

''He's doing what he's supposed to do,'' Malone said. ''He's our franchise player.''

TIP-INS

Raptors: Danny Green was given a technical foul in the third quarter. He was poked in the eye by Monte Morris early in the fourth quarter. ... C Serge Ibaka fouled out with 1:37 remaining. He was given a technical after the call. ... Delon Wright got the start and had 15 points.

Nuggets: Plumlee had 10 points and seven rebounds.

INJURY UPDATE, PART I

Barton could return to the lineup in the next week or 10 days. He had surgery on Oct. 23 to repair core and hip muscle injuries.

''It would be great to have him back,'' Malone said. ''He's such a versatile part of what we do.''

INJURY UPDATE, PART II

Nurse doesn't expect Lowry or Siakam to miss much time. Lowry sat out his second game with a bruised thigh, while Siakam was sidelined after experiencing back stiffness following a hard fall in Portland.

''There's nothing seriously wrong with either one of them,'' Nurse said. ''There's just some soreness.''

UP NEXT

Raptors: Host Indiana on Wednesday.

Nuggets: Close out a four-game homestand on Tuesday against Dallas.

---

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1st Quarter

Time Team Play Score
12:00   Jumpball  
11:52 +2 Torrey Craig made floating jump shot, assist by Nikola Jokic 0-2
11:34   Serge Ibaka missed jump shot  
11:32   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
11:15   Nikola Jokic missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:11   Defensive rebound by Delon Wright  
10:52   Kawhi Leonard missed driving dunk, blocked by Torrey Craig  
10:51   TOR team rebound  
10:36   Danny Green missed floating jump shot  
10:34   Defensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
10:32 +3 Jamal Murray made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Torrey Craig 0-5
10:08   C.J. Miles missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:04   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
10:02   Personal foul on C.J. Miles  
9:52   Defensive rebound by C.J. Miles  
9:32   Delon Wright missed layup  
9:30 +2 Serge Ibaka made layup, assist by Delon Wright 2-5
9:30   Shooting foul on Mason Plumlee  
9:30 +1 Serge Ibaka made free throw 3-5
9:10   Nikola Jokic missed hook shot, blocked by Serge Ibaka  
9:05   Lost ball turnover on Kawhi Leonard, stolen by Mason Plumlee  
9:02   Mason Plumlee missed layup  
8:59   Offensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
8:59   Mason Plumlee missed dunk  
8:55 +3 Danny Green made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Kawhi Leonard 6-5
8:35   Bad pass turnover on Nikola Jokic, stolen by Danny Green  
8:33 +2 Danny Green made layup 8-5
8:14 +2 Mason Plumlee made dunk, assist by Nikola Jokic 8-7
7:52   Kawhi Leonard missed jump shot  
7:49   Defensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
7:45   Personal foul on Serge Ibaka  
