With Courtney Lee and Mike Conley out, Joerger went with a Chalmers / Gasol / Green / Allen / Barnes starting unit.
Danilo Gallinari led Denver out of the gates with 14 first quarter points, as the Nuggets bullied the Grizzlies on the boards (+13 early, +16 on the night) and in the paint, but four threes (on five attempts) from Matt Barnes and Jeff Green kept the Grizz within spitting distance. In a return to the classic GnG formula, Memphis made up for its tepid offense in the second quarter (suffering from a lack of Mike Conley) with stifling defense, holding Denver to just one field goal in a 9½ minute stretch and 7 points in the quarter. The way was led by Tony Allen (+22 in the half!) who had a pair of steals and monster dunks to energize the run. At half, it was 49-37 to the good guys.
Denver undid all that work with a 13-1 run to out of halftime, with Gallinari waking up from a sleepy second quarter. Darrell Arthur also pored in 8 quick points, but Memphis recovered in time to take a narrow lead into the fourth quarter at 67-66.
It stayed close throughout the final period as both teams struggled to score, but things came to a head when Jusuf Nurkic and Mario Chalmers came to blows near the Grizzlies' bench. Nurkic responded by throwing an elbow at Zach Randolph. Chalmers responded by drilling a pair of dagger threes to cap a 13-4 run that sealed the game.
Zach Randolph had himself a 24-point, 3-rebound game off the bench. Danilo led all scorers with 29 points.
- In case you didn't hear the news today, Jordan Adams is having knee surgery. In related news, we're forming an emotional support group for Chris.
- There was a lot of family business going on tonight. Former Grizzlies Mike Miller and Darrell Arthur were in town with the Nugs, which is all the excuse I need to link to my favorite DA highlight. Former Tiger Will Barton came off the bench for Denver, and fellow UofM alum Elliot Williams was on the Grizzlies' bench after taking Ryan Hollins' roster spot yesterday.
- Williams impressed in his first 10 NBA minutes, forcing a shot clock violation in the second quarter and looking comfortable, albeit far from the center of attention, in offensive sets.