Randolph's double-double leads Grizzlies over Nuggets, 99-69
MEMPHIS, TN (AP) - Zach Randolph had 15 points and 17 rebounds, Jeff Green added 13 points and the Memphis Grizzlies built an early lead en route to a 99-69 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
Memphis won its fifth straight, holding the Nuggets to 11 points in the first quarter and never getting threatened the rest of the way as Randolph recorded his 10th consecutive double-double.
Courtney Lee, Nick Calathes and Beno Udrih, starting in place of the injured Mike Conley, scored 11 apiece, while Marc Gasol had 10 points.
Wilson Chandler and Kenneth Faried each scored 10 points for Denver, which lost for the eighth time in the last nine.
With Memphis comfortably ahead at the end of the third quarter, both teams relied on their reserves to finish out the fourth.
Memphis outrebounded Denver 57-47 and held a 46-42 advantage in the paint. The Nuggets managed to shoot only 33 percent for the night and were 2 of 26 from outside the arc - less than 8 percent. Memphis was only slightly better at 3 for 16.
After leading by as many as 19, Memphis held a 50-35 advantage at the break as Randolph had 11 points. Of Denver's 35 points, 24 were in the paint.
The Memphis lead could have been larger, but the Grizzlies were 10 of 16 from the free throw line. Denver went to the line only three times, making two.
The Grizzlies finished the night 18 of 27 from the line, while Denver was 9 of 10.
A short burst from the Nuggets at the start of the third made little difference and Memphis continued to pour it on behind Randolph, who controlled the boards.
Memphis continued to stretch the lead in the period, eventually reaching 27 before the Grizzlies took a 74-49 lead into the final period.
The fourth-quarter lead swelled to 33 points.
NUGGETS: JaVale McGee, who missed 23 games due to a lower left leg strain, played for only the second game since Nov. 23. He finished with two points and five rebounds. .The Nuggets' 11 first-quarter points matched a season low in a quarter for a Memphis opponent. . Denver, which had a season-low eight turnovers in Tuesday's victory over New Orleans, had 17 against Memphis.
Grizzlies: Gasol celebrated his 30th birthday Thursday. . Conley did not dress, missing his second game with a sprained left wrist. Fellow G Tony Allen, who missed the two previous games with left ankle sprain, returned. . Green missed a free throw in the first quarter, ending a streak of 45 straight makes dating to his days in Boston before the Jan. 12 trade. . Reserve G/F Vince Carter left the game in the second quarter with a left foot injury and did not return. The injury will be re-evaluated Friday.
Nuggets: Host Charlotte on Saturday.
Grizzlies: Host Oklahoma City on Saturday.
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