Grizzlies-Nuggets Preview

The Associated Press

The Memphis Grizzlies may not be very jolly, but they're seemingly in a giving mood this holiday season.

The Grizzlies will likely need to take better care of the ball if they're going to avoid a three-game slide and win consecutive road meetings against the Denver Nuggets for the first time Friday night.

Although they still have one of the best records in the league, the Grizzlies (14-5) have cooled off somewhat, losing three of five this month thanks in part to sloppy play. They're averaging 17.8 turnovers in that stretch after committing 14.1 during a 12-2 start.

The turnovers have been particularly concerning while losing the last two games as Memphis has been held to its lowest scoring outputs of the season.

The Grizzlies coughed the ball up 16 times in Saturday's 93-83 loss to Atlanta before adding one more in an 82-80 defeat at Phoenix, surrendering the decisive basket with 0.5 seconds left.

"That's our game - taking care of the ball, executing and getting up and down on the court and that's what we're not doing right now," said forward Zach Randolph, who's totaled 36 points and 23 rebounds the past two games. "These last two games we haven't been doing that."

Turnovers also plagued the Nuggets (11-12) on Wednesday, when they had 19 in a 108-105 loss to Minnesota to end a 2-3 road trip. Still, Ty Lawson had a chance at a game-tying 3 at the buzzer, but missed.

"We just didn't play an intelligent game," coach George Karl said. "To overcome those three areas of fundamentals and to have a shot to tie is pretty impressive."

That was the sixth loss in nine games for Denver, but only one of those contests came at home. Karl's team has won five of its league-low six games at Pepsi Center, averaging 106.0 points.

Kenneth Faried is averaging 15.0 points and 11.8 rebounds at home, compared to his 11.5 and 9.4 totals on the road. The second-year power forward hit 10 of 16 field goals and finished with 26 points and 14 boards against the Timberwolves.

''We lost. Any time we lose, it's a terrible game,'' Faried said. ''You can't put stats on that or what you did well because it's a team effort."

He had 13 points and rebounds while matched up against Randolph in a 97-92 win at Memphis on Nov. 19.

Danilo Gallinari, who had a season-high 26 points in that meeting, scored 24 on 9 of 13 from the floor - 4 of 5 from beyond the arc - Wednesday. He shot 3 for 14 from long range over the previous four games, averaging 13.8 points.

The Grizzlies overcame 21 turnovers and Rudy Gay's 3-for-13 shooting performance in a 94-91 win in their most recent visit to Denver on March 11. That was just Memphis' fourth victory in 32 all-time road games against the Nuggets.