Page last updated on Mon Dec 22 06:18:36 EST 2014
12/01/2013 8:02 PM EST
Robinson scores 23, Nuggets beat Raptors 112-98

TORONTO (AP) -- Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey knows his
starters can't play the entire game.

After Sunday's 112-98 loss to the Denver Nuggets, he probably
wishes they could.

The Nuggets reserves outscored their Raptors counterparts 72-16
as Denver pulled away in the fourth quarter.

"Our bench has got to give us something," Casey said after
Toronto lost its third straight. "Our guys (starters) can't play
for 48 (minutes), so we've got to get production from our bench.

"The guys coming in have got to develop a toughness, a
resilience of getting stops," he said. "And, it starts on the
defensive end. In the second half, they shot it well but we
didn't make them feel us."

The 72 bench points conceded is the worst in Raptors' history,
exceeding the 69 points allowed to the Chicago Bulls in a loss
on Jan. 25, 2006.

"Seventy-two points off our bench is huge for us tonight and
that's what it takes, contributions from everybody on this
team," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said.

Nate Robinson led Denver (10-6) with 23 points off the bench.
The 5-foot-9 veteran hit five 3-pointers, including back-to-back
shots from beyond the arc with just over two minutes to go, as
the Nuggets coasted to their sixth straight win.

Timofey Mozgov had 16 points, Darrell Arthur scored 14 and
Jordan Hamilton 10, all off the bench for Denver.

"For us we just stick together. Like Coach said, we have a
tag-team mentality which is, first team wear them down and
second team wear them out," Robinson said. "For us, early in the
year a lot of guys on the team, a lot of guys on the bench,
weren't making shots and now we are in our rhythm."

Rudy Gay led the Raptors with 23 points. Jonas Valanciunas had
18 points and 11 rebounds.

Finishing 1-3 on their longest homestand of the season, the
Raptors (6-10) now head west for the next week, visiting the
Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.

"Personally, I'm frustrated. Period," said Toronto guard DeMar
DeRozan, who finished with 17 points. "We've just got to figure
it out and turn it around on the road.

"It's correctable but we shouldn't have to keep doing the same
thing over and over before we realize that we are doing
something wrong. We have to understand what we're doing out the
gate and correct it."

Casey shuffled his lineup, inserting Tyler Hansbrough into the
starting rotation in place of a struggling Amir Johnson. And,
the initial results were positive, as the Raptors came out
flying, opening up a 15-point lead eight minutes into the first
quarter on the strength of a swarming defense and some deadly
accurate field goal shooting.

DeRozan hit his first four shots and Lowry sunk his initial two
attempts from beyond the 3-point arc.

But the Nuggets went on a 13-4 run over the final 3:56 of the
first quarter to cut the lead to 31-25.

Denver led 47-45 at the half and had a 76-72 lead after a seesaw
third quarter that featured four lead changes.

"Those guys got hot early. They did a great job and made shots
and we really couldn't stop them early on," Arthur said. "I knew
we were going to grind our way back into it, like we do. We are
starting to get it now. I think our chemistry is getting a lot
better; this is our sixth game in a row that we have won. I
think we are playing really well right now."

Casey also said the Raptors didn't pass the ball enough.

"We had only 18 assists, they had 29," he said. "And, that's
where it starts in the offensive end.

Gay said despite three straight losses, the Raptors are not
getting down on themselves.

"If we want to win, we have to make the right adjustments," he

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