7:30   Torrey Craig missed jump shot  
7:26   Defensive rebound by Delon Wright  
7:11   Bad pass turnover on Delon Wright, stolen by Nikola Jokic  
6:52 +2 Mason Plumlee made hook shot 8-9
6:34   Traveling violation turnover on Kawhi Leonard  
6:18   Offensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
6:18   Nikola Jokic missed dunk  
6:18   Defensive rebound by Kawhi Leonard  
6:13   Lost ball turnover on Kawhi Leonard, stolen by Jamal Murray  
6:09   Torrey Craig missed layup  
6:05   TOR team rebound  
5:53   Shooting foul on Mason Plumlee  
5:53 +1 Kawhi Leonard made 1st of 2 free throws 9-9
5:53 +1 Kawhi Leonard made 2nd of 2 free throws 10-9
5:38 +2 Nikola Jokic made finger-roll layup, assist by Juancho Hernangomez 10-11
5:29 +2 Delon Wright made finger-roll layup 12-11
5:18   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:04 +2 Danny Green made jump shot, assist by C.J. Miles 14-11
4:44 +3 Torrey Craig made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Jamal Murray 14-14
4:16   24-second shot clock violation turnover  
4:05 +2 Monte Morris made finger-roll layup 14-16
3:44 +2 Delon Wright made floating jump shot, assist by OG Anunoby 16-16
3:26   Malik Beasley missed layup, blocked by OG Anunoby  
3:23   Offensive rebound by Malik Beasley  
3:22 +2 Malik Beasley made dunk 16-18
3:02   Delon Wright missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:59   Offensive rebound by Kawhi Leonard  
2:54 +2 Kawhi Leonard made driving dunk 18-18
2:40   Shooting foul on Greg Monroe  
2:40 +1 Nikola Jokic made 2nd of 2 free throws 18-20
2:28   Bad pass turnover on Delon Wright, stolen by Monte Morris  
2:24 +3 Malik Beasley made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Monte Morris 18-23
2:05   Lorenzo Brown missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:02   Defensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
1:43   Nikola Jokic missed hook shot  
1:40   Defensive rebound by Lorenzo Brown  
1:35 +2 Lorenzo Brown made floating jump shot 20-23
1:14   Offensive foul on Nikola Jokic  
0:57   Greg Monroe missed layup, blocked by Trey Lyles  
0:55   Defensive rebound by Trey Lyles  
0:48   Trey Lyles missed layup, blocked by OG Anunoby  
0:45   Defensive rebound by Lorenzo Brown  
0:43 +3 C.J. Miles made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Lorenzo Brown 23-23
0:25   Monte Morris missed jump shot  
0:21   Defensive rebound by C.J. Miles  
0:15   Shooting foul on Torrey Craig  
0:15   TOR team rebound  
0:15   OG Anunoby missed 1st of 2 free throws  
0:15   OG Anunoby missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
0:14   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
0:03   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:01   Defensive rebound by Danny Green  
0:01   Danny Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   TOR team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

