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Garbajosa, Raptors trounce Nuggets

Mar 24, 2007 - 5:07 AM TORONTO (Ticker) -- Hoping to end their struggles against the Denver Nuggets, the Toronto Raptors called on rookie Jorge Garbajosa.

Garbajosa scored 21 of his season-high 22 points in the first half as the Raptors halted a five-game losing streak against the Nuggets with a 121-94 triumph.

Reserve Morris Peterson scored 23 points and T.J. Ford added 14 and 14 assists for Toronto (38-31), which leads the second-place New Jersey Nets (31-38) by seven games in the Atlantic Division.

Garbajosa shot 6-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-9 from the arc, as he surpassed his previous high of 20 points set against New York on March 14 early by halftime.

"I really felt good because the team won and because I played a good game," Garbajosa said. "Everybody put in a good effort for a great win tonight. We have to enjoy this now because tomorrow we have to get ready for Boston."

The 6-9 Spaniard, who also grabbed nine rebounds, helped the Raptors build a 72-43 lead after two quarters.

"I think Garbajosa had probably as complete a game as he's had rebounding, defensively and shooting the ball," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said.

Toronto shot a blistering 68 percent (28-of-41) in the first half, getting 11 points from Petersen and 10 apiece from Chris Bosh and Ford.

"I definitely felt good tonight," Peterson said. "I was able to knock down some shots and overall I think we played a great game."

"They couldn't miss a shot in that first half, all game pretty much," Nuggets guard J.R. Smith added. "They were hitting threes, layups everything. They just had a game where everybody was hitting their shots."

Bosh left the game in the third with a sprained right ankle and did not return for the Raptors, who finished 12-of-23 from the arc in setting a season high in points.

"I'm all right," Bosh said. "Luckily I sprained it on a jump shot. I rolled it just a little bit. It's not bad so I am fortunate for that."

Linas Kleiza and Smith each scored 20 points off the bench and Steve Blake added 15 for Denver (34-33), which fell two games behind the Los Angeles Lakers (36-32) for the sixth spot in the Western Conference.

"The Raptors definitely played well and we came from losing a tough game at Chicago which took a lot out of us," Kleiza said.

Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, who combined for 59 points in the taxing 109-108 loss to Chicago on Thursday, were held to 14 and 10, respectively. The All-Stars connected on just 6-of-27 from the field for the Nuggets, who arrived at their hotel at 3 a.m. local time after the late flight from Chicago.

"When you've got guys like Anthony and Iverson and they're not having a good night, you've got to take advantage of it and I think we did that," Peterson said.

Denver shot a woeful 38 percent (33-of-87).

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