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Grizzlies end 17-game, 9-year slump in Denver

DENVER (AP) -- Memphis coach Mike Fratello raised his fists high
in the air and let out a little yell at the end of the game.

He couldn't keep it in, not after the Grizzlies broke a 17-game
losing streak in Denver with a 108-96 victory over the Nuggets on
Tuesday night.

The Grizzlies also snapped a seven-game road losing streak this
season.

"We haven't had a whole lot of success in this town before,"
Fratello said. "Our team had a very good feeling about this one."

And Denver coach George Karl had a bad premonition. Karl was
fretting about the game all day, saying there were a lot of
"psychological distractions" in playing a team that has struggled
in Denver and was without one of its main offensive threats in Pau
Gasol, who's recovering from surgery on his left foot.

His gut feeling was right.

"We settled for jump shots a lot," Karl said. "If we play
like that against Memphis, they are going to beat us. They are a
better jump-shooting team."

The Grizzlies were the only NBA team without a win at the Pepsi
Center until Tuesday night. Memphis hadn't won in Denver since Nov.
18, 1997, when the Nuggets played at McNichols Arena. The Grizzlies
were also located in Vancouver back then.

"I think I was 5," Hakim Warrick said when asked his age the
last time Memphis won in Denver. "I'd heard about Denver beating
us all the time when I got to town on Sunday. I'd heard enough of
that talk."

So Warrick did something about it, scoring 25 points. He almost
kept up with his former Syracuse teammate, Carmelo Anthony, who
scored 37 points.

Anthony, who was recently named the Western Conference Player of
the Week, has now scored 30 or more points in 10 of his last 11
games.

"He reminded me we hadn't won here," Warrick said. "He told
me."

That's funny, since Anthony played ignorant on the streak.

"I never knew that," he said of Memphis' shortcomings in
Denver. "It was their night. It wasn't our night."

The Grizzlies led by one entering the fourth quarter, but opened
a 104-92 lead with 2:46 remaining on Lawrence Roberts' layup.
Roberts had eight of his career-high 16 points in the fourth
quarter. Denver went 5:21 between field goals early in the final
quarter.

"We just didn't play Nugget basketball," Karl said. "We
didn't create any running game, and against a team that executes
pretty well, we let them execute."

The Grizzlies had a season-high 30 assists. Mike Miller had a
career-high 14 assists and added 13 points.

"We shared the basketball," Fratello said. "Forty-five
baskets and 30 assists. That's tremendous."

The loss breaks Denver's five-game winning streak. The Nuggets
had scored more than 100 points in every game in the five-game
stretch.

In the first quarter, Denver dictated the tempo and jumped out
to an 11-point lead. But the Nuggets took their foot off the gas
pedal.

"We got complacent with our lead," Anthony said. "We stopped
attacking. We didn't have (intensity) tonight. I (saw) it during
warmups. We were just out there."

Andre Miller had a season-high 13 assists for the Nuggets and
Marcus Camby had 14 points and 10 rebounds, his ninth double-double
of the season.

"We can't take teams for granted," Miller said. "This was one
of these nights where we did take a team for granted."

Game notes
Denver F Nene was inactive for the ninth straight game with
a right knee contusion. Karl thought he'd be ready in the next few
days. ... Yakhouba Diawara tied a career high with 13 points. ...
Memphis' Jake Tsakalidis (flu) and Damon Stoudamire (sore right
knee) didn't dress for the game. Eddie Jones was held out with a
tendinitis in his right Achilles'. ... Chucky Atkins added 22
points and hit four 3-pointers, all in the second half. ... Dahntay
Jones finished with 10 points.