2nd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:44   C.J. Miles missed floating jump shot  
11:42   Defensive rebound by Malik Beasley  
11:40   Monte Morris missed layup, blocked by Lorenzo Brown  
11:35   Defensive rebound by OG Anunoby  
11:27   Lorenzo Brown missed layup, blocked by Malik Beasley  
11:24   Offensive rebound by Greg Monroe  
11:24 +2 Greg Monroe made layup 25-23
11:24   Violation  
11:08   Malik Beasley missed 3-pt. jump shot  
11:03   Defensive rebound by Greg Monroe  
10:54 +2 Lorenzo Brown made floating jump shot 27-23
10:38   Trey Lyles missed 3-pt. jump shot  
10:34   Defensive rebound by C.J. Miles  
10:27 +3 OG Anunoby made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Lorenzo Brown 30-23
10:05 +3 Monte Morris made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Mason Plumlee 30-26
9:46   Lorenzo Brown missed jump shot  
9:43   Defensive rebound by Mason Plumlee  
9:36 +2 Mason Plumlee made dunk, assist by Trey Lyles 30-28
9:12   Out of bounds turnover on Greg Monroe  
8:57   Shooting foul on Greg Monroe  
8:57 +1 Trey Lyles made 1st of 2 free throws 30-29
8:57 +1 Trey Lyles made 2nd of 2 free throws 30-30
8:44   Bad pass turnover on OG Anunoby, stolen by Trey Lyles  
8:26   Traveling violation turnover on Nick Young  
8:07   C.J. Miles missed finger-roll layup  
8:04   Offensive rebound by Greg Monroe  
8:03   Defensive rebound by Monte Morris  
8:00 +3 Nick Young made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Monte Morris 30-33
7:42 +2 Kawhi Leonard made jump shot 32-33
7:24   Monte Morris missed jump shot  
7:21   Defensive rebound by Delon Wright  
7:08 +2 Delon Wright made finger-roll layup 34-33
6:57   Trey Lyles missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:54   Defensive rebound by Serge Ibaka  
6:38   Kawhi Leonard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:20   Bad pass turnover on Nick Young, stolen by C.J. Miles  
6:14   Danny Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:11   Defensive rebound by Trey Lyles  
6:02   Mason Plumlee missed floating jump shot  
6:01   Offensive rebound by Trey Lyles  
6:01   Trey Lyles missed dunk  
6:00   Defensive rebound by Kawhi Leonard  
5:37   Danny Green missed 3-pt. jump shot  
5:32   Defensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
5:16 +2 Nikola Jokic made hook shot, assist by Jamal Murray 34-35
5:16   Violation  
4:55   Delon Wright missed driving layup  
4:54   Offensive rebound by Serge Ibaka  
4:53 +2 Serge Ibaka made dunk 36-35
4:37   Mason Plumlee missed hook shot  
4:35   Defensive rebound by Serge Ibaka  
4:22   Danny Green missed layup, blocked by Jamal Murray  
4:22   TOR team rebound  
4:22   Personal foul on Mason Plumlee  
4:12   Bad pass turnover on C.J. Miles, stolen by Nikola Jokic  
3:55 +2 Nikola Jokic made layup 36-37
3:39   C.J. Miles missed 3-pt. jump shot  
3:36   Defensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
3:15 +2 Nikola Jokic made reverse layup 36-39
2:51 +2 Serge Ibaka made dunk, assist by Kawhi Leonard 38-39
2:40   Personal foul on C.J. Miles  
2:33   Nikola Jokic missed jump shot  
2:30   Defensive rebound by Kawhi Leonard  
2:17 +2 Kawhi Leonard made jump shot 40-39
2:02   Jamal Murray missed jump shot  
1:59   Defensive rebound by Malachi Richardson  
1:38 +2 Kawhi Leonard made jump shot 42-39
1:22   Jamal Murray missed driving layup  
1:20   Defensive rebound by Delon Wright  
1:16 +3 Serge Ibaka made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Delon Wright 45-39
0:59   Lost ball turnover on Nikola Jokic, stolen by C.J. Miles  
0:54   Kawhi Leonard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:51   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
0:43   Personal foul on Malachi Richardson  
0:38   Torrey Craig missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:34   Defensive rebound by Delon Wright  
0:29 +2 Delon Wright made reverse layup 47-39
0:10   Juancho Hernangomez missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:07   Defensive rebound by Serge Ibaka  
0:00   Kawhi Leonard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   TOR team rebound  
0:00   End of period  

