Memphis drops fourth in a row

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- It took an extra five minutes for the
Denver Nuggets to escape with a win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Earl Boykins scored 19 points, including a pair of free throws
with 10.1 seconds left, as Denver earned a 97-94 overtime victory
over the Grizzlies on Friday night.

"I think we just stepped up to any challenge anybody threw at
us by just the little things we did," Denver swingman Bryon
Russell said. "We fought to take it into overtime, and we won."

James Posey's 3-point shot from the right corner in the final
seconds was way off the mark, and several tips were unsuccessful as
the Grizzlies dropped their fourth straight.

Marcus Camby, who had 17 points and 15 rebounds, hit a pair of
free throws to give Denver a 95-93 lead with 1:08 left in overtime.
The Nuggets shot 34 percent but went to the free throw line 52
times, hitting 44. Boykins was 15-of-16 from the line, career-highs
for the guard in both categories.

Jason Williams' 20-footer at the end of regulation bounced off
the rim, sending the game into overtime -- the first time this
season Memphis has gone to an extra period.

Denver had tied the score with 13.1 seconds left on Andre
Miller's three-point play when Memphis's Brian Cardinal fouled him
on a layup. Cardinal acknowledged it was an instinctive, but not
smart, play.

"I'm not necessarily a shot blocker, so I don't know what I was
doing," said Cardinal, who led the Grizzlies with a season-high 28
points. "I jump about a foot and try to block his shot. It was a
brain cramp, I guess."

Miller finished with 15 for Denver, while Carmelo Anthony and
Kenyon Martin had 12 each.

Cardinal's night included 24 points in the second half and a
career-high five 3-pointers.

"Offensively, I felt good after I made a couple of plays,"
Cardinal said. "It was a good game, but it would have been much
better if I hadn't fouled at the end (of regulation)."

Shane Battier finished with 17 points, while Williams scored 13
and added seven assists.

In a game that had plenty of ugly traits from a load of
turnovers to an abundance of fouls, Denver was able to get the ball
inside enough to build a lead.

But a third-quarter spark, fueled first by Battier, closed with
back-to-back 3-pointers by Cardinal, capping a 31-12 period for
Memphis and giving the Grizzlies a 71-62 lead entering the fourth.

"We had to do something," Martin said of the Grizzlies'
third-quarter rally. "Make more shot, get more loose balls.
Whatever we had to do."

Memphis, already short-handed from injuries to frontline players
Pau Gasol and Stromile Swift, dealt with more personnel problems
after Bonzi Wells was ejected early in the second quarter.

Pesky defense by Denver and Memphis defenders' inability to
rotate to the basket, helped Denver to a 12-point lead midway
through the second period en route to a 50-40 lead at the break.
Despite shooting 37 percent from the field, Denver benefited from
going to the line 28 times, hitting 24. Boykins led the way with 12
points in the half.

But after leading by as many as 11 in the second half, the
Grizzlies let the game slip away with mistakes down the stretch.

"We did everything but win the game," said Memphis center
Lorenzen Wright, who had a season-high 18 rebounds, including nine
on the offensive glass. "We were right there, and it's amazing
they were still able to get that win.

"This is a game we let slip away."

Game notes
The game was a sellout, Memphis' 11th this season, setting
a new standard. The Grizzlies had 10 in 1995-96, their inaugural
season in Vancouver. ...Wells was ejected with 11:39 left in the
second quarter after earning two quick technicals for arguing that
he was fouled on a block by Francisco Elson. ... Denver's 12
third-quarter points matched its lowest for a period this season.
... Memphis owner Michael Heisley was so incensed with the
first-half officiating that at halftime he lobbied game
coordinators to make sure they replayed all questionable foul