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NBA Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, April 15th (All times eastern)

Memphis Grizzlies (44-34) at Denver Nuggets (47-31), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies will try once again to clinch a berth in the postseason, as they visit the scorching Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center.

Minnesota, which hosts the Utah tonight, is three games behind the Grizzlies, for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. A win by Memphis or a loss by the Timberwolves, gives the Grizzlies the final playoff berth in the West. Memphis owns the tiebreaker over Minnesota by winning the season-series, 3-1.

The Grizzlies and Timberwolves both have four games left on their regular- season schedules.

Denver, which trails the struggling Seattle SuperSonics by three games for first place in the Northwest Division, is the seventh seed in the West and is just 1/2 game behind No. 6 Houston, which does not play tonight. The Nuggets visit the Rockets on Saturday at the Toyota Center.

The Grizzlies have lost 14 straight at Denver. The last time the Grizzlies defeated the Nuggets as the visitor was on November 18, 1997.

The Grizzlies will play the third of a four-game road trip. They will visit the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday at the SBC Center in the first of a home- and-home set. Memphis will welcome the Spurs to FedExForum on April 18th.

Memphis comes into tonight's game on a two-game losing streak. On Wednesday, Yao Ming scored a team-high 28 points as the Rockets won their fourth straight game and kept Memphis from clinching a playoff berth with a 100-92 victory over the Grizzlies at the Toyota Center.

Mike Miller scored a career-high 37 points on 15-of-24 shooting in Wednesday's loss for Memphis, while Pau Gasol contributed 20 points, eight boards and four blocks and Lorenzo Wright finished with nine points and 10 rebounds.

The Grizzlies are 19-20 as the visitor this season. They are 5-5 in their last 10 away from home. After the home-and-set against the Spurs, Memphis is scheduled to closeout its regular season on April 20th at home against the Dallas Mavericks.

The red-hot Nuggets attempt to extend their season-high winning streak to 10 games. The last time Denver won 10 in a row was from March 20, 1987 to April 8, 1987. On Wednesday, Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points to lead seven Denver scorers in double figures as the Nuggets cruised to a 116-102 victory over the New Orleans Hornets at the Pepsi Center.

Earl Boykins notched 18 points and 11 assists in Wednesday's win for Denver, while Wesley Person netted 17 points for the Nuggets, who have won nine straight and 23 of their last 25 games. Nene posted 14 points and eight rebounds in the victory and Kenyon Martin chipped in 12 points and seven boards.

Under the leadership of head coach George Karl, the Nuggets have compiled an unbelievable 30-6 record. Karl became the team's general on January 27th when he replaced interim head coach Michael Cooper.

Denver is an impressive 29-10 as the host this season. The Nuggets, who are 10-3 in Friday games, have won 10 in a row at the Pepsi Center and are 17-1 in front of their home crowd under the guidance of Karl. Denver's last loss at home was on March 13th to the Phoenix Suns.

This is the fourth and final meeting of the season between the clubs. The Nuggets won the three previous contests and would earn their first regular- season series sweep over the Grizzlies since the 2000-01 campaign.

04/15 10:26:00 ET


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