3rd Quarter

Time Team Play Score
11:46 +3 C.J. Miles made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Delon Wright 50-39
11:28   Personal foul on Kawhi Leonard  
11:21   Jamal Murray missed fade-away jump shot  
11:16   Defensive rebound by Kawhi Leonard  
11:11 +2 Kawhi Leonard made layup 52-39
10:58 +3 Torrey Craig made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Juancho Hernangomez 52-42
10:40 +2 Kawhi Leonard made fade-away jump shot 54-42
10:15 +3 Torrey Craig made 3-pt. jump shot 54-45
10:00   Kawhi Leonard missed 3-pt. jump shot  
9:58   Defensive rebound by Jamal Murray  
9:44   Nikola Jokic missed hook shot  
9:41   Defensive rebound by Kawhi Leonard  
9:32 +2 Kawhi Leonard made driving layup, assist by Delon Wright 56-45
9:15 +2 Nikola Jokic made reverse layup 56-47
8:49   Serge Ibaka missed floating jump shot  
8:48   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
8:36 +2 Nikola Jokic made driving layup 56-49
8:24   Serge Ibaka missed jump shot  
8:20   Defensive rebound by Torrey Craig  
8:10   Offensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
8:07   Defensive rebound by Kawhi Leonard  
7:56   Personal foul on Juancho Hernangomez  
7:47 +2 Serge Ibaka made dunk, assist by Kawhi Leonard 58-49
7:34   Personal foul on Danny Green  
7:34   Unsportsmanlike technical foul  
7:34 +1 Jamal Murray made free throw 58-50
7:22 +2 Torrey Craig made dunk, assist by Nikola Jokic 58-52
7:09   Kawhi Leonard missed jump shot  
7:06   Defensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
6:55 +2 Monte Morris made floating jump shot 58-54
6:35   Danny Green missed floating jump shot  
6:33   Offensive rebound by Serge Ibaka  
6:32 +2 Serge Ibaka made dunk 60-54
6:16   Torrey Craig missed 3-pt. jump shot  
6:13   Defensive rebound by Serge Ibaka  
5:55 +2 Kawhi Leonard made jump shot 62-54
5:43 +2 Nikola Jokic made jump shot 62-56
5:22   Shooting foul on Torrey Craig  
5:22 +1 Delon Wright made free throw 65-56
5:03   Offensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
5:03   Nikola Jokic missed dunk  
5:03   Offensive rebound by Nikola Jokic  
5:01   Violation  
4:44   C.J. Miles missed floating jump shot  
4:41   Defensive rebound by Malik Beasley  
4:38   Shooting foul on Serge Ibaka  
4:38 +1 Malik Beasley made 1st of 2 free throws 65-57
4:38   Malik Beasley missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
4:28   Delon Wright missed 3-pt. jump shot  
4:26   Offensive rebound by OG Anunoby  
4:17 +2 Kawhi Leonard made driving layup 67-57
4:07   Monte Morris missed jump shot  
4:07   Defensive rebound by Danny Green  
3:55 +3 Kawhi Leonard made 3-pt. jump shot 70-57
3:53   Full timeout called  
3:40   Shooting foul on Serge Ibaka  
3:40 +1 Nikola Jokic made free throw 70-60
3:21   Lost ball turnover on Kawhi Leonard, stolen by Monte Morris  
3:15   Jumpball  
3:09   Shooting foul on Lorenzo Brown  
3:10   Juancho Hernangomez missed 1st of 3 free throws  
3:10   DEN team rebound  
3:09 +1 Juancho Hernangomez made 2nd of 3 free throws 70-61
3:09 +1 Juancho Hernangomez made 3rd of 3 free throws 70-62
2:57   OG Anunoby missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:54   Defensive rebound by Monte Morris  
2:47   Juancho Hernangomez missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:42   Defensive rebound by Kawhi Leonard  
2:35   Lorenzo Brown missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:33   Defensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
2:19   Torrey Craig missed 3-pt. jump shot  
2:15   Offensive rebound by Malik Beasley  
2:13   Malik Beasley missed driving layup  
2:13   Defensive rebound by Delon Wright  
2:02 +2 Greg Monroe made layup, assist by Lorenzo Brown 72-62
1:52   Shooting foul on OG Anunoby  
1:52 +1 Nikola Jokic made 1st of 2 free throws 72-63
1:52   Nikola Jokic missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:45 +3 Monte Morris made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Malik Beasley 72-66
1:21   Shooting foul on Malik Beasley  
1:21   Greg Monroe missed 1st of 2 free throws  
1:21   TOR team rebound  
1:21   Greg Monroe missed 2nd of 2 free throws  
1:19   Defensive rebound by Juancho Hernangomez  
1:05   Jamal Murray missed 3-pt. jump shot  
1:03   Defensive rebound by OG Anunoby  
0:50   OG Anunoby missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:47   Defensive rebound by Monte Morris  
0:37   Juancho Hernangomez missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:33   Defensive rebound by OG Anunoby  
0:25   Out of bounds turnover on Lorenzo Brown  
0:07   Juancho Hernangomez missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:03   DEN team rebound  
0:02 +2 Nikola Jokic made fade-away jump shot, assist by Monte Morris 72-68
0:01   C.J. Miles missed 3-pt. jump shot  
0:00   TOR team rebound  
0:00   End of period