Game Preview: Nuggets-Grizzlies

Denver looks to make a dent in Memphis' playoff chances
by Aaron Lopez

With the playoffs out of reach, the Denver Nuggets must draw motivation from other sources over the season’s final two weeks.

“We have to bring it,” Denver coach Brian Shaw. “We want to finish this season strong. It’s a given that we’re not making the playoffs. It’s easy to let go of the rope. That’s the easy way out, but we don’t want to do that.

“We’re not letting anybody check out before the season is over. They all said that they’re in and they’re going to give it everything they have for the last nine games. That’s all we can ask of them.”

The Nuggets (32-41) can make an impact on the Western Conference playoff chase when they face the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night at Pepsi Center.

After losing to the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night, the Grizzlies are a half-game behind Dallas and Phoenix in the race for the final two playoff spots on the West.

The Grizzlies and Nuggets have split two meetings this season, with the home team winning each time.

Point guard Ty Lawson had 18 points and 12 assists in Denver’s win on Jan. 3. Even though he will miss the playoffs for the first time in five NBA seasons, Lawson is trying to stay focused for the final nine games.

“Got to keep going,” he said. “You get paid for a job; you’ve got to do it.”


WHEN: 7 p.m. MT
WHERE: Pepsi Center, Denver
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950

DENVER (32-41)

F Quincy Miller
F Kenneth Faried
C Timofey Mozgov
G Randy Foye
G Ty Lawson

MEMPHIS (43-30)
F Tayshaun Prince
F Zach Randolph
C Marc Gasol
G Courtney Lee
G Mike Conley

Wilson Chandler (groin), Danilo Gallinari (knee), J.J. Hickson (knee), JaVale McGee (stress fracture, left tibia) and Nate Robinson (knee) are out.
MEMPHIS: Quincy Pondexter (foot) is out.

The Nuggets have won 27 of the past 29 home games against Memphis since the 1998-99 season (including 11 of the last 12) . . . Denver has won 16 of the last 23 games overall against Memphis . . . The Nuggets have has won the series six times in the last eight years . . . Memphis forward Zach Randolph is the last Nuggets individual opponent to register a 20/20 game during the regular season; he had 32 points and 24 rebounds at Memphis on 12/20/09.