The Denver Nuggets are on the verge of their longest win streak in 30 seasons but will have to get past another one of the NBA's hottest teams to accomplish that feat.
The Nuggets will seek an 11th consecutive victory and their 15th in a row at home Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, winners in 14 of 15.
Denver hasn't won 11 in a row since Feb. 24-March 15, 1983, but put itself on the brink of matching that streak with another blowout. With Wednesday's 117-94 win over the visiting New York Knicks, the Nuggets (44-22) have won their past four games by an average of 19.0 points.
"We're playing really well right now," guard Andre Iguodala said. "Obviously, we've grown from the beginning. We started off with a tough first two months, playing on the road so much and trying to get acclimated with one another."
Denver, which boasts the Western Conference's best home record at 29-3, has also won its past four contests at the Pepsi Center by an average of 19.3 points but would appear to have a tougher test coming up. The Grizzlies (44-19) have matched a season high with four straight road wins and have won seven of eight away from home after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 96-85 on Wednesday.
Marc Gasol led the way with 21 points on 10-of-14 shooting and Memphis held the Pacific Division leaders to 33 second-half points while earning its sixth straight overall victory.
"We don't get caught up in the gravity of the situation too much," guard Mike Conley said. "We just go out there as a hardworking team every night. This is a huge win, obviously, second game of a back-to-back against a good team. We just did a good job defensively, and playing at our pace."
The Grizzlies, though, have struggled in Denver as a franchise, losing 29 of 33 all-time visits. They had a chance to win at the Pepsi Center on Dec. 14 but committed a turnover and missed two 3-pointers in the final 12 seconds of a 99-94 loss.
Andre Miller scored all 18 of his points in the second half, including four free throws in the last 10 seconds.
Denver has won two of the three meetings this season, with Danilo Gallinari totaling 40 points in the victories but scoring just seven in an 81-72 loss on Dec. 29. That was the lowest-scoring game of the season for the Nuggets, who have reached triple digits in 24 of their last 25 games.
The Grizzlies won't have the player who was largely responsible for that victory. Rudy Gay, who scored eight of his 19 points in the final four minutes, was traded to Toronto on Jan. 30 as part of a three-team deal.
Gay averaged a team-best 20.7 points in the three games against Denver while Zach Randolph was the next-best scorer at 11.3 per matchup.
Randolph has totaled 32 points and 18 boards in his last two games after missing the previous four with a sprained left ankle.
Denver's Wilson Chandler had a team-high 24 points Wednesday, and the Nuggets are 10-1 when he scores at least 12. Injuries have prevented him from playing in the season's first three matchups with Memphis.
The Nuggets' home win streak is their longest in one season since 19 straight victories from Jan. 28-April 20, 1989. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, are seeking their first five-game road win streak since a run of seven consecutive victories Feb. 17-March 10, 2010.
The Associated Press News Service
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