The Denver Nuggets were without star big man Nikola Jokic and University of Memphis product Will Barton to start the contest. Then, four minutes in to the game, they were without starting point guard Jameer Nelson, who was ejected after two quick technical fouls. Memphis took advantage, as they had a five-point lead halfway through the period. Marc Gasol, JaMychal Green, Mike Conley, and Zach Randolph led the way with an efficient 21 points on 15 shots, the Grizzlies defense held Denver to 33% shooting for the quarter, and Memphis led the Nuggets 27-18 at the end of the first quarter.
Memphis kept their lead above two possessions as the second quarter began. JaMychal Green was playing a terrific half of basketball in particular - he attacked the glass, defended well, and played with the energy necessary against a player like Kenneth Faried. Randolph and Conley continued their good offensive play through the second quarter, and Denver continued to shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers and poor defensive rotations. The Nuggets also must have missed the memo on Marc Gasol’s new three-point range, as Marc was 2-2 from range while Memphis was 7-13 from beyond the arc as a team. Gasol and Conley combined for 30 points in the half and Memphis led 62-49 heading in to the third quarter.
The second half started with more of the same from the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol took over the third period, scoring 10 points and looking every bit the dominant All-Star that the NBA has come to know him to be. JaMychal Green continued to clean the glass and Memphis continued to make three-point shots, showing a renewed ability to score the ball, a welcome sight for a team who currently boasts the league’s worst shooting percentage. Denver’s defense was struggling throughout the first three quarters, and the Grizzlies led the Nuggets 87-69 heading in to the fourth quarter.
With Danilo Gallinari out for the rest of the game with a groin strain, the already short-handed Nuggets continued to play from behind for the rest of the game. The Grizzlies offense was just too much for Denver on this night, as Memphis made it rain from three (14-29 on the night) and cruised to a win that they were supposed to get. Grizzlies fans know this is not always the case.
Some stats that jump out after a second good win in a row.
- Marc Gasol and Mike Conley are just playing mind-blowing basketball the past four games of this season-long road trip-
Mike Conley / Marc Gasol combined on Grizzlies 4 gm road trip (inc tonight):— Peter Edmiston (@peteredmiston) February 2, 2017
186 pts (47.5 pts/gm)
66-118 FG (56%)
26-48 3PT (54%)
The Grizzlies need their best players to play their best if they hope to rise up the rankings in the Western Conference. Chandler Parsons is still a work in progress, but Marc and Mike are living up to their end of the bargain as of late. The best part, at least tonight, is that no one played more than 30 minutes against Denver. Gasol played 24 minutes and Conley played 27. The guys got some rest in addition to putting up great numbers in a win.
- The Grizzlies had three bench players score a combined 41 points - Zach Randolph and Vince Carter had 14 points a piece, while James Ennis scored 13 points. They did it on 24 shots, with Carter and Ennis combining to shoot 5-7 from three along with 16 combined rebounds and 9 assists. When the bench performs that well, these Grizzlies will be hard for anyone to beat.
Memphis is now 30-21. Their road trip next heads to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder on Friday night.