The Memphis Grizzlies' relatively successful stretch includes a lopsided win against a Denver Nuggets team seemingly in disarray.
The Nuggets have lost eight in a row heading into Friday night's rematch and suspended veteran guard Andre Miller for the next two games.
Memphis (14-17) has won four of its last six games and blew out the Nuggets 120-99 on Saturday. The Grizzlies added a 99-91 victory in Phoenix on Thursday with Zach Randolph scoring at least 20 points for the fifth time in six contests and recording his fifth double-double in that span by pulling down 15 rebounds.
Reserve point guard Jerryd Bayless had 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter while helping Memphis outscore his hometown team 30-18. The Grizzlies also outrebounded Phoenix 59-40.
"When J.B. (Bayless) hits shots like that it opens up for us," Randolph said. "We can play in the paint."
In last week's game against Denver, Randolph scored a team-best 20 points and was one of six players in double figures as the Grizzlies outscored the Nuggets 54-30 in the paint. Four of those players, including Bayless, came from Memphis' bench, which had a season-high 62 points.
The Grizzlies will try to earn another win against a team that's on the verge of its longest skid in 11 seasons. The Nuggets (14-17) haven't dropped nine straight since a 14-game losing streak Feb. 6-March 5, 2003.
Denver is also trying to avoid its first six-game skid at home since a string of seven consecutive defeats during that same season, and it will have less depth for that attempt. The Nuggets suspended Miller on Thursday for "conduct detrimental to the team."
The point guard was held out of a game while healthy for the first time in his career in a 114-102 loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday, and there are reports he has vocally expressed his displeasure with coach Brian Shaw about his lack of playing time. The 15-year veteran was averaging career lows of 19.0 minutes, 5.9 points and 3.3 assists.
"It just came to a boiling point. We made a decision and we're moving forward," coach Brian Shaw said.
Shaw later met for several hours with the rest of his beleaguered team.
"Everybody got their feelings out. Everybody said what needed to be said," point guard Ty Lawson said. "Hopefully everybody can take that to heart and change so we can start getting wins. It's always healthy to get things out and get everything in the open. Hopefully, this will be a turning point for the rest of the season."
Denver will try to begin its turnaround by earning its 31st win in 35 home meetings with the Grizzlies. The Nuggets have also won 27 of the past 29 matchups there and 10 of 11.
They will likely need a better offensive showing to add to that stellar record. Denver is averaging 93.5 points during its losing streak, 8.6 fewer than in its first 23 this season, and is shooting a league-worst 41.1 percent.
The Nuggets are also allowing 105.6 points per game in their last eight after previously allowing an average of 99.8.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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