Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 11/9

Game 1: Saturday, November 9th
Game 2: Wednesday, December 11th
Game 3: Sunday, February 2nd
Game 4: Wednesday, March 5th

    7:30 PM ET, February 2, 2003

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 26 23 19 1078
    DEN 25 22 21 2593

    Top Performers

    Mem: P. Gasol 13 Pts, 11 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Blk

    Den: J. Howard 26 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Nuggets put together strong fourth quarter

    DENVER (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies began the third quarter hitting just one of nine shots, but got away with it. They started the fourth quarter hitting an identical one of nine, and it spelled doom.

    Juwan Howard had 26 points and 13 rebounds as the Denver Nuggets snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating the Grizzlies 93-78 Sunday night.

    Chris Whitney added 15 points as Denver handed Memphis its fifth consecutive defeat.

    ''We're doing a better job of recognizing who has the hot hand and getting the ball to him,'' Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said.

    Drew Gooden came off the bench to score 16 points for the Grizzlies, and Pau Gasol had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

    The Nuggets outshot Memphis 42 percent to 35 percent and outrebounded the Grizzlies 55-38, including 15-3 in the final quarter.

    With the score tied 68-68 after three quarters, Denver scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter. The Nuggets outscored Memphis 19-4 over the first 7:25 of the period to forge an 87-72 lead, during which the Grizzlies had their second shooting spasm.

    ''Our first group fell apart in the third quarter,'' Memphis coach Hubie Brown said. ''They came out and went 1-for-9. Fortunately, the other guys regrouped and got it back. So in spite of not shooting well, the game is still 68-68 at the end of three.

    ''In the fourth quarter, we go 4-for-14 with seven turnovers. You cannot do that.''

    Brown said the Nuggets ''outhustled us, outmuscled us. They beat us to every loose ball, and they beat us on our defensive boards. Not only did Howard have a great night offensively, but he had 13 boards. He just did a terrific job. Their supporting cast did well. They forced us into a lot of bad, bad stuff.''

    Whitney opened the period with a 3-pointer, then added two free throws. Ryan Bowen hit a baseline jumper, then fed Chris Andersen for an alley-oop basket.

    Denver's Rodney White, scoreless to that point, scored Denver's next eight points, and Howard's layup capped the spurt.

    ''We finished it off tonight,'' Howard said. ''We made some shots, we didn't turn the ball over and we got some stops on the other end. That was the difference right there, compared to some other games where we played three great quarters and then collapsed in the last three minutes.''

    Bzdelik agreed.

    ''We completed a game,'' he said. ''During the losing streak, we had several leads in the second half, but we couldn't finish. Tonight we had a big fourth quarter.''

    In a tightly played first half, neither team led by more than seven points.

    Vincent Yarbrough's 3-pointer helped the Nuggets jump to a 9-2 lead, but Memphis erased the deficit moments later, using a 9-0 run to produce a 15-12 lead. Gasol had four points during the spurt, and Wesley Person made a 3-pointer.

    Back-to-back baskets by Donnell Harvey and a 3-pointer by Whitney put Denver ahead 19-17 before the Grizzlies scored seven consecutive points. Denver cut the deficit to 26-25 at the end of the first period.

    Howard scored 10 points in the second quarter, including Denver's last eight, but Memphis took a 49-47 halftime lead.

    Mark Blount had a pair of three-point plays for Denver, and Jason Williams' 3-pointer gave Memphis its biggest lead of the half, 42-36. After Howard's late flurry put Denver in front 47-45, Gasol hit a short jumper and Mike Batiste made two free throws.

    Denver used an 8-0 run early in the third quarter to take a 57-51 lead, but the Grizzlies countered with seven consecutive points, all by Earl Watson.

    Game notes

    Memphis guard Brevin Knight (sprained right wrist) and center/forward Stromile Swift (sprained right hand) did not play. ... Before the game, the Grizzlies announced Person would not play because of a bruised left kneecap, but he played 27 minutes and scored five points. Person played in the defeat against the Knicks on Friday after missing the previous four games with a broken right index finger. ... The Nuggets beat the Grizzlies for the 11th consecutive time. They are 14-2 at home in the series against Memphis. ... Denver tied a season best by shooting .500 from 3-point range and tied another season best by holding Memphis to 29 points in the second half. ... It was the second game of a doubleheader in Pepsi Center. The Colorado Crush of the Arena Football League played their inaugural game earlier in the day.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 78 93
    FGM-FGA 27-77 (.351) 34-81 (.420)
    3PM-3PA 4-17 (.235) 5-10 (.500)
    FTM-FTA 20-24 (.833) 20-26 (.769)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 12-38 19-55
    Assists 13 27
    Turnovers 17 16
    Steals 5 10
    Blocks 9 9
    Fast Break Points 4 1
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (0/0) 25 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Pau Gasol Gasol
    Points: 13
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 3
    Juwan Howard Howard
    Points: 26
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1