NBA: Valanciunas keeps Grizzlies hot with win over Nuggets

Field Level Media/Reuters

Posted at Jan 29 2020 01:23 PM

Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17) plays for the ball. File photo. Gary A. Vasquez, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.

Jonas Valanciunas had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Dillon Brooks scored 24 points and the host Memphis Grizzlies beat the Denver Nuggets 104-96 on Tuesday night.

Ja Morant scored 14 points, Brandon Clarke had 12 and Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 10 points and a career-high-tying seven blocked shots for the Grizzlies, who never trailed and have won 10 of 13 in January. Memphis ended a four-game skid against the Nuggets.

Nikola Jokic had 25 points and 13 rebounds, Jerami Grant scored 21 and Gary Harris had 10 points for short-handed Denver.

The Grizzlies opened up a 13-point lead in the first quarter after a slow start for both teams. Memphis closed the first on a 15-5 run to go ahead 31-18.

The Nuggets got within 39-34 with 8:01 left in the second quarter, but the Grizzlies pushed the lead back to 13 at halftime.

Memphis quickly stretched the lead to a game high of 19 early in the third quarter on a bucket by Brooks. Denver was able to get within 13 on a couple of occasions but not any closer in the period and trailed 82-66 entering the fourth.

Jackson hit a 3-pointer to open the final period, and it was 91-72 after Morant's layup with 9:18 left before Denver made a little run to get back into it.

Grant split a pair of free throws, Torrey Craig hit a layup and Jokic drained a straightaway 3-pointer to spark Denver. Craig blocked Morant's layup attempt, and Monte Morris scored on the other end to pull the Nuggets within 91-80, the closest they had been since the first half.

Valanciunas ended the run with a floater in the lane and then split a pair of free throws. Morant scored on a layup, and Valanciunas hit a fadeaway to make it 98-80 with 4:50 remaining.

Denver made one last push, getting within 11 on Grant's 3-pointer with 2:17 left, and then within seven with 50.1 left on Malik Beasley's free throws, but the Nuggets ran out of time.

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