White's career-high 22 points lead Nuggets to win

DENVER (AP) -- Rodney White is finally getting a chance to prove
he wasn't a bust as a lottery pick.

White scored 18 of his career-high 22 points in the second
quarter as the Denver Nuggets beat Memphis 84-73 Saturday night to
keep the Grizzlies winless.

"I think it was just a matter of time,'' Denver's James Posey
said. "The more he plays, the more he gets comfortable and gets
his confidence. The last couple of games he was down because he was
in and out. He kept us in the game early, we were riding him.''

White, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2001 draft, played just 16
games with Detroit last season, then spent the first three games of
this season on the bench after being traded to Denver.

White finally started getting playing time this week -- 34
combined minutes against Atlanta and Detroit -- and seems to be
finding his rhythm.

He scored on a tip-in immediately after entering the game, and
put the Nuggets up 36-29 on a three-point play with 3:39 left.
White, who scored a total of just 56 points last season, passed his
career-high of eight points in the first five minutes, and capped
the quarter with a runner at the buzzer that put Denver up 46-39.

"Everybody speaks about the talent that Rodney has, and he is a
young player,'' Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "There's a great
upside to Rodney White as you saw tonight.''

Denver, the league's worst scoring team, had 72 points through
three quarters after scoring a home record-low 63 against Detroit
on Thursday night. The Nuggets also tied a team record for points
allowed -- accomplished three times -- for their first win in four
home games and just their second overall.

Memphis, which opened last season with eight straight losses,
dropped to 0-7 to remain the league's only team without a victory.
Pau Gasol led the Grizzlies with 21, and rookie Drew Gooden added
19 points and 12 rebounds.

"There will be changes. I'm not saying what they are, but there
will be changes,'' Memphis coach Sidney Lowe said.

Rookie Nene Hilario also provided a lift for Denver.

Hilario, the seventh overall pick in the 2002 draft, twice
blocked shots by Gasol in the first half and brought the crowd to
its feet with a dunk off an offensive rebound late in the second

Hilario kept it going in the third, scoring on a dunk and a
breakaway layup to start a 10-0 run that put Denver up 56-39. Posey
capped the run with a tough tip in traffic.

The Grizzlies opened the second half with four straight misses
and two turnovers before Jason Williams hit a 3.

"I don't know what's wrong with this team,'' Williams said.

Posey ended up with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Hilario had
13 rebounds. Juwan Howard overcame a poor first half -- 1-for-7 for
five points -- to finish with 13 and 11 rebounds.

The game featured two of the league's worst teams and it looked
that way at the start.

Denver missed its first six shots and didn't score until Chris
Whitney hit a 22-foot jump shot three minutes in. The Nuggets hit
just 4 of 22 shots and had 16 points in the quarter.

Memphis wasn't any better.

Memphis the Grizzlies 6-0, then went scoreless over the next
3:47. Memphis had nine turnovers in the first quarter, including
three on offensive fouls and another on a pass by Brevin Knight
that was caught by a Denver cheerleader on the baseline.

"I don't know what is going to happen. We have to change
something,'' Gasol said. "We can't go on the way we are doing and
keep losing. We have to change our minds and play harder.''

Knight had to be carried to the locker room late in the first
quarter when he came down on someone's foot on a 3-point attempt.
X-rays on his right ankle were negative, but he didn't return.

Game notes
Denver is 12-2 at home against Memphis, including 10
straight victories. Memphis' last win in Denver was 100-87 on Nov.
18, 1997, when the team was in Vancouver. ... The crowd booed
loudly when a fan wearing a Jerry Rice jersey was shown on the
scoreboard, then cheered even louder when Denver Broncos wide
receiver Rod Smith appeared a few seconds later. The Broncos face
the Oakland Raiders Monday night. ... Memphis' Stromile Swift
blocked six shots, giving him 203 for his career. Memphis had 15
blocks, one off the team record.


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