The Denver Nuggets lost their cool, and now need some help to
move up in the Western Conference. In home matchups with the
Memphis Grizzlies, though, they have not required any
Coming off a costly defeat, the Nuggets look to continue their
home dominance over the Grizzlies on Monday night.
Denver (52-28) lost its composure in a 104-85 loss to San
Antonio on Saturday night, with Carmelo Anthony getting ejected for
jawing with officials in the fourth quarter. Chauncey Billups and
J.R. Smith were also hit with technicals later in the game.
A poor effort in a crucial contest gave the Nuggets good reason
to be frustrated. Denver fell one game behind second-place Dallas
in the West, and dropped into a tie with Utah for the Northwest
The Nuggets, who had a four-game winning streak end, will need
to win their final two contests and get some help to overtake the
Mavericks, who also have two games remaining.
“Every loss at this point of the season is costly,” Billups
To win the Northwest, Denver may have to end a 10-game losing
streak at Phoenix on Tuesday night. The Nuggets should be much more
comfortable hosting the Grizzlies (40-40), a franchise that has
lost 22 of the last 23 at Denver.
The Nuggets have won nine of 10 overall against the
Kenyon Martin missed Denver’s 125-108 win over Memphis on March
13 due to patellar tendinitis in his left knee. It was one of 18
games the veteran forward missed before returning to the starting
lineup against the Spurs.
Acting coach Adrian Dantley monitored Martin’s playing time
closely, limiting him to 23 minutes in his first contest since
March 3. Martin was held to six points, but had 10 rebounds and
provided his usual spark on defense.
“It’s a positive for the team just to have me back out there,”
Memphis may be without second-year guard O.J. Mayo, who suffered
a mild left ankle sprain in the first quarter of a 120-101 loss to
Philadelphia on Saturday night. He left the game following the
injury and returned later in the quarter, but was hobbling and
eventually left for good.
Mayo is listed as day to day. If he can’t play, Marcus Williams
will likely take his spot in the starting lineup.
Mayo had a career-high 40 points in a 133-123 loss to Denver on
Nov. 1. Mayo, averaging 17.5 points and 1.2 steals, has helped the
Grizzlies improve from a 25-58 season.
Still, Memphis will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight
“We have some work to do this summer,” Gay told the Grizzlies’
official Web site. “We’re not where we want to be.”
Memphis needs one win to finish above .500 for the fourth time
in franchise history. The Grizzlies, though, have lost four of five
and had dropped four straight on the road before beating San
Antonio 107-99 on Friday night.