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Grizzlies take down Nuggets

The Grizzlies proved again tonight that they can never be counted out, as they rallied from a 17-point second half deficit to come away with a 116-108 win over the Denver Nuggets at FedExForum.

The win marked the third time this week the Grizzlies came back after trailing by double digits in the second half, and also the growing confidence that Memphis is accumulating by the game.

After trailing by 17 at the 3:49 mark in the third the Grizzlies used a 13-6 at the end of the third to set up a dramatic fourth quarter that saw them outscore their Denver counterparts 34-18 in the final stanza.

Reserves Tony Allen and Darrell Arthur helped keep the Grizzlies in the contest, as Arthur’s career-high 24 points coupled with Allen’s timely baskets at the end of the third and start of the fourth helped set the stage for Zach Randolph to take control of the game.

After going 0-of-6 to start the contest Randolph showed that the signs of an injured ankle that kept him out of Friday’s game. Randolph hit his first six attempts from the field in the crucial fourth quarter, two of which came on critical offensive rebound putbacks that allowed the Grizzlies to keep the Nuggets at bay.

Randolph then helped the Grizzlies seal the game with a 12’ jumper that gave the home team a 114-106 advantage with 1:11 remaining.

The win moved the Grizzlies to 30-26 on the season, and have won 11 of their last 14 games. The Nuggets are now 31-24.

Riding a wave of momentum coming into the contest the Grizzlies welcomed a Denver Nuggets team that doesn’t know from one day to the next whether their core will be in tact due to the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors.

On a busy weekend that saw them defeat the Bucks on Friday and attend the Second Annual Grizz Gala last night, the Grizzlies came out firing on all cylinders in the first quarter. With Zach Randolph back in the lineup after a one-game absence due to a sprained right ankle Darrell Arthur was able to bounce back early from an off night on Friday in his familiar spot as a reserve. Arthur provided a kick-start to the Grizzlies lineup, hitting five of six attempts in the quarter for 12 points.

The lift from Arthur helped the Grizzlies push their lead to as many as seven in the opening frame before settling to a 31-26 advantage after one.

The Nuggets opened up the second frame with a 16-3 run that swung the momentum of the contest in favor of the visitors. The Nuggets seemingly couldn’t miss early in the second, as they connected on every attempt from the field up until the 7:46 mark.

With most of the Nuggets attempts coming at the rim, the Grizzlies looked to find an answer to counteract the hot-shooting Denver attack. They found their answer in Marc Gasol, who got to the line in the quarter to help the Grizzlies remain within striking distance, as his sixth and seventh attempts closed the Denver lead to 54-49 at the 3:17 mark.

The Nuggets answered with a 13-6 run to end the quarter that punctuated a hot-shooting first half that saw them hit .636 (28-of-44) of their attempts from the field, nullifying a solid offensive effort in the first half from the Grizzlies.

In the third the Nuggets pushed their lead to as many as 86-69, thanks in large part to a big quarter from Carmelo Anthony. Anthony scored 11 points in the third quarter alone to help the Nuggets seemingly take control of the game.

As has been the theme all week, however, the Grizzlies resiliency and toughness shined through again in the third, led by none other than Tony Allen. In the midst of a 15-5 run by the Grizzlies Allen brought the crowd of 15,398 at FedExForum to their feet with back-to-back layups that closed the Nuggets edge to 88-86 with 34 seconds remaining in the third.

Randolph finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds, while Rudy Gay chipped in with 23 points. Carmelo Anthony led all scorers with 28 points, but only scored two points in the crucial fourth quarter.