DENVER (AP) — Ty Lawson scored 25 points, rookie Jusuf Nurkic provided a lift inside by blocking a career-best five shots, and the Denver Nuggets snapped a three-game losing streak with a 114-85 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.
Arron Afflalo added 23 points and Kenneth Faried had 13 points and 13 rebounds as the Nuggets kept up their mastery of Memphis at home, improving to 32-5 all-time. Lawson also had 11 assists.
Marc Gasol scored 18 points for the travel-weary Grizzlies, who were running on fumes on the second night of a back-to-back. They held off the Lakers 109-106 in Los Angeles on Friday.
Memphis lost its cool in the third quarter, with coach Dave Joerger drawing two technical fouls, leading to his ejection, and Gasol receiving another.
Denver outscored Memphis 34-22 in the third to turn the game into a rout. Afflalo led the way with 14 points in the quarter.
Trying to spark his team in the third, Joerger argued a foul on Tony Allen, only to be sent to the locker room. Later, Gasol drew another technical and appeared frustrated with the aggressive play of Nurkic, who was throwing around his 280 pounds all evening. The 20-year-old from Bosnia Herzegovina finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Nurkic and Gasol jawed at each other at the end of the third quarter after Gasol’s shot was blocked.
The Grizzlies, who were missing Zach Randolph (sore right knee), had won three in a row. The team is 1-1 in 2015 after going a league-best 60-23 in the 2014 calendar year.
Before the contest, Joerger gave his colleague, Brian Shaw, a vote of confidence for his work this season with a banged-up roster. Shaw is missing forward Danilo Gallinari (right knee) and center JaVale McGee (strained lower left leg).
“If you took the highest two paid players off of our roster right now, Marc and Zach, we’d look a lot different,” Joerger said. “I text Brian all the time. I think Brian’s doing a good job.”
The injuries continue to mount for the Nuggets, with backup guard Nate Robinson spraining his right wrist when he fell to the floor after a hard foul by Vince Carter midway through the second quarter.
Robinson made the layup and then took his foul shot — along with another for a flagrant-1 call on Carter — by shooting left handed. He missed both and didn’t play the rest of the game.
Grizzlies: Assistant Jeff Bzdelik coached the Nuggets from 2002-05. “He’s a high-character guy, a really, really good coach,” Joerger said. … Asked how close Randolph was to a return, Joerger simply responded, “hard to tell.” … Memphis was 2 of 14 from 3-point range.
Nuggets: After consulting with a sleep study group, Shaw is having his team practice during the afternoon before games rather than in the morning. “Our attention span isn’t always the greatest,” Shaw said. “So when we do stuff in the morning, sometimes it’s in one ear and out by the time we get back that night.”
Grizzlies: Host New York on Monday.
Nuggets: Visit Minnesota on Monday.
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