<
>

Rose: Raptors 'winning ugly'

12/31/2003

DENVER (AP) -- Jalen Rose thinks the Toronto Raptors' are
learning how to win -- even when it's not pretty.

"I'll describe the whole game as 'burn that film,"' Rose said.
"Winning ugly is a part of winning. We'll take it."

Alvin Williams and Rose each had 17 points, and Williams hit
four free throws in the last two minutes as the Toronto Raptors
snapped the Denver Nuggets' three-game winning streak with an 81-74
victory Tuesday night.

Vince Carter added 15 points on 5-for-16 shooting. Toronto has
now won two of its last 20 road games against Western Conference
opponents .

"We needed a win tonight," Carter said. "Regardless of how
bad we played, we have to finish the game."

The Raptors swept the season series for the third time in
franchise history.

"Let's be honest, they missed a lot of open shots," Toronto
coach Kevin O'Neill said. "I thought we played hard defensively,
and we did a good job, except with the turnovers, of not giving up
transition baskets."

Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik didn't know what to make of his team's
performance.

"Who do we think we are?" Bzdelik said. "We had a lot of
defensive breakdowns and on pick-and-rolls had two guys go with the
ball."

Carmelo Anthony had 19 points on 7-for-16 shooting and seven
rebounds, but was only 1-for-7 in the second half. Anthony left the
locker room without talking to reporters.

Voshon Lenard added 17 points for the Nuggets, who lost for only
the fourth time at home.

"You are going to have letdowns and some nights like this,"
said Lenard, who shot 6-for-16. "You have to be able to bounce
back from them."

Rose hit a 3-pointer to put Toronto ahead 76-69 with 2:21 left
and two free throws by Williams pushed the lead to 78-69 with 1:44
remaining. The Nuggets were within 78-74 with 51 seconds left after
Lenard and Miller each hit a 3-pointer, but Williams sealed the win
with two free throws with 15 seconds left.

Toronto led by two entering the fourth but didn't score until
Lonny Baxter made a layup nearly five minutes into the quarter. The
Nuggets couldn't capitalize though, managing just two free throws
by Andre Miller during the Raptors' drought.

Game Notes: The Raptors activated center Mengke Bateer and placed
forward Lamond Murray on injured reserve with a sore lower back.
... Carter and Rose were booed during introductions. ... Rose has
played in 267 consecutive games, the fourth-longest streak among
active players. ... Lenard played 63 games for the Raptors last
year. ... A win would have matched the Nuggets' best start since
1989-90 when they started 20-11.