Well it was already going to be hard to get a win against the Nuggets. No Jermaine O'Neal and No Jason Kapono and the job gets even harder. I am totally sober while doing this on New Years Eve and that could have been a big mistake. But will see how it goes. I am like your basketball designated game watcher. So you can count on me to deliver you the results of this one on this edition of the Raptors Rewind. Andrea Bargnani and Anthony Parker would fill in for the missing Jason Kapono and Jermaine O'Neal. So let's get this party started and begin the last Raptor rewind of 2008. I am a bit misty but I will collect myself by the time the ball goes up in the air. Hopefully I won't have reason to cry by the end of this game.
Nuggets take the tip as they come in and K-Mart drives and jams and we were off. Nene would score and the Nuggets were up 4-0 just like that. Andrea Bargnani would miss a 3 pointer and the Raptors were missing shots and not looking good to start this one. K-Mart was scoring again and looking like he did in the old days as a Net. Martin would draw the a foul and Chris Bosh would get sent to the line and make a pair to get the Raptors on the score board. Nuggets would rattle of 5 straight points and had a 9-2 lead. Jose Calderon and Jamario Moon would show some signs of life as the both got 2 points a piece. Chris Bosh would get in the lane and score with a baby hook shot. Nuggets would break the run with a basket and they would make it back to back baskets. Jose Calderon would respond with a drive and score. He would then find Jamario Moon leaking out and hooked him up for the alley oop. Andrea Bargnani would get a block at the one end and a 3 pointer at the other end and we had a ball game with the score tied at 15.
Chauncey Billups out of the time out would draw a foul and get to the line and make a pair with 4:49 to play in the first. Anthony Parker would respond with a jumper on the other end. Andrea Bargnani would score in the paint and the Raptors had their first lead of the night at 19-17. Bosh would get in on the party and score. Then off another Nugget turnover it was A.P for three and the Raptors had stormed in front to a lead 24-17. J.R Smith checked into the game and right away drained a 3 pointer. That is likely why the Nuggets said not thank you to a rumoured trade for Jason Kapono that had been talked about in the Denver media. Jamario Moon got in on the offensive glass for a tap back score for the Raptors. The Birdman would get a tap back on a Billups miss. Billups would no miss on his next shot and the Raptors lead had been cut down to just 1 with the score 26-21. Jose Calderon would get called for an offensive foul and that was his 2nd of the night. Will Solomon had checked in for him and pick up a foul right away. Billups would glad take the two free points from the charity stripe and the Nuggets were back in front. Jamario Moon would get to the line and he would make his 2 from the line to retake the lead. Will Solomon would nail a 3 pointer and give the Raps a 4 point advantage. The Nuggets would respond with a 2 pointer and the score after one was Raptors 31-29 over the Nuggets. Like I said this morning when the Raptors seem doomed to lose they come out and play well. It is just part of the wacky history that is Raptors Basketball.
Both teams were shooting well with the Nuggets shooting 57% and the Raptors 52%. Andrea Bargnani faked a 3 pointer and took a step in and drained a long two pointer. J.R Smith would respond with a score for the Nuggets. Joey Graham would make a mid range jumper. Joey had broke the ACC as the entire system went down at the Air Canada Centre. No stats.. no scores... no nothing. There was a delay with 10:28 to play in the half and the Raptors leading 35-31. Out of the delay the Nuggets would score. Will Solomon would come back with a score.
Chris "The Birdman" Anderson would score off the garbage rebound. Nene would get a slam for 2 and a chance at the line. But he would miss it and the Raptors and Nuggets were tied at 37. Chris Bosh would break that tie with a basket and Jose Calderon was back on the floor. Anderson would score again and Bosh would answer that score with his second straight for the Raptors. Jose Calderon was doing a much better job pushing the pace. He would find Joey Graham on the run out and he would get the score. Raptors had a 43-39 lead with 5:58 to play in the half. Just over 4 hours left in 2008 in case you were wondering. Happy New Year to any readers from Europe as you have already seen midnight come and go.
Carmelo Anthony would score out of the time out to pull the Nuggets to with in two points. Nene would get a basket and Carmelo would get a technical foul as he did not like the no call he got. Jose Calderon would make the tech and keep his streak alive. Andrea Bargnani would get a basket and the Raptors lead was 46-43. Jose Calderon would get called for his 3rd foul and be forced to the bench with just under 4 minutes to play in the half. Will Solomon in relief of Jose would drive and score with no hesitation what so ever. He must have heard his number one fan was back in Toronto. Whatever the reason Will Solomon looked good and I am willing to admit it. Chauncey Billups was back at the line a place he was getting to a fair bit. Nugget would get back to just one point down with an easy pass and jam. Andrea Bargnani would hit another basket and he had 11 in the first half. J.R Smith would make a 3 pointer and tie the score at 50. Another 3 pointer for the Nuggets and they would take a 53-50 lead into halftime after a respectable effort being put in by the home side. But they did not have a lead to show for it.
