Memphis 96, Denver 86

Preview | Box Score | Recap

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (TICKER) —The woeful Denver Nuggets saw their losing streak grow to 14 games in a 96-86 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, who got a season-high 24 points and 10 rebounds from Stromile Swift and 20 points from Wesley Person.

The Nuggets’ season-high slide matches the third longest in franchise history.

In the pivotal third quarter, the Grizzlies shot 55 percent (12-for-22) from the field and outscored the Nuggets, 34-20.

“The third quarter, we came out with urgency,” Grizzlies coach Hubie Brown said. “We held them, got on the break and converted.”

Playing in his first home game since being acquired from Orlando on February 19, Memphis’ Mike Miller chipped in five of his 12 points during the period. The 6-8 swingman, who had been sidelined with back spasms, nailed a 3-pointer in the final seconds to open a 78-63 cushion.

“I’ll try to fight through it all season,” Miller said. “They traded two of their starters away and I owe it to them to play through the rest of the season. I have four months to rest in the offseason.”

Swift’s alley-oop layup with 10:03 left gave Memphis its biggest lead at 85-65 and helped the Grizzlies earn a split of their four-game season series with the Nuggets.

“Without a doubt, this is Stromile’s best all-around game (of the season),” Brown said. “Anytime you put together a game of 24, 10 and six blocks, you are working and everything is falling for you. He had a great night.”

“I’ve been getting a lot more minutes,” Swift said. “I think the confidence has been there. … I’m just trying to go out and bring a lot of energy to the team.”

Jason Williams registered 14 assists for the Grizzlies.

Juwan Howard, rookie Nene Hilario and Rodney White scored 14 points apiece for the Nuggets, who also dropped their 16th straight road game.

Coach Jeff Bzdelik’s team matched the 14-game slide by the Nuggets from December 5, 1992-January 5, 1993.

“Our basketball team during this stretch has played very competitively,” Bzdelik said. “We’ve played very hard and very passionate. Physically, I thought maybe we ran out of gas a little bit.”

Denver visits Florida over the weekend for back-to-back games with Miami and Orlando. Two more defeats would tie the franchise’s second-longest losing skid, which was established from February 12-March 10, 1998.

“We are a young team, we are less experienced,” rookie guard Junior Harrington said. “The Grizzlies did things to win the game, whereas we did things that probably gave the game away. Hopefully, when we come back next year, we won’t make these same mistakes.”

However, this edition of the Nuggets still is well short of the team’s longest slide of 23 games from December 9, 1997-January 23, 1998.

In an apparent display of exasperation, Marcus Camby was ejected for arguing after a foul was not called on Memphis rookie Mike Batiste.

“It was what it was,” Camby said. “There was a lot of frustration just trying to get a call. I thought we weren’t getting enough calls, so I might have overreacted.”

The Nuggets committed 24 turnovers, marking the 32nd time they have registered at least 20 in a game.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Denver
J. Howard J. Howard
5-18,  14 Pts
7 Rebs, 2 Assists
 Memphis
J. Williams J. Williams
3-7,  8 Pts
3 Rebs, 14 Assists

Team Stat Leaders

Points
Rebounds
Assists