Rudy Fernandez scored a season-high 23 in his return from a sore Achilles as the Denver Nuggets beat the short-handed Toronto Raptors 96-81 on Friday night.
Danilo Gallinari added 21 points and Nene had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets in their sixth straight win. They capitalized on a Toronto lineup that was missing leading scorer Andrea Bargnani, out indefinitely after aggravating a strained left calf this week.
The Raptors took a while to adjust to his absence, and by the time they did, it was too late as they fell to 0-7 in games Bargnani has been sidelined.
They missed 14 of their first 15 shots, fell behind 16-2, scored just a dozen points in the first quarter and trudged off the court at halftime trailing 54-32.
Toronto was still down 14 before making a run in the fourth quarter, getting within six before the Nuggets buckled down on defense to put this one away.
Fernandez, the first Denver player off the bench, made his first five shots, including three from beh...