Memphis (33-26) at Denver (32-28)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 59° F
  • Game info: 9:00 pm EST Mon Mar 6, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Denver Nuggets seem to have it easy when they face the Memphis Grizzlies.

Denver seeks its 17th straight home win over Memphis when the teams meet at Pepsi Center.

Denver is 19-2 all time against the Grizzlies franchise at home and hasn’t lost there since a 100-87 defeat on Nov. 18, 1997, when the team was based in Vancouver.

The Nuggets, winners of the last five meetings and a 28-13 overall mark in the series, have outscored the Grizzlies by an average of nearly 12 points per contest in the last 16 games at home.

Denver enters this game having won consecutive games at Pepsi Center for the first time since it notched four straight victories from Jan. 10-23.

Recently acquired Ruben Patterson and Reggie Evans combined for 33 points and 15 rebounds in the Nuggets’ 110-94 win over Orlando on Saturday.

Leading scorer Carmelo Anthony paced the offense with 24 points and Earl Boykins came off the bench to total 21 in just 23 minutes.

Nuggets coach George Karl was impressed with the play of Patterson and Evans, who were acquired as part of a four-team, nine-player trade on Feb. 23.

“It’s not necessarily how well you play the game, it’s how you play the game,” Karl said. “We’ve had too many up-and-down energy games, and I think when (general manager) Kiki (Vandeweghe) and I evaluated Ruben and Reggie, these guys don’t have many down games.”

Oft-injured forward Kenyon Martin sat out against the Magic with a sore left knee that has bothered him most of the season. Martin, averaging 14.0 points and 6.8 rebounds, has missed 15 of his team’s 60 games.

The Nuggets could use the veteran down the stretch, especially when they open a season-high seven-game road trip after this game and play 13 of their final 21 contests away from home.

Denver, which has a 3 1/2 -game lead over Utah in the Northwest Division, is just 12-16 on the road this season. Only New Jersey with a 13-18 mark has a worse road record among the six division leaders.

The Grizzlies afre looking for their fourth straight win and eighth in 11 games. They began a four-game road trip with a 102-86 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.

Memphis shot 56.8 percent from the field and went 7-for-13 from 3-point range to improve to 10-2 this season when it shoots at least 50 percent.

Mike Miller, who had struggled since returning from an ankle sprain, scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter and had seven rebounds, while leading scorer Pau Gasol added 17 points, six boards and seven assists.

“Their defense is much improved, and we understood that,” Miller said. “But we got a lot of defensive stops, we got out in transition and didn’t have to deal with their half-court defense.”

Miller entered averaging just 11.5 points and 4.8 rebounds in his previous six games and hadn’t reached the 20-point mark since he scored 20 against Detroit in a 95-89 loss on Jan. 27.

Gasol, averaging 24.6 points and 8.2 rebounds over his last five games, has averaged 17.3 points and 8.1 boards in 16 contests versus the Nuggets in his career.

STANDINGS (through March 4): Grizzlies - 3rd place, 14 GB, Southwest Division. Nuggets - 1st place, Northwest Division.

PROBABLE STARTERS: Grizzlies - F Shane Battier, F Gasol, C Jake Tsakalidis, G Eddie Jones, G Chucky Atkins. Nuggets - F Anthony, F Francisco Elson, C Marcus Camby, G Patterson, G Andre Miller.

TEAM LEADERS: Grizzlies - Gasol, 20.2 ppg and 9.1 rpg; Damon Stoudamire, 4.7 apg. Nuggets - Anthony, 26.0 ppg; Camby, 12.0 rpg; Miller, 8.4 apg.

SEASON SERIES: Nuggets, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 20; Nuggets, 99-83. At Denver, Camby had 21 points and 21 rebounds for the fourth 20-20 game of his career and Anthony also scored 21 in the Nuggets’ 16th consecutive home win in the series.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Grizzlies - 14-17 on the road; Nuggets - 20-12 at home.

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