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Nuggets 87, Grizzlies 80

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- Kosta Koufos scored 18 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and the Denver Nuggets survived their worst offensive performance since December to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 87-80 on Friday night.

Danilo Gallinari added 15 points, including a key late jumper, to help the Nuggets with their 11th straight and 15th in a row at home. The 87 points were the fewest Denver scored since losing 81-72 to Memphis on Dec. 29.

Zach Randolph had 18 points and 18 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who had their six-game win streak stopped.

The Grizzlies and Nuggets came into the game two of the hottest teams outside of Miami. Memphis climbed into the third spot in the Western Conference standings by winning 11 of 12 -- same as the Nuggets -- so someone had to cool off.

It was the Grizzlies.

Despite being held to the fewest points in 34 games, the Nuggets won the season series and moved to a half-game within Memphis.

It didn't look like they would in the third keep their streak going. The Nuggets scored just 10 points on 4 of 20 shooting in the quarter as Memphis took an eight-point lead.

As bad as Denver was in the third, the fourth quarter was the opposite.

The Nuggets ignited the crowd with a 9-0 run to start the last period, capped by Andre Iguodala's slam dunk that gave Denver a 67-66 lead.

The Grizzlies' Jerryd Bayless ended the run with a 3-pointer, but a 3-pointer by Gallinari, a layup by Koufos and a jumper by Corey Brewer gave Denver a 75-70 lead.

The game was tied at 78 when Gallinari hit two free throws and Koufos made a jump hook to give Denver a four-point lead with 1:43 left.

Bayless hit two free throws but Gallinari answered with a jumper. Iguodala sealed the win with a steal and a dunk with 50 seconds left.

Notes: The Nuggets entered Friday having scored 100 or more points in 29 of their previous 32 games. ... The Nuggets are third in the league in scoring at 106 points a game. Memphis is tops in the NBA in scoring defense, allowing 89.4 points. ... The Grizzlies have played well after trading away Rudy Gay, then the team's leading scorer, on Jan. 30. They have seamlessly integrated Tayshaun Prince into the starting lineup. "You go back to when (Gay) was injured a couple of years ago and we traded for Shane Battier. Tayshaun Prince is our Shane Battier," head coach Lionel Hollins said. "It's not like we added a young guy we have to bring along and teach; he's won on every level. That's helped us be stable." ... The Nuggets last won 11 straight in March 1983. ... The Grizzlies are in the middle of playing five back-to-backs in March. They travel to Utah on Saturday.
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