Nuggets Defeat Grizzlies After Big Comeback
The Denver Nuggets pulled out one of the greatest comebacks in franchise history, erasing a 25-point deficit to down the Memphis Grizzlies 95-92 on the road in a game that looked well beyond their grasps until late in the fourth quarter.
The Grizzlies scored the game’s first eight points and led 13-2 at the 8:51 mark of the first quarter when Denver called it’s first timeout. Memphis was up 14 after one and 19 at the half while the Nuggets shot an abysmal 38 percent of the field.
Matched up against the Grizzlies, last in the NBA in pace and first in holding the ball on offense, Denver struggled to find it its rhythm on either side of the ball. On offense, they never could find their touch from 3-point range, a stat in ranked among the league’s top in percentage coming into the contest, making just four 3-pointers despite attempting more than 20-plus through three quarters. On defense, they gave up 60 points to the NBA’s lowest scoring team.
Denver trailed 70-45 with 6:55 go in the third on a 3-pointer from Michael Conley Jr.
But the Nuggets just would not quit.
The Nugget (34-15) trailed by 17 after three quarters but put the clamps on the Grizzlies in the fourth, forcing them into eight-straight misses after the 9:06 mark. Malik Beasley scored 13 of his 18 in the fourth, including back-to-back layups with 3:23 remaining that made it a seven-point game with 2:49 remaining.
“It’s what we do,” Beasley said. “We just stayed together, kept our heads up and kept playing hard. We the best team in this league to me.”
A 3-pointer by Beasley with 1:16 to go pulled the Nuggets to within one at 89-88. Then, he assisted on a Will Barton jumper that gave the Nuggets their first lead of the game with 43.9 seconds to go. However, the Nuggets still needed a layup by center Nikola Jokić with 28.0 second remaining to go ahead for good and a pair of free throws from Gary Harris to seal the second-largest fourth-quarter comeback in franchise history.
“We had to bring it on defense,” Beasley said. “We weren’t knocking down shots. So, I think that messed up our mental on defense. We just picked it up and didn’t worry about our offense and just played defense, got some stops and runs and just did our jobs.”
Jokić was the Nuggets’ top scorers with 24 points while adding five rebounds and three helpers. Barton, starting at point guard for the second game in row while Jamal Murray sat with a sprained left ankle, put up 20 points to go along with five and Harris added 11.
The Nuggets outscored the Grizzlies 35-15 in the fourth quarter on their way to their third-straight win.
Gasol (28) and Conley Jr. (23) were the only Grizzlies (20-31) in double-figures in scoring.
Denver was outrebounded 42-37 but won the turnover battle 19-15.
The Nuggets face the New Orleans Pelicans on the road Wednesday at 6 p.m. MT. The game will be aired live on Altitude TV and streamed on AltitudeNOW.