Raptors’ Historic First Quarter Stuns Nuggets As Denver Crashes to Fourth Straight Loss

Raptors’ Historic First Quarter Stuns Nuggets As Denver Crashes to Fourth Straight Loss

Joel Reyes
March 15, 2023 at 10:18 AM
  • The Toronto Raptors handed the Denver Nuggets their fourth straight loss
  • All five Raptors starters scored in double figures in Toronto’s win
  • The Nuggets’ defensive woes surfaced again in the loss to the Raptors

Denver Nuggets' losing woes show no sign of ending as they suffered a 125-110 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night.

The Nuggets have lost their last four games, with their record at 46-23.

Their lead atop the Western Conference standings has been whittled down to just four games.

Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors, Denver Nuggets, Nikola Jokic
Fred VanVleet chases down a loose ball in the Raptors' game against the Nuggets on March 14, 2023. Image: Cole Burston
Source: Getty Images

The Nuggets got off to a terrible start, allowing the Raptors to score a franchise-record 49 points in the first quarter, per ESPN. They trailed by 19 points after the first 12 minutes, a deficit that proved too difficult to overcome.

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Defense a concern for Nuggets

So, what is troubling Denver nowadays? The Nuggets have struggled on the defensive end lately, with their opponents scoring 100 or more points in their last five games.

Their defense has worsened in their last three outings, with their opponents scoring 120 or more points during that stretch.

VanVleet stars in Raptors’ win

They had difficulties stopping Fred VanVleet in the game against the Raptors. He scored 36 points on 13 of 22 shooting from the field.

He was red-hot from beyond the arc, knocking down eight of his 12 attempts from the 3-point area. The Raptors guard finished with seven assists, three steals, and two turnovers in nearly 38 minutes of action.

VanVleet wasn’t the only one who punished the Nuggets, as all of the Raptors' starters scored in double figures. O.G. Anunoby and Scottie Barnes scored 24 and 18 points, respectively. Pascal Siakam and Jakob Poeltl each dropped 12 points in the win.

The Raptors snapped their three-game losing streak with the victory. The Nuggets would like to experience that winning feeling soon, as their last victory came on March 6 in the game against Toronto.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone urged his team to play better, saying they have gotten a little soft with success and have been on cruise control for so long.

VanVleet criticizes referee Ben Taylor

Sports Brief recently reported on VanVleet blasting the referees after Toronto’s loss to the LA Clippers.

He pulled no punches when talking about referee Ben Taylor after the defeat.

The veteran guard criticized Taylor’s officiating, resulting in a $30,000 fine.

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Joel Reyes
Joel Reyes is a sports editor at with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines. He has eight years of work experience in sports writing.