Conley, Gasol Lead Grizzlies Past Nuggets 100-92
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Marc Gasol had 24 points, Mike Conley scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, and the Memphis Grizzlies kept their playoff hopes alive with a 100-92 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
Zach Randolph added 20 points, including the last four points for Memphis, and grabbed 15 rebounds. Tayshaun Prince scored 12 before leaving with an ankle injury in the first half and Courtney Lee scored 10 for Memphis, which won its 11th straight home game.
Randy Foye led the Nuggets with 21 points, one of five Denver players in double figures. Kenneth Faried finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Denver, which lost its fifth in the past six.
Ty Lawson, who didn’t start for disciplinary reasons, scored 16 points, while Timofey Mozgov had 13 points. Aaron Brooks scored 11.
Memphis entered the game a half-game behind Dallas for the seventh playoff spot and tied with the Phoenix Suns for eighth. Dallas and Phoenix played later Friday night.
Memphis, which was coming off a five-game road trip, struggled at times, and the Nuggets took advantage by erasing a double-digit first-half lead.
Neither team shot well for the game, Memphis connected on 39 percent of its shots, compared to 36 percent for the Nuggets. There were some ugly individual stats as Darrell Arthur was 1 of 9 for the Nuggets, including 1 of 5 from outside the arc.
Conley scored 21 points, but was 5 of 14 and missed six of seven from 3-point range.
Memphis took the lead midway through the third quarter and built the advantage to 14 on a 3-pointer from Conley topped off by a free throw when Nuggets coach Brian Shaw was given a technical with 4:43 left.
Denver dominated the first half after Memphis took an early 12-point lead. The Nuggets guards had little problem getting to the rim as Lawson, who didn’t start after missing the team breakfast Friday, scored 15 points in leading Denver to a 47-43 halftime lead.
Denver looked like the team fighting for its playoff life, playing with more energy than Memphis, which entered the night with a slim hold on a playoff spot.
Memphis was 5 of 6 to start the game, but was 11 of 42 the rest of the half for a 33 percent shooting performance. Denver was only slightly better, hitting 36 percent.
Gasol had 17 points, while Prince helped carry Memphis early and had 12 points in the half.
But Prince was injured late in the first half, turning his left ankle after scoring with 1:30 left in the second quarter.
The Grizzlies opened the second half with much more energy and, led by 10 points from Conley, were able to retake the lead, carrying a 69-65 lead into the fourth.
The poor shooting continued in the third as Memphis was 7 of 17 and the Nuggets connected on eight of 21 shots.
NOTES: The game was the first at home for Memphis since March 24. The Grizzlies went 2-3 on a road trip since then. … The Nuggets are 3-27 this season when they don’t reach 100.
By Clay Bailey, AP Writer
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