Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - DeMar DeRozan, fresh off receiving the news that he had been voted to his first All-Star Game, scored 19 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 100-90 decision over the Denver Nuggets.
Terrence Ross added 18 points in Toronto's third straight victory. Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry donated 13 points apiece, and John Salmons had 11 points with nine assists in a reserve role.
"Playing defense and playing together. That's all we've been doing," said DeRozan. "If we do what we have to do on the defensive end we'll get easy shots, we can get any shot we want."
Denver, playing without point guards Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson, got an unexpected boost from shooting guard Randy Foye, who handed out a career-high 16 assists in the setback. Lawson (shoulder) missed his second straight tilt, while Robinson underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season.
J.J. Hickson and Evan Fournier each dropped 18 points, with Hickson also grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds as the Nuggets lost for the fifth time in seven tries.
"Everybody is frustrated," said Fournier. "Ty Lawson and Nate Robinson not playing is tough for us but we cannot make excuses. We just have to keep playing."
Toronto led 60-53 at halftime but saw its lead shrink to just two points after a Wilson Chandler triple four minutes into the third. The Raptors took a timeout to regroup and Lowry hit a 3-pointer to keep Denver at arm's length.
Later in the frame, a pair of DeRozan free throws made it 73-63. Fournier's three-point play at 5:11 made it seven, but once again Toronto responded, rattling off an 11-2 run. Lowry capped the spurt with another trey, and the Raptors held a 86-70 edge after 36 minutes.
The lead stretched to 25 points on a Salmons triple 3:13 into the fourth, and Toronto led comfortably the rest of the way.
Earlier, Lowry beat the first quarter buzzer with a 3, giving Toronto a 29-25 lead after one. There were five ties and four lead changes during the back- and-forth period.
The Raptors never trailed after that.