Memphis vs Denver: The Grizzlies Struck Gold

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Last night the Grizzlies struck gold in Denver with a 105-98 win over the Nuggets. This final win brought the season series to 3-0 in a city that Memphis has historically had poor success in. Last night’s win was the seventh win in Denver since the Grizzlies came to Memphis. Just for reference, they have lost 22 times. Mike Conley, Marc Gasol,and Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies scoring 31, 23, and 20 respectively. All five of Denver’s starters scored in double digits, with Danilo Gallinari leading the pack with 24 points. Gary Harris also showed out with 19 points, shooting 50% for the night. However, Memphis simply proved too much to handle for the young Denver team.

The Good: The Grizzlies made their free-throws. This was good because Michael Malone turned the game into a college-style free-throw shoot-out. In the last two minutes of the game Memphis shot 14 of their 25 free-throws. Malone was not going to let Denver go down without one last ditch effort for the win. So, it was a good, good thing that Memphis didn’t choke at the line and made those free points.

The Great: That Grizzlies defense tho…… Memphis played their style of basketball, especially during the second half of the game. While Denver was able to do work in the paint, outscoring Memphis 48-38, they still could not overcome Memphis’ tough play. Memphis finished the game with 10 more rebounds than Denver. They also found success in second-chance points, scoring 21 to the Nuggets’ 13. It was that Memphis defense, that grit if you will, that allowed them to hang into the game and eventually close out with a win.

The Not-So-Great: It took until the fourth quarter for Memphis to really begin to claw their way back into the game. Coming off of a tough loss against the Pacers it was mildly aggravating to see the team come out and allow Denver to lead for so much of the game. While they did not allow the game to get away from them, like the did in Indy, it is without question still frustrating to watch the team take their opponent what seems to be lightly. Memphis turned the ball over 12 times in first three quarters, resulting in 11 Denver points. There were sloppy passes and miscommunication. It’s just not so great to watch the Grizzlies struggle in the start of the game.

The Grizzliest: Mike Conley, of course. Conley scored 31 points to help hoist Memphis over Denver. He was exactly everything that has led to nicknames such as, Captain Clutch and the Conductor. He shot 56% on the night and his only real disappoint came from a missed pair of free-throws during the last two minutes. Despite those rare misses it would still be his made free-throws that sent Memphis up by 11 with only 58.4 seconds of play. Conley showed up big and led his team to a win.

Up next the Grizzlies host Phoenix in the FedEx Forum. Memphis currently leads that series 2-0 and will be looking to keep clawing their way to that number 4 seed in the West.

**Shout out to NBA.com, basketball-reference.com, and landofbasketball.com for stats**

Tabitha Smith

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