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Reply To: NBA • Thursday Service Plays • 12/3/15

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Preview: Denver At Toronto

When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, December 3, 2015

Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto, Ontario

The Toronto Raptors will attempt to avoid looking too far ahead when they begin a four-game homestand Wednesday against Denver. The second game on the homestand is a marquee event, as the Raptors will have a chance to deliver the first loss of the season to the phenomenal Golden State Warriors, who will enter the contest 20-0.

Toronto carries some momentum of its own into this one after it rallied for a 96-86 win at Atlanta on Wednesday. Kyle Lowry scored 22 of his 31 points in a blistering 39-point fourth quarter for the Raptors, who have won five of six overall. While Toronto was finishing strong, the Nuggets were ending their eighth straight loss with a whimper on Wednesday, losing the fourth quarter by a 13-point margin in a 99-90 setback at Chicago. They have scored an average of 87.4 points in the last five games of the slide, which is now the squad’s longest since a nine-game losing streak in 2002-03.

TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Altitude 2 (Denver), Sportsnet One (Toronto)

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (6-13): Denver seemed to be overcoming its offensive woes before it shot 6-of-24 from the floor in the fourth quarter at Chicago, and head coach Mike Malone seemed intent on trying something else down the stretch. Only three starters played in the final period and that trio combined to produce one basket, giving way to a bench that struggled to keep pace with the Bulls. Reserve forward Will Barton played all 12 minutes of the fourth and finished with a team-high 16 points, his fourth consecutive double-digit effort.

ABOUT THE RAPTORS (12-7): Lowry has been enjoying a career year and he took it to another level with his performance Wednesday. He actually left the game due to flu-like symptoms in the second quarter before finishing with seven fourth-quarter baskets – matching Atlanta’s total as a team – to reach the 30-point mark for the first time this season. The veteran guard finished with 30 points and 11 assists in the previous meeting with the Nuggets last Dec. 28.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Raptors C Bismack Biyombo is averaging 11.6 rebounds in five starts since replacing the injured Jonas Valanciunas.

2. Nuggets PG Gary Harris (concussion) has missed three straight games.

3. Denver SG Randy Foye is 4-of-21 from the floor over the last three games.

PREDICTION: Raptors 98, Nuggets 86