Nuggets 111, Grizzlies 107
Anthony, the league’s leading scorer, had 33 points and Iverson added 25 to help the Denver Nuggets to a 111-107 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night, snapping a four-game losing streak.
The Nuggets improved to 3-7 with Iverson and Anthony in the lineup, but it was the play of Nene, the Nuggets’ 6-foot-11, 260-pound forward, that Grizzlies’ coach Tony Barone said was the difference.
“I thought the key to the game was their ability to get the ball inside,” Barone said. “They got the ball inside on us at will. Nene destroyed us inside.”
Nene, averaging 16.4 points and 6.6 rebounds since his return Feb. 1 from a right knee contusion, tied his career high with 27 points. He was 10-of-16 from the field and added nine rebounds.
“It didn’t matter who we put on him, he had his way with them,” Barone said. “Their inside game, along with us missing a few key free throws down the stretch, were the main reasons we lost.”
The Grizzlies were attempting to win back-to-back games for the first time this season, but were denied, mostly by Nene.
“We will be going to Nene more,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “He really delivered a great game.”
Anthony, averaging 30.5 points per game, delivered as he has throughout the season. He connected on a deep 3-pointer to end the third quarter and trimmed the lead to 83-82. In the fourth quarter, he added several key baskets, including two free throws with 3:18 to go to gave the Nuggets a 105-103 lead.
Denver never trailed again.
Iverson also had nine assists, five rebounds and two steals.
Mike Miller and Gasol scored 21 points apiece to lead the Grizzlies.
Miller had given the Grizzlies their largest lead of the game midway through the third quarter during a five-minute stretch in which he scored 13 points. Miller’s 3-pointer off an in-bounds play with 2:45 to go gave Memphis a 77-71 lead.
After Miller’s 3-pointer, Iverson answered with 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to keep the Grizzlies from adding to their six-point lead.
In the fourth quarter the Grizzlies led by as many as five (93-88) after the second of two straight 3-pointers by Chucky Atkins. But Nene and Iverson combined for the next 12 points for a 100-97 lead.
“Nene hasn’t been healthy for a while, so people don’t understand how good he was before he hurt his knee,” Miller said. “And Melo (Anthony) and A.I. (Iverson) are two of the leading scorers in the NBA. They’re not easy to defend.”
Memphis lost despite shooting 52.4 percent. Denver, which outrebounded Memphis, 45-39, shot 49.4 percent.
NOTES: Denver upped its record to 4-13 in games decided by five points or less. The Nuggets rank last in the league in the category… The Grizzlies fell to 0-14 when shooting less than 70 percent from the free throw line. Memphis shot 64.7 percent against Denver… . Marcus Camby led Denver with 13 rebounds.