SPORTS

Lou Williams scores 26 and Raptors beat Nuggets 112-107 in overtime

12/08/2014 10:20 EST | Updated 02/07/2015 05:59 EST
TORONTO - It was one year ago Monday that the Raptors made the trade that brought Patrick Patterson to Toronto and altered the course of their future.

Patterson marked his anniversary by proving his worth — once again.

Lou Williams poured in 26 points, and Patterson drained two huge three-pointers late in the fourth quarter, as the Raptors topped the Denver Nuggets 112-107 in overtime Monday.

"It's a huge responsibility that I want to have, whether it's hitting crunch-time situation shots like that or hitting game-changing shots like that," said Patterson, who finished with 19 points. "That's what I want to do, that's what I want to be known for, my energy and my three-point shooting. It's just all about knocking it down and having confidence out there."

Williams and Patterson's combined 49 points alone blew away Denver's entire bench, which totalled just 17.

Jonas Valanciunas — with 18 points and 12 rebounds — and Kyle Lowry — with 13 points and 13 assists — both had double-doubles on the night for the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors (16-5).

Terrence Ross finished with 16 for Toronto, which was playing their fifth game without injured all-star DeMar DeRozan.

The Raptors sent Rudy Gay to Sacramento on Dec. 8 of last year, sending Patterson, Greivis Vasquez and Chuck Hayes to the Kings in a deal that turned Toronto's sagging season on its ear and ended in a thrilling playoff run.

"It does not feel like a year. It literally feels like I got traded yesterday," Patterson said. "Time flies by when you're having fun and being with these guys, being with this team, this organization, each and every guy in this locker-room makes every single day fun."

Much of Monday wasn't so fun, as Toronto coughed up a 17-point first-half lead in front of an Air Canada Centre capacity crowd of 19,800 that included former Raptor Charles Oakley, and led only 82-81 going into the fourth quarter.

The Raptors couldn't buy a basket in the fourth, jacking up long-range shots that missed the mark until they found themselves trailing by five points with 2:41 to go.

Then Patterson connected for two three-pointers within two minutes, his second pulling the Raptors even at 102-102 with 28 seconds left.

Patterson said his strategy was to "scream my lungs off" to make Lowry see him out at the three-point line.

"I didn't think Kyle saw me," Patterson said. "He got trapped along the baseline. I'm thankful that he did see me and made a pass and it went in."

Then with the ACC crowd on its feet, Denver turned the ball over on a shot-clock violation, sending the game into the five-minute overtime period.

Ross, who finished 1-for-8 from three-point range, finally drained one in overtime.

"You have to continue with it and trust that they're going to fall," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said on his team's three-point shooting. "T-Ross was zero-for-whatever and then he made that last one which was huge. You have to continue to shoot it, and trust that they're going to fall."

Lowry found Johnson under the basket with 2:10 to go for an easy bucket that put the Raptors up 109-105. And then, with 54 seconds left, Williams stepped back and calmly drained a three, to seal Toronto's victory.

The Raptors are 14-0 this season after leading after three quarters, a streak that actually stretches back 39 games to April 1, 2013. Toronto has now allowed opponents to score 100-plus points in eight straight games.

Casey praised Patterson's effort, saying the forward's "activity and his energy are unbelievable as far as the way he comes into the game and impacts the game."

He wasn't thrilled with the team's defensive performance.

"The one thing I will take is effort," the coach said. "I thought the guys really busted their behinds and really gave it to us down the stretch and found a way to win. That's all you can ask. We made some mistakes, that's why they put erasers on pencils."

Arron Afflalo had 25 points, while Ty Lawson added 22 for the Nuggets (9-12), who lost for the fourth straight night.

"No one likes to lose," Afflalo said. "When we're winning we get confident with how we're playing the game, and start seeing some positive results, and I think things will change. When you're losing, it's tough."

Valanciunas led the way with 10 points and five boards in a first quarter that saw the Nuggets shoot a whopping 68 per cent. A pair of Williams free throws gave the Raptors a seven-point lead with 30 seconds to go, and they led 35-30 to end the quarter.

Williams scored nine straight points early in the second to help the Raptors to a 17-point lead, and Toronto took a 62-52 advantage into the halftime break.

The Raptors saw their double-digit disappear in the third, as the Nuggets outscored them 29-20 in the frame. Denver used a 22-7 run to pull to within a point on a jumper by Afflalo with 2:09 left in the quarter, and led by one going into the fourth.

The Raptors were coming off their worst offensive performance of the season in a 105-91 loss last Friday to the Cavaliers. They face LeBron James and the Cavs again Tuesday in Cleveland.

They're back home to host the Indiana Pacers on Friday.

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