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12/04/2012 12:59 AM EST
Brewer leads Nuggets past Raptors 113-110
DENVER 113, TORONTO 110

DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets were running, dunking and
cruising to a laugher of a win midway through the fourth
quarter.



Six minutes later they walked off the court more relieved than
happy after withstanding a desperate rally by Toronto.



Corey Brewer scored 19 points, JaVale McGee had 17 points and
five blocks, and the Nuggets held on to beat the Raptors 113-110
Monday night.



Andrea Bargnani scored 23 points for Toronto and Kyle Lowry had
24, including 12 in the fourth quarter when the Raptors cut a
17-point lead to one with 2:18 left.



"We dug ourselves too big of a hole," Raptors coach Dwane Casey
said. "They are a good offensive team, they're a very explosive
offensive team. We decided to play defense the last few minutes
of the game, and it's too late."



It was the third time in the last four games that the Nuggets
let a double-digit lead disappear late. This time they were able
to hold on after losing at Utah and Golden State last week.



"I think it's a great win. It's what we needed. We needed a
win," Nuggets coach George Karl said. "We've got to get better
at finishing the game."



The Nuggets led 103-86 on a dunk by Kenneth Faried midway
through the fourth before Toronto came storming back. The
Raptors scored 11 straight points before Danilo Gallinari hit
two free throws.



A 3-pointer by rookie Terrence Ross and two free throws by Lowry
made it 105-104.



"Lowry started getting more aggressive going to the basket,
getting fouls and finding open shooters," Nuggets guard Ty
Lawson said. "We've got to be smarter and more focused on
putting our foot on them when we're up 15 points."



Lawson, who finished with 16 points, hit a 3-pointer and Toronto
missed its next three shots as Denver built a 110-104 cushion.



Lowry hit another 3 with 14 seconds left, and after two free
throws from Andre Iguodala, Amir Johnson hit a 3 with 7.9
seconds remaining to make it 112-110.



"We stopped making shots, they started making shots," Brewer
said. "NBA teams are going to make runs and they made their run
late."



Faried hit one of two free throws with 5.8 seconds left and
DeMar DeRozan missed a long 3 at the buzzer.



Faried had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Six players scored in
double figures for Denver, which held a 23-9 edge in offensive
rebounding.



"We made a commitment in the second half to play defense the
whole time," Lowry said. "I don't think in the second half that
they had too many fast-break points. We have to play like we did
in the second half in the first 24."



The Nuggets looked as though they would sail to their first win
in four games. They led 61-44 at halftime and maintained a
double-digit lead throughout the third quarter.



Denver trailed 22-19 when it took control late in the first
quarter. Brewer came off the bench and had two quick dunks and a
layup to spark a 10-2 run to finish the period.



Brewer continued his tear in the second quarter. He scored nine
points in 2:30 and McGee had an alley-oop dunk among his 11
first-half points to help Denver take a 38-26 lead before
Toronto called a timeout.



Denver didn't let up. Jordan Hamilton scored six straight points
to push the lead to 53-34 with 4:15 left in the first half. The
Nuggets continued to turn missed shots and turnovers into easy
baskets, outscoring Toronto 13-0 on the fast break in the first
half.



"They were the aggressors. They really turned the game at that
time," Casey said. "Altitude, real or perceived, really messed
with guys."



NOTES: McGee had a career-high 16 free throw attempts. He made
nine. ... Raptors F Linas Kleiza (sore left hip) did not play.
He had an MRI on Monday afternoon but the results were not
available yet. ... Nuggets forward Wilson Chandler, who has
missed the last 10 games while trying to recover from offseason
surgery on his left hip, will not join the team on its upcoming
five-game road trip.

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