The Denver Nuggets held a late lead, but lost a close game to the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday evening by a final score of 102-101.
Thursday’s game did not get off to a good start for the Denver Nuggets, as the home team trailed by 14 points at the end of the first quarter at 37-23. At one point in the first quarter, the Nuggets trailed by as many as 18 points. Two Denver baskets by Darrell Arthur and Will Barton at the end of period cut the Memphis lead.
The Denver Nuggets cut into the Grizzlies’ lead in the second period, narrowing their deficit throughout the quarter. By the end of the second quarter, Memphis still led, but what was once an 18-point lead was down to 7 at 55-48 in favor of the visitors.
To begin the third quarter, the Denver Nuggets promptly went on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 55-55 with 10-48 left behind 5 straight points from Nikola Jokic. The Nuggets gained their first lead of the game with 7:56 left off an Emmanuel Mudiay 2-point basket, giving Denver a 63-62 lead.
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The two teams traded baskets for the next three minutes, going tit for tat to keep the game tied. A Mario Chalmers 3-pointer gave the Grizzlies the lead back with 4:37 left at 72-69. The Grizzlies would maintain their lead until the end of the third, bringing 2 two point advantage into the final period of play.
The Grizzlies increased their lead to 7 points with 8:36 left in the fourth of a Jeff Green free-throw to make the score 87-80. The Denver Nuggets would answer, pulling within 2-points at 91-81 with 5:21 left off an Emmanuel Mudiay three-pointer.
The Denver Nuggets fought in the fourth quarter, tying the game at 96-96 with 1:38 left off a pair of Will Barton free-throws. The Nuggets would momentarily take the lead at 98-97 off a Will Barton shot, but Marc Gasol would give Memphis the lead again with a basket and a foul. Gasol’s free-throw gave the Grizzlies a 3-point lead. Denver would not regain the lead.
Danilo Gallinari and Kenneth Faried led the Denver Nuggets in scoring at 17 points apiece. Faried also recorded a double-double, notching 12 boards on the night. Emmanuel Mudiay added 14 points, while Will Barton also scored 14 points off the bench.
For the Grizzles, Marc Gasol led Memphis in scoring with 27 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists. Mike Conley added 20 points. The Grizzlies shot 50 percent from the field on Thursday, while the Denver Nuggets shot 45 percent.
The Denver Nuggets had a victory within their grasp but let the lead slip away to a playoff team in Memphis. They will have to quickly shake off this game as they host the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.