NBA Game Summary - Denver at Memphis
(Tuesday, January 27th)
Final Score: Denver 100, Memphis 85
Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Chauncey Billups paced the Nuggets with 29 points to lead Denver to a 100-85 victory over the Grizzlies, putting a damper on the opening of the latest Lionel Hollins era in Memphis.
Hollins left his assistant coaching position in Milwaukee to take the head coaching reins made available when the Grizzlies fired Marc Iavaroni last week. Johnny Davis served as interim coach for two games, both of which Memphis dropped, and Tuesday's loss is the 10th straight for the Grizzlies.
Hollins had served as an assistant when the expansion club, then located in Vancouver, began play in 1995-96. He eventually took over as head coach for the final 60 games of the 1999-2000 campaign and guided the team to a mark of 18-42. In addition, was interim head coach for four games during the 2004-05 season.
Denver's 15 blocks, in addition to J.R. Smith's 20 points and Linas Kleiza's 16 paved the way in the Nuggets' third straight win. Kenyon Martin logged 12 points, 10 rebounds, five steals, four assists and three blocks for the victors.
"I kind of figured under this new leadership with coach Hollins they were going to play extremely tough," said Billups. "Once we figured that out, we had to toughen up and get the game under control."
O.J. Mayo posted 19 points, while the trio of Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry and Darius Miles each chipped in 13 points in another setback for the Grizzlies.
"Early on we had good ball movement, we had good player movement," said Hollins. "That's something we're going to try and build on.
Early in the fourth quarter, Hakim Warrick's three-point play and Lowry's jumper from the left elbow helped the hosts climb as close as 82-78 with 7:44 to play.
But Memphis went scoreless for the next 5 1/2 minutes while the Nuggets rattled off 14 straight points during that span. Smith's two free throws made it 96-78 with 2:19 left, and Denver cruised to the finish from there.
The Grizzlies came out strong for their new coach, rattling off 11 straight points midway through the opening frame for an 18-11 lead. Denver battled back, though, and was down just 25-24 after the first.
With Memphis holding an eight-point lead in the middle of the second, Kleiza and Billups carried the Nuggets through a 15-0 stretch. The latter had five points during the run while the former recorded a three-point play and capped the spurt with a trey for a 46-39 Nuggets lead.
Six consecutive points to end the quarter had the visitors ahead 54-45 at the half and the Nuggets stayed on top, 75-68, heading to the fourth.
The Grizzlies reached a buyout agreement and waived three-time All-Star Steve Francis on Tuesday. Memphis acquired Francis, who has not played in a game this season, along with a 2009 second-round draft choice and cash considerations from the Houston Rockets in exchange for a conditional second- round draft pick in 2011...Denver has won six straight over the Grizzlies... Nene had 10 points for Denver, which committed a whopping 27 turnovers compared to 26 giveaways for Memphis...Warrick finished with nine points and a team-high 10 rebounds in the loss.
01/28 02:52:12 ET