Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 1/21

Game 1: Friday, January 21st
Game 2: Friday, February 25th
Game 3: Tuesday, April 5th
Game 4: Friday, April 15th

Grizzlies 102

(44-35, 19-21 away)

Nuggets 111

(48-31, 30-10 home)

    Coverage: FSS

    7:00 PM ET, April 15, 2005

    Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 16 32 26 28102
    DEN 34 33 15 29111

    Top Performers

    Memphis: L. Wright 16 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Denver: K. Martin 17 Pts, 8 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Nuggets win 10 in a row

    DENVER (AP) -- For most of the game, it looked as though there was only one, not two, playoff teams on the court.

    When the night was over, that proved to be exactly the case.

    With Marcus Camby ailing, Nene finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds Friday night to help the Denver Nuggets win their 10th straight game, a 111-102 victory over Memphis that kept the Grizzlies from clinching the West's final playoff spot.

    The victory helped the Nuggets (48-31) match the third-longest winning streak in franchise history and pushed them into a tie with the Rockets for sixth place, with a game at Houston on Saturday night.

    Memphis, meanwhile, fell behind by 25 early in losing its third straight. That, plus Minnesota's 100-84 win over Utah, kept Memphis' magic number at one.

    "We got beat tonight and we just have to come out and play hard tomorrow and try to get that one game," Brian Cardinal said. "We'll see what happens. We are a playoff team, we just need to come out and prove it."

    The Grizzlies play at San Antonio on Saturday.

    Kenyon Martin had 17 points and eight rebounds and Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 22 points. Andre Miller finished with 15 points and eight assists.

    Camby had seven points, eight rebounds and six blocks but missed most of the second half after straining his right hamstring while trying to chase down Bonzi Wells on a breakaway. Coach George Karl said Camby's status for Saturday will be determined at gametime.

    Without Camby dominating on defense, Memphis trimmed its deficit to as few as six points early in the fourth quarter. The Nuggets, who improved to a staggering 31-6 under Karl, are basically working on style points at this point, and their recent mini-trend of letting large leads dwindle is the biggest complaint the coach has.

    "If you get a 15-point lead and let a team back in a playoff situation, it could be devastating," Karl said. "I probably want playoff basketball now. They gave me playoff basketball, but not as much as I want."

    Nene, the backup power forward, gave Karl plenty at the end.

    He took a sweet pass from Earl Boykins for a layup, made two free throws and had a nice tip-in as part of a 13-6 run that helped Denver push a six-point lead to 101-86 with 5 minutes left.

    He said it was his best game since returning March 20 after missing 13 games with a knee injury.

    "My legs are a little tired, but it's all coming back," the 2002 first-round draft pick said.

    Memphis didn't seriously threaten after Nene's flurry, but the Grizzlies didn't quit, either. Things got testy at the 3-minute mark when Anthony, upset at a hard foul by Cardinal, stuck a finger in Cardinal's face. The pair had to be separated by the officials.

    Lorenzen Wright had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who lost all four meetings with the Nuggets this season. Mike Miller led Memphis with 17 points. Pau Gasol had six points and three rebounds and sat the last quarter and a half -- coach Mike Fratello's decision.

    Denver shot 62 percent to push the lead to 25 in the second quarter, and the Grizzlies hardly looked like playoff contenders.

    "It was just a matter of if we would come back in the second half and show the character of our team and play basketball the way I know we are capable of playing," Fratello said.

    They did, but the deficit proved too much to overcome.

    Martin made a nice pass to Eduardo Najera, who converted for a three-point play, then Martin followed with an eight-foot hook shot to start the run that put the game away.

    Memphis still needs only a win or a Minnesota loss to clinch the last playoff spot, but that's no given. The Grizzlies finish with a home-and-home series against the Spurs and a home game with Dallas, while the T'Wolves finish with Seattle, New Orleans and the Spurs.

    Denver, meanwhile, can finish no worse than seventh, but has a realistic chance at catching Sacramento for the fifth spot. Asked how he felt about his position, Karl replied, simply, "Let's go to Houston."

    Game notes

    Former University of Utah coach Rick Majerus was on hand as a consultant to George Karl. ... The Nuggets' last 10-game winning streak came in 1988, when Doug Moe was coach. Moe is now Karl's assistant and the Nuggets are 24-2 since he came to the bench, with the only two losses coming to Phoenix. ... The Grizzlies haven't won in Denver since Nov. 18, 1997.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 102 111
    FGM-FGA 40-85 (.471) 37-77 (.481)
    3PM-3PA 6-16 (.375) 3-8 (.375)
    FTM-FTA 16-23 (.696) 34-41 (.829)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-32 17-54
    Assists 29 28
    Turnovers 13 22
    Steals 13 7
    Blocks 4 9
    Fast Break Points 18 28
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 30 (4/0) 22 (1/0)
    Largest Lead 0 25

    Top Performers

    Lorenzen Wright Wright
    Points: 16
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Kenyon Martin Martin
    Points: 17
    Reb: 8
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1