Raptors start the half with the basketball and Jamario Moon would miss a 3 point shot. Andrea Bargnani would show Jamario how you make that shot the next time down the floor as he hit a 3 ball. Nuggets would get a score but Jose Calderon would hit another 3-ball. The Nuggets again answered with a two pointer. Jamario Moon would score with a 2 point jumper. Nuggets again would answer. But Andrea Bargnani hit another big 3 pointer and the Raptors powered by the long range shot had taken the lead. The Nuggets would get to the line and tie the score at 61. Carmelo Anthony would get the Nuggets back in front as he would score. Jose Calderon would make the 4th Raptor 3 pointer of the quarter and the Raptors lead 64-63. Chris Bosh would get fouled and head to the line. The Nuggets would already put the Raptors in the bonus and they had not been happy with the calls all night. But to their credit the remained focused and scored 4 straight to re take the lead. Chris Bosh would score in the paint but Billups would answer with a 3 pointer. Bosh would answer with another basket and the score was tied at 70. Nuggets would get a basket from Jones and Parker answered that. Jose Calderon would break the tie with his 3rd long range bomb of the Quarter and it was 75-72 with a time out on the floor.
A steal would lead to a jam for Nene. Jose Calderon had 5 turnovers on the night but I was o.k with it because he was taking chances. Raptors would come back with a basket to get the lead back to 3 points. But the Nuggets would get a score from Melo and it was 77-76 Raptors. J.R Smith would hit a jump shot and the Nuggets were back in front 78-77. Billups would follow that up with a 3 pointer and we were under 2 minute to play. K-Mart with an easy drive and score. Once again down the stretch of a quarter the Nuggets had a 6-0 run. Jay Triano would call a time out and got very upset with his team. Bosh would also talk with some passion in the time out. But the Nuggets coming out of the time out would score again. Finally Bosh would drive and get fouled. The Raptors never took advantage of being in the bonus as this was the first time they had been back to the line in the final minute after they had reached the bonus with over 7 minutes to play. Joey Graham would miss an easy basket the second east miss of the night for him. Nuggets had a 85-77 lead as once again the Raptors folded down the stretch of a quarter. Good teams close quarters and close halfs. The Raptors were showing once again why they were not to that good team level and a long way from it.
A.P would open the 4th quater it was answered with an Anderson score. The Nugget Birdman had a double double of 10 and 10. Andrea Bargnani would get a score. The Raptors had clawed back to 4 points down with the score 87-83. But a 3 point made and a loose ball foul on Joey Graham and the lead would grow by 4 but Anderson missed the foul shot. Bargnani would score and get fouled he had 22 points in the game. The Raptors would get a turnover and find a leaking out Joey Graham would would not have a third bad miss. He would get the poster worthy jam with no one back to stop him. The Raptors were down 2 points with the score 90-88 and a time out for Denver.
Out of the time out Kleiza would make his way to the line and down a pair. Just under 3 hours left in 2008 and the Raptors still had thoughts of a win to close out the year. But Denver would rattle off 5 straight points and try to make that thought less likely with the score 95-88. Raptors would finally score and Chris Bosh was coming back in the game as he had sat out for the first four minutes plus of the quarter. Bosh would go right to work drawing a foul and getting to the line with his team down 7 points. He made both and the score was 97-92 for the Nuggets with just over 7 minutes to play. Raptors would get lucky as a wide open Kleiza would miss a 3 pointer. Carmelo Anthony would later get to the line and make a pair and the lead was back to 7 points with the Nuggets up 99-92. The Nuggets continued to be frustrated with the Refs and Chancey Billups would get a technical foul and there was a time out on the floor and the Raps would shoot one after the time out.
Jose Calderon remains perfecto as he made the tech. But Jamario Moon would miss a jumper and the Raptors still trailed by 6 points. But the Nuggets would turn it over and Bosh would get fouled and head to the line with a chance to trim the lead. Bosh would make a pair with 5:05 left to play and Raptors now down 4 points. But K-Mart had a blue light special on jumpers to push the lead back to 6 points. Jose Calderon would respond to that with a 3 pointer he was 4 for 4 from behind the arc on the night. Chris Bosh was a little hyped up as he looked for a 3-ball of his own to tie but that didn't fall. The Nuggets would take advantage and score and they lead 103-98. Another Raptor miss and Chauncey Billups has the nickname "Mr Big Shot" and he showed you why hitting a clutch 3 pointer and after a chance to tie they game the Raptors were suddenly back down 8 points before they knew what happened. Nuggets lead 106-98 with a time out on the floor with just 2:45 left to play. The Raptors in a key possession out of the time out would end up with an Andrea Bargnani missed jumper for two. Carmelo Anthony would score on the other end and it was a 10 point advantage for Denver and they looked to be on the way to celebrating a win for New Years Eve.
The Raptors again struggle down the stretch of a quarter and it all adds up and that is why they were not going to the winners circle again. Raptors were down 111-100 with just 1:07 left to play. Bargnani was at the line for a pair and he had a great night despite the loss. Bosh would get fouled and there was 55.7 seconds left to play. But the despite was to great it would seem. Bosh made both and it was 111-104. The Raptors decided not to foul and they would get a stop and Parker would get a 3 pointer. But Billups would head to the line with 13.3 seconds and calm as can be make 2 free throws the lead was 114-107 and there would be no joy in Toronto tonight based on the Raptors. Parker would badly miss on a 3 pointer and that was it. The Raptors drop their 3rd straight and were 12-20 for 2008 not exactly what Bryan Colangelo had been hoping for when he made his big trade in the off season. Six Raptors reached double figures in scoring lead by Andrea Bargnani with 26 but it was not enough. To check out the impressive stat lines for your fantasy squads check the boxscore below
This is the last blog for 2008 and I wish it had happier news for you. But I only get to tell you what happens. But hey regardless I thank you all for reading through out 2008 and I hope you will all remain for 2009. All the best to you all and all the people you care about in the upcoming year in 2009. Have a safe and happy New Years Eve. That is a RAP FOR 2008 see you in 2009!!!