Griz strike gold again, rip Nuggets

The Associated Press

MEMPHIS – The Memphis Grizzlies are on the best run in franchise history, and they want to keep going.

Bonzi Wells scored 17 points and the Grizzlies extended their franchise-record winning streak to eight games with a 106-88 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

“I think we might be turning some eyes,” Memphis point guard Jason Williams said. “But I think we've got a long way to go.”

Memphis shot 70 percent (26-for-37) in the second half when they outscored Denver 64-39 on the way to their seventh straight home win.

Pau Gasol and Stromile Swift each scored 15 for Memphis, and Lorenzen Wright and Mike Miller finished with 12.

“They outhustled us, outdefended us, outcoached us and outplayed us in the second half,” Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik. “We just played the hottest team in the league. They are also the steadiest team in the league.”

Carmelo Anthony shot 10-for-17 and scored 16 of his 25 points in the second half for Denver. Andre Miller added 19 and Earl Boykins had 12 in a reserve role.

“I don't think that we as a team really wanted to win that badly,” Anthony said. “We sort of gave up at the end when they were making a run, and that's not like us.”

The Nuggets' guards caused problems for the Grizzlies in the first half. Andre Miller scored 10 in the first quarter, and Boykins used his quickness to outrun Memphis' guards down the floor and scored 10 first-half points.

Andre Miller scored on a drive with a second left in the first half to give the Nuggets a 49-42 lead. He finished with 12 first-half points.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets' defense held Memphis to 41 percent shooting and forced 10 turnovers.

“Our big guys were rotating but not stopping their guys getting layins,” Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. “It was like we were playing in mud.

“In the first half, our offensive sets did not meet their defensive intensity.”

That trend changed early in the second half.

The Grizzlies opened the third quarter with a 9-1 run that erased their deficit. Gasol and Swift combined for 13 points in the period.

Memphis scored the last five points of the period to take a 76-67 lead into the final quarter. The Grizzlies are now 17-1 when leading after three.

Wells scored on consecutive baskets and Memphis extended its lead to double digits. A 3-pointer by Wells gave the Grizzlies a 101-82 lead with 3:38 left.

“They were real physical with us in the first half, and they dictated everything,” said Memphis forward James Posey, who had 10 points, one of seven Grizzlies in double figures. “We weren't playing our style of basketball. We just committed ourselves to change it in the second half, and give extra energy.”

With the win, Memphis jumped past the Nuggets for the seventh-best record in the Western Conference.

“We're going to be fighting with those guys for the eighth spot or the seventh spot,” Williams said. “Or shoot, the way we're playing, it might be the sixth or the fifth, so we have got to try and get a win every time we can.”

Notes: Memphis swingman Shane Battier sat out the game with a left rib injury. … Wells shot 7-for-11. … The Grizzlies were playing the fourth game of a six-game homestand. … Anthony has now scored 20 or more points in 19 games. … Andre Miller has scored in double figures in 40 of 46 games. … Denver, which leads the NBA in blocks, had four, while Memphis had nine, including three by Bo Outlaw. … Denver lost its second straight, both on the road. The Nuggets are 9-13 away from home.