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McDyess scores seven points in 19 minutes

3/2/2002

DENVER (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets are thrilled to finally have Antonio McDyess back.

He'll just need to get used to playing with some new teammates.

Juwan Howard had 24 points and nine rebounds, and Tim Hardaway scored 17 of his season-high 22 points in the third quarter as Denver ended a six-game losing streak with a 96-83 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

Howard and Hardaway were both acquired in a trade deadline deal
with Dallas.

"I just came out aggressively, looking for my shot and running the team," Hardaway said. "It feels darn good to get this win. It's been a long time coming and not only for me and Juwan, but for the whole team."

McDyess, who missed the first 54 games of the season after
having surgery on his left knee, had seven points and three
rebounds.

He had a brief scare when he came up limping after finishing a fast break with a layup early in the third quarter.

"My heart skipped a beat when I saw him limping, but our training staff said he was all right," Nuggets coach Mike Evans said. "All we wanted was to let him get a feel for getting on the court again, not force feed Antonio anything and then gradually increase his minutes."

McDyess was just glad to be playing again.

"I jumped off the leg and kind of tweaked it a little bit the first time I made a play in the second half, but I kept going and it warmed up," he said. "Overall, I felt like I ran a race. I got tired and then I got a second wind."

Pau Gasol scored 26 points for Memphis, which lost its ninth straight to the Nuggets and sixth in a row overall. Lorenzen Wright added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

"They picked it up in the second half, and in the third quarter
Tim Hardaway took over the game," Memphis coach Sidney Lowe said.
"That's what All-Stars do, and they have an All-Star point guard
playing against two of our young kids."

Hardaway took only two shots in the first half but got rolling
in the third quarter, scoring 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting.

"Tim got in a groove," Howard said. "I've seen it before plenty of times, so it wasn't a surprise to me."

After Eddie Gill pulled the Grizzlies to 57-53 with a long
jumper, Hardaway buried two straight 3-pointers to begin a 12-2 run
that put Denver ahead 67-55.

The Nuggets ended the third quarter with a 13-0 spurt, capped by
Hardaway's 3-pointer, for an 80-67 lead. Memphis was 4-for-14
shooting in the period.

"The main problem was they turned up the defense," Grizzlies
guard Shane Battier said. "They did a better job of denying entry
passes to Gasol."

Reserve James Posey scored seven of his 12 points in the fourth
quarter as the Nuggets maintained a 20-point lead for most of the
final period.

Donnell Harvey's jump hook beat the buzzer and gave Denver a
27-25 lead after one quarter. Gasol, 4-for-4 shooting and 5-for-5
from the line, had 13 points in the period.

The game was tied 47-all at halftime.

The Nuggets led by as many as five at 32-27 after a basket by
Voshon Lenard and Posey's 3-pointer early in the second quarter.

Game notes
Gasol had his streak of 25 straight double-figure scoring
games snapped Thursday night at Utah. ... Memphis is 2-8 on the
second night of back-to-back games. ... Denver placed Scott
Williams (back soreness) on injured reserve to make room for
McDyess. ... Denver's Mengke Bateer was called for six fouls in
eight minutes of playing time. ... Howard has averaged 22 points in
four games with Denver.