Millerís Big Night Lifts Grizzlies Past Nuggets
Memphis 116, Denver 102
MEMPHIS, Tenn., March 17 (Ticker) -- Mike Miller was virtually unstoppable and moved alongside "Big Country" in the Memphis Grizzlies' record book.
Miller scored a career-high 41 points off the bench and Pau Gasol added 18 for the Grizzlies, who ended a six-game losing streak to the Denver Nuggets with a 116-102 triumph.
"The ball went in tonight, man," Miller said. "It's just one of those things. I got it going early and I have to give credit to my team. They kept finding me when I got it going. I actually think I missed some shots that I probably shouldn't have missed. That's just how it is when you get going like that."
With the game tied, 37-37, Miller scored 13 points, including a pair of 3-pointers, and Chucky Atkins added eight straight to give the Grizzlies 65-50 lead with 1:39 to go before halftime.
Miller remained hot in the third quarter with nine points in a 16-2 run that widened the margin to 81-59 with 7:39 remaining.
"We rode (Miller) tonight," Memphis coach Mike Fratello said. "He was superb out there. We found him, got him the ball and he was magnificent."
DerMarr Johnson's 3-pointer brought Denver within 108-97 with 3:53 left. However, Miller came through again with a basket from the arc, two free throws and a three-point play in the final three minutes to seal the win.
"When Mike (is) on like that, he makes it tough for anyone to deal with because he has unlimited range, pretty much," Grizzlies guard Eddie Jones said. "What are you going to do, come up on him? He'll just drive right past you and hit the pull-up. When he's got it going, he's just tough to deal with."
Jones scored 17 points, Atkins had 16 and a career-high eight rebounds for the Grizzlies, who shot 56 percent (42-of-75) and held a 32-25 rebounding edge.
"I thought tonight we were the aggressor," Jones said. "We came out and took it right to them and made it tough for them to handle us."
Memphis (36-29) remained sixth in the Western Conference, three games in front of Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Grizzlies would meet Denver (37-30) in the first round of the playoffs.
"More than anything we did as individuals, this was about what we did as a team," Miller said. "This a team we could see in the playoffs, so we needed to come out and find out their weaknesses."
"They are a very competitive team," Denver coach George Karl said. "I'm sure if we get them in the playoffs, the competitive spirits will pick up."
Carmelo Anthony made 16-of-25 shots overall and did his best to keep the Nuggets in the game, scoring 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter.
"They just came out hot," Anthony said. "I think they had to after coming to our place last week (and losing). We've played Memphis a lot over the past couple years and it's tough anytime we play them."
Ruben Patterson scored 17 points and Andre Miller 13 for the Nuggets, who have a five-game lead over Utah in the Northwest Division.
Nuggets center Marcus Camby sprained his right knee in the first quarter and did not play in the second half.