Nuggets look to end five-game losing streak at Memphis

First-quarter struggles continue to be a problem for Denver
by Aaron Lopez

Even with varying starting lineups, first-quarter problems continue to dog the Denver Nuggets.

The Nuggets have trailed after the first 12 minutes in 12 of their past 13 games and are next to last in the NBA in points allowed (27.7) in the opening quarter.

The latest slow start occurred Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans. Denver trailed 34-25 after the first quarter and were down by as many as 18 points in the first half. They never got closer than six points after halftime.

“As usual, we got off to a slow start in the first quarter and we had to fight from behind the whole game,” Denver forward Anthony Randolph said. “I think we showed a little bit more effort, though, to get back into the game. At that point, it’s a little bit too late.”

The Nuggets (14-14) lost their fifth straight game and will try to avoid their first six-game slide since December 2004 when they face the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

Denver was without injured forwards Kenneth Faried (sprained ankle) and Darrell Arthur (bruised quad) against New Orleans. Both players will be game-time decisions at Memphis.

Regardless of who's available, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw wants his team to show some resiliency.

"We have faced adversity all year," he said. "We have had a tough stretch lately, losing our last five games. We must play through the adversity and turn this season around.”


WHEN: 6 p.m. MT
WHERE: FedExForum, Memphis
TV; RADIO: Altitude; AM-950

DENVER (14-14)

F Wilson Chandler
F J.J. Hickson
C Timofey Mozgov
G Jordan Hamilton
G Ty Lawson

MEMPHIS (12-16)
F Tayshaun Prince
F Zach Randolph
C Kosta Koufos
G Tony Allen
G Mike Conley

Faried (sprained left ankle) and Darrell Arthur (bruised quad) are game-time decisions; Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (fractured left tibia) are out.
MEMPHIS: Marc Gasol (left MCL sprain) and Quincy Poindexter (stress fracture, right foot) are out.

Memphis center Kosta Koufos was Denver's full-time starter last season before being traded for Darrell Arthur on draft night . . . Denver has won 15 of the last 21 games overall against Memphis . . . The Nuggets have played well in Memphis in recent years, having won nine of the last 17 meetings with the Grizzlies in Memphis since 2004-05, including six of the last 12 . . . The Nuggets have owned the Grizzlies in Denver, having won 26 of the last 28 home games against Memphis since the 1998-99 season (including 10 of the last 11) . . . 2011-12 marked the first time in five years that Denver didn’t win the season series . . . Denver has won the series six times in the last eight years . . . Memphis’ Zach Randolph is the last Nuggets individual opponent to register a 20/20 game during the regular season (had 32 points and 24 rebounds at Memphis on 12/20/09).