DENVER • The 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 rally by Toronto.
Corey Brewer scored 19 points, JaVale McGee had 17 points and five blocks, and the Nuggets held on Monday to beat the Raptors 113-110.
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 back. The Raptors scored 11 straight points before Danilo Gallinari hit two free throws.
“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 to six.
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.
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.