Skip to content

Nuggets get 11th straight victory with comeback win over Grizzlies

Mar 16, 2013, 8:00 AM EDT

Zach Randolph

The Western Conference playoffs should be amazing this season, and two of the teams that will be as thickly involved as anyone clashed on Friday night in Denver.

The Nuggets came away with their 11th straight victory, after bouncing back from a 10-point third quarter and erasing a double-digit deficit to beat a very good Grizzlies team by a final of 87-80.

This game epitomized why I’ve been reluctant to ride the Memphis bandwagon this season, and it all stems from the Grizzlies’ offense.

Teams can’t expect to win in the playoffs scoring just 80 points, and even though Memphis has an advantage over most opponents with two All-Star caliber post players in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, when Mike Conley playing the point has as many shot attempts as each of his two bigs, and commits seven turnovers while dishing out just three assists, there’s only so much Memphis can do defensively to win against the league’s elite teams.

Through three quarters, it appeared as though the defense would be enough. Memphis held the Nuggets to just 10 third quarter points, but the offensive ineptitude that’s a regularity with this Grizzlies team produced just 19 in the period, and they were only able to take a lead of eight points into the fourth.

In a low-scoring, low-possession game, that might be enough against most teams. But the Nuggets are explosive offensively, and they’ll eventually get out in transition to get some easy buckets, if they’re not creating open looks for one of nine guys who can legitimately score if they receive the ball under the right circumstances.

Denver outscored Memphis 29-14 in the final period, which included a run of 17-4 that turned an eight-point deficit into a five-point lead with 5:45 to play. Danilo Gallinari, Kosta Koufos, and Andre Iguodala all hit big shots down the stretch, while the Nuggets shot 62.5 percent from the field over the game’s final 12 minutes.

Denver’s overall winning streak reached 11, but their streak at home is now up to 15. The team’s 30-3 home record is tied with Miami for the league’s best.

Looking ahead to the playoff picture, we have three more-than-solid teams at a logjam in the West standings — the Grizzlies, the Clippers, and the Nuggets, all of whom are fighting for the three-seed. Memphis and L.A. are in third and fourth respectively, while Denver is just a half-game behind each.

While the Grizzlies traditionally win with grind-it-out, defensive efforts that would seem to be beneficial in the playoffs, the fact is that they don’t have reliable offensive options once the games get tight and a crucial basket is needed to seal a victory. Conley is average at best, and though Gasol and Randolph are both All-Star talents, they need sets run for them (or isolation plays, if nothing else) to be successful with the game on the line.

In this one, neither was featured down the stretch, and the Grizzlies suffered the consequences. They’ll need to figure out some things offensively before the playoffs begin if they’re going to get beyond the first round, but something tells me that if they haven’t done so to this point in the season, it’s not going to come together in time for a deep run into the playoffs.

Latest Posts
  1. World Cup preview: No Durant, no problem USA still one of two teams with legit shot to win gold

    Aug 28, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

    Team USA Showcase Getty Images

    Doesn’t matter who didn’t show up, the guys that did make Team USA one of two teams with a legit shot at gold.

  2. Report: Leandro Barbosa reaches deal with Warriors

    Aug 28, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Indiana Pacers v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

    For a third point guard signed for the league minimum, this is a nice pickup. Not thrilling, but nice.

  3. Lakers work out seven NBA veteran free agents beyond Michael Beasley

    Aug 28, 2014, 12:20 AM EDT

    New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

    Dexter Pittman, Greg Stiemsma, Daniel Orton, Bobby Brown, Toney Douglas, Ben Hansbrough and Malcolm Lee try out

  4. Robbie Hummel to release hip-hop album. Wait. What?

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:20 PM EDT

    Robbie Hummel Robbie Hummel

    NBA news you definitely didn’t expect to read today

  5. Jerry Colangelo on James Harden leading Team USA: ‘He’s the one’

    Aug 27, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

    Puerto Rico v United States Getty Images

    Rockets guard continues to draw praise after offseason of petty comments

  6. Dion Waiters: Kevin Love ‘thinks I’m underrated’ and ‘knows I pass the ball’

    Aug 27, 2014, 7:22 PM EDT

    Dion Walters, Kevin Love Dion Walters, Kevin Love

    Waiters on the possibility of playing with Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving: ‘I’ve got to destroy my opponent’

  7. Michael Beasley gets second Lakers workout

    Aug 27, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Former No. 2 remains unsigned after disappointing season with Heat

  8. Doc Rivers got PAID

    Aug 27, 2014, 4:22 PM EDT

    San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    New contract with Clippers makes Rivers the NBA’s highest-paid coach

  9. Russian guard Dmitry Kulagin, with Kings interest, considering jumping to NBA

    Aug 27, 2014, 3:41 PM EDT

    Adidas Eurocamp - Day 3 Getty Images

    Kulagin, 22, went undrafted and is now an unrestricted free agent

  10. Cavaliers sold Kyrie Irving on contract extension with LeBron James-Kevin Love plan

    Aug 27, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT

    Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat Cleveland Cavaliers v Miami Heat

    Go back to July 1 and consider the possibility of LeBron James and Kevin Love playing for Cleveland this season

  11. Kevin Love says Timberwolves owner should focus on his own team following trade to Cavaliers

    Aug 27, 2014, 1:02 PM EDT

    Kevin Love Kevin Love

    Minnesota’s owner tried to point out some of Love’s flaws once the deal was done.

  12. Doc Rivers signs contract with Clippers through 2019

    Aug 27, 2014, 12:21 PM EDT

    Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer Doc Rivers, Steve Ballmer

    Clippers owner Steve Ballmer calls keeping Rivers ‘one of my top priorities’

  13. Donald Sterling doesn’t appeal, basically throws in towel on owning Clippers

    Aug 27, 2014, 11:46 AM EDT

    Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano Donald Sterling, V. Stiviano

    Donald Sterling will try to embarrass the league going forward, but he will not ever own the Clippers again.

Featured video

Will LeBron get booed Christmas Day in Miami?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Love (3846)
  2. D. Rose (3276)
  3. T. Young (2563)
  4. K. Bryant (2543)
  5. L. James (2530)
  1. K. Irving (2433)
  2. A. Davis (1957)
  3. G. Hayward (1869)
  4. R. Allen (1847)
  5. E. Bledsoe (1754)