NBA: Fred VanVleet rains threes, Raptors hold off Nuggets
Fred VanVleet knocked down eight 3-pointers and scored 36 points as the Toronto Raptors — powered by a record-breaking opening quarter — defeated the visiting Denver Nuggets 125-110 Tuesday night.
OG Anunoby added 24 points for the Raptors, who ended a three-game losing streak in their first game home after a 1-4 road trip.
Scottie Barnes scored 18 points for Toronto. Pascal Siakam scored 12 points, Gary Trent Jr. scored 11 points off the bench and Jakob Poeltl had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Fred VanVleet went off in the Raptors W 👀
8 3PM (season-high) pic.twitter.com/perKhGwlXE
— NBA (@NBA) March 15, 2023
Nikola Jokic had 28 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Western Conference-leading Nuggets, who have lost a season-high four in a row.
Michael Porter Jr. added 23 points for Denver in the opener of a five-game road swing. Aaron Gordon scored 18 points, Jamal Murray scored 14 on just 5-for-18 shooting and Bruce Brown scored 12 points.
Toronto led by as many as 24 points before taking a six-point lead into the final quarter.
Denver scored the first three points of the fourth to chop Toronto’s lead to three. Trent’s steal and dunk gave Toronto a 12-point lead with 6:51 remaining in the fourth. Anunoby’s dunk increased the margin to 16 with 4:41 to play. Jokic answered with four straight points, but VanVleet came back with a 3-pointer with 3:04 to play.
VanVleet scored 14 points, sinking 4 of 5 shots from 3-point range, as Toronto led 49-30 after one quarter on 71.4 percent shooting from the field (20-for-28). It marked a Raptors franchise record for points in a quarter.
The lead reached 23 when Precious Achiuwa made two free throws with 9:49 remaining in the second quarter, but Denver responded with six straight points. Jokic’s layup trimmed the margin to 16 with 5:37 to play. Toronto scored the next six points and the Raptors led 72-56 at halftime.
Toronto shot 57.1 percent (28-for-49) from the field in the first half with VanVleet scoring 18 points.
Despite trailing by 16, Denver shot 57.9 percent (22-for-38) from the field in the first half with Gordon scoring 11 points — leading a quartet of Nuggets scoring in double figures.
Siakam’s jumper bumped the lead to 24 with 8:16 left in the third quarter. Jokic’s layup and Murray’s 3-pointer cut the lead to 12 with four minutes to go. Porter’s layup pulled Denver within five with 1:06 remaining, and Toronto led 98-92 after three quarters.
The teams split two games this season.