Nuggets try to regroup as Memphis Grizzlies come to Denver

Coach Brian Shaw searching for better effort in midst of eight-game losing streak
by Aaron Lopez

Denver Nuggets coach Brian Shaw typically holds a box score in his hand for quick reference during his postgame media sessions.

No piece of paper was necessary after Denver’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

“Terrible performance by our team from basically the second quarter on,” Shaw said. “They scored 68 points in the first half and 44 points in that second quarter. When you’re in the midst of a seven game losing streak and you allow a team to come in on your home floor and play harder than you do, it is unacceptable.”

The loss was Denver’s fifth in a row at home and eighth straight overall. The Nuggets (14-17) will try to end the slide Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies.

“We’ve hit rock bottom and we have nowhere to go but up from here,” forward/center J.J. Hickson said. “Once we realize that, we’ll be better off. We just have to play harder.”

Shaw is searching for players who want to defend and put forth maximum effort every minute they’re on the floor.

He had hoped to shorten his playing rotation against the Sixers but ended up going 12 deep while trying to find an effective lineup combination after Denver fell behind by double figures in the first half.

“Mainly what I was looking for was guys who could guard the man in front of them,” Shaw said. “We didn’t get the loose 50-50 balls and then we got tight on the offensive end, and we couldn’t hit shots. That’s on me. I just have to keep on seeking and searching, try to find ways to motivate our players to play harder.”

The Nuggets are in the midst of their longest losing streak since dropping the final eight games in 2002-03, but they are hoping to bounce back against Memphis.

“I feel like winning turns everything around,” point guard Ty Lawson said. “We have two or three more (home games) that we need to win, that are right there for us to win. We need to take advantage of these opportunities.”


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

DENVER (14-17)

F Wilson Chandler
F Kenneth Faried
C J.J. Hickson
G Randy Foye
G Ty Lawson

MEMPHIS (14-17)
F Tayshaun Prince
F Zach Randolph
C Kosta Koufos
G Tony Allen
G Mike Conley

Danilo Gallinari (knee) and JaVale McGee (fractured left tibia) are out.
MEMPHIS: Marc Gasol (left MCL sprain) and Quincy Pondexter (stress fracture, right foot) are out.

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) . . . Denver has won 15 of the last 22 games overall against Memphis . . . 2011-12 marked the first time in five years that the Nuggets didn’t win the season series . . . Denver 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 (had 32 points and 24 rebounds at Memphis on 12/20/09).