The roles looked reversed Saturday night.
Chucky Atkins had 28 points and 12 assists and Tarence Kinsey
matched a career-high with 28 points to lead the Memphis Grizzlies
to a 133-118 victory over Denver, snapping the Nuggets' season-best
eight-game winning streak.
Memphis, which already has assured itself of the worst record in
the NBA, snapped a six-game losing streak and had six players in
"The only people that believe we can win is us," Kinsey said.
"We've been beat up and let down all season, and to bounce back
and get a win like this on a team that was on a hot streak ...
feels real good."
Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 28 points, and Nene scored 22
points on 10-for-12 shooting. J.R. Smith came off the bench to
score 19 points, and Allen Iverson had 16 for Denver. Marcus Camby
added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
"Teams like (Memphis) are scary teams," Camby said. "They
really have nothing to play for. They're out there playing loose
and free. They were knocking down 3s and knocking down shots."
The Grizzlies, who shot 58 percent for the game led by as many
as 12 in the first half, but a third quarter rally keyed by Anthony
and Iverson, pulled Denver even.
But in the final period, it was the lowly Grizzlies who made
shots building the lead to 13 points with 4:11 remaining and
"We played one end of the court," Nuggets coach George Karl
said. "We played no defense. We never had the attitude to win the
game. I thought our defensive focus was ordinary at best."
Iverson agreed Denver didn't come into the game with the proper
"We scored enough points to win the basketball game," Iverson
said. "We just didn't come and play defense."
The Nuggets problem was handling the ball in the first half.
Memphis led 64-56 at intermission behind 12 points apiece from
Kinsey and Atkins, while Jones had 11 points.
Denver shot well early -- Nene hit his first four shots and
missed only one of his nine field goal attempts in the half -- but
Memphis stayed close and led by as many as 12 in the first half
because Denver reached double-digit turnovers before four minutes
were gone in the second quarter. The Nuggets finished with 14
giveaways in the half.
The Nuggets had 21 turnovers for the game, including seven by
guard Steve Blake and six by Iverson. The turnovers contributed to
a season-high 14 steals for Memphis.
Nene and Camby got in foul trouble after halftime, but Iverson
loosened up, scoring eight points in the third quarter to go with
13 from Anthony in the period.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Smith pulled the Nuggets even with
three minutes left in the third period, and the game was tied at 95
entering the fourth.
"When you reflect on how we've been playing the whole month of
April, you feel like this was a game we should have won," Camby
said. "We didn't want to give back any momentum we've gained."
Atkins had 11 points in the final period, hitting all four of
his shots while Kinsey scored 10 to help Memphis pull away.
"I don't consider it big," Kinsey said of the win. "I
consider it huge. It gives us just a little bit more hope."
The Memphis injuries have left Grizzlies coach Tony Barone
with a bit of a dark sense of humor. Asked if there were any other
injuries, Barone replied: "Who knows? Someone could have jammed
their finger on the door coming in, the way this is going." ...
Gay sat out his third straight game with a tender right ankle. His
status for the rest of the season is questionable. "If he's not
100 percent, he's not playing," Barone said. "I don't think it's
fair to him. Eighty percent. Ninety percent. That doesn't work
now." ... Camby has led Nuggets in rebounding the last six games.
...Iverson's 16 points moved him past David Robinson for 26th place
on the all-time scoring list. ...Anthony autographed the pair of
game shoes he wore and gave them to one of the locker room
attendants with directions to send them to Warrick in the
Grizzlies' locker room. The two were teammates on Syracuse's
national championship team in 2003.