It is true J.O is here and in the starting line-up. A.P is playing with a black eye he got in the L.A game from Jordan Farmar. J.O was off to a good start as he hit his first shot of the night. A.P even with the black eye could see the hoop and he scored on his first shot. J.O would head to the line and was perfect. Raptors had a 6-0 lead to start this game. Carmelo Anthony would get by a slower Bargnani and draw a foul and get to the line. He could only hit 1-2. Chris Bosh hit a wide open jumper and the Raps had the jump on the Nuggets 8-3. Andrea Bargnani picked up a foul having a tough time guarding Carmelo. It was non-shooting and Denver did not convert. But the next time up the floor the Nuggets would get a Billups 3 pointer and it was tied at 10. Raptors had gone cold after a hot start.
Joey Graham is the first off the bench to replace Andrea Bargnani who had two early fouls. Joey would look to pass it to Bosh but instead turned it over. Nene had a dunk and the Nuggets had a 13-12 lead. Chris Bosh would pick up a foul that was his second as well. Foul trouble was mounting early for the Raptor big men. Nuggets took a Raptor miss and turned it into points on the other end. The Nuggets had built a 17-12 lead. Nuggets continued the run and now had built the lead to 20-12 and it was time to talk it over for Toronto.
Out of the time out Raptors get back on track with a 3 pointer from Jose Calderon. A Jermaine O'Neal block was something that we had missed seeing. He would remind Nene that he was back for the Raps blocking his shot. Bosh hit a long jumper but still were down 6 points with the score 23-17. Joey Graham would pick up a charge and it was showing signs of being a "Bad Joey" night. The Nuggets may lead the league in number of tattoos. But as for the game they lead 27-17. J.R Smith would nail a 3-ball to make the lead 13 points. Joey Graham would get on track with a little hook shot for a score. Nuggets got a Kleiza 3 pointer for a handy 33-19 lead after one.
Chancey Billups started the second the way the first ended with a 3 pointer. Andrea Bargnani would answer with a 3-ball of his own. Raptors defense with the second unit looked awful and their shooting was not much better. Nuggets lead was 38-22 early in the quarter. The Raptors were shooting 1-7 to start the second quarter. The lone bucket the Bargnani 3 pointer. Nuggets were scoring at will and this game was looking like the 4th quarter in L.A. The Nuggets lead was 19 points at 45-26 and Sam Mitchell called time but really what could he say? Play defense? Make some shots please? It was really that bad. This bench is just flat out not good and it has been exposed badly thus far on this road trip.
Chris Bosh was back with his 2 fouls. Both he and Bargnani were on the floor with 2 fouls. But given the score the fouls were the least of Raptors concern. A Jose Calderon 3 pointer would get the Raptors a much needed basket. But the score was still a lopsided 47-31 for Denver. Chris Bosh was at the line looking to chip away at this large Denver lead. Bosh would return to the line for another 2 free throws that he would make. Carmelo Anthony would end the little Raptor surge with a basket. But Jermaine O'Neal answered that with a score. Bosh had a basket and thanks to 12-2 run the Raptors cut the lead to 49-39. Chris Bosh and J.O were fighting hard to get the Raptors back in it. J.O had another basket in the post. But Raptors were still down 10 points and could not seem to crack through to get it back to single digits. Carmelo Anthony would score to put the Nuggets back up by a dozen with score 55-43. Jermaine O'Neal had his 3rd foul and now all 3 Raptor bigs were battling foul trouble. Chris Bosh had 16 points and 10 rebounds but his Raptors were still getting handled despite that. Late in the half and Bosh picked up his 3rd foul and the Nuggets lead had expanded to 16 points at 61-45. A Joey Graham turnover seemed a fitting way to end the half. But the Nuggets would get 3 more from Billups at the buzzer. He had 21 in the first half and the Nuggets lead 64-45 at the half. Brutal stuff.
These are the times that being the Dino Blogger is not so fun. Raptors shot 37% in the first half and the Nuggets 52%. That is why this game was the way it was. The second half was more of the same. Less than 4 minutes into the third quarter it was 71-49 for the Nuggets. But I am stuck here having to watch the rest of this. If I was just a fan I'd be hitting the video game by now. The story of this game if not for a miracle had been told. The beat down was continuing as Nene scored. The Nuggets were flat out embarrassing the Raptors with a score of 77-51. The Raptors had combined lousy shooting with an equal effort on defense and this was the result. The return of Jermaine O'Neal would not serve as any kind of inspiration.
I have long been a supporter of Sam Mitchell but if he does not get this team on track in short order I think his days are numbered as coach of the Raptors. It is not the fact the Raptors are losing to better teams. It is how they are losing these games. It seems that this team is lost and not with any fight in it. The Raptors were down 31 points with the score 84-53. I mean this is just totally unacceptable. I can only imagine what Bryan Colangelo is thinking in watching this game. He can not be pleased on any level at all. If this is the end of the Sam Mitchell era it is a brutal ending for him. Not saying he could be fired tomorrow but if I heard that he was would I be shocked after this performance? Not really. In defending Sam I always pointed how his teams always fought hard and never gave up. This team was showing no signs of that fight and spirit. As I debate Sam Mitchell's future with you his Raptors gave up 100 points in 3 quarters. The Raptors were getting brutalized 100-68 after 3 quarters.
I have no idea what to write about at this point. Down 32 points in the 4th quarter says about all that needs to be said. Nothing was changing and this was getting to be humiliating for everyone connected to the Raptors. 109-70 and it was far from over. Matt Devlin was trying to point out that these were key minutes for guys like Ukic and Adams and the rest. But sorry, Matt may be right but I really did not care. Joey Graham was playing well in garbage time but he played like garbage when it counted so does it really matter? The score was 111-75 and the 8:30 could not roll of the clock fast enough.
I want to say it again. It is not that the Raptors are losing. The Nuggets are 11-3 since Chancey Billups had come to Denver. It was the way this team was losing the game. It just was an awful lack luster performance that needed to be addressed. Hassan Adams couldn't even make a free throw shot I mean gimme a break. How the heck did he make this team in the first place. As I debate a lot of things in my head the score line was still just as brutal 121-81 with a little under 5 minutes to play. The Raptors will not play again until Friday on national t.v on ESPN. If things are anything like this we are talking a North American wide disaster. I hope at least for a Sam Mitchell classic blow up after this game. Any sign to show me that people care about what is going on here. I mean they obviously do care. No one wants to be humilated like this. Speaking of which the score was 128-87 with 2:18 to play. I am happy to report this game is almost over. That is likely the happiest news of the night. Make the final Nuggets 132-93.
I will not be responsible for anyone that is brave enough to look at the box score of this game. But if you want to see what a truly brutal boxscore looks like this would be about as bad as it gets.Raps/Nuggets Boxscore