MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Danilo Gallinari had suffered through an inconsistent shooting touch early this season, but he got untracked to help Denver end the Memphis Grizzlies' eight-game winning streak.
Gallinari scored a season-high 26 points, including a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left, and the Nuggets handed the Grizzlies only their second loss of the season with a 97-92 victory Monday night.
Gallinari entered the game shooting 34 percent from the field and 21 percent from outside the arc. He finished the night 7 of 15 from the field and 2 of 6 from long range. Gallinari's late 3-pointer came as Memphis had surrendered a lead in the final minutes. The shot from the wing, set up by a pass from point guard Ty Lawson, put the Nuggets up 96-92.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Gallinari said. "That's what coach (George Karl) wants me to do in order to get to the free throw line. I was just trying to do that."
As for the 3-poiner that put the Grizzlies away, Gallinari said they ran a high pick-and-roll with him and Lawson, knowing the Grizzlies would have to pick one of them to guard. He was left open for the shot.
"I wasn't thinking about the shot before I got the ball," Gallinari said. "I was just reading the defense. The defense was not there. I was open, and when you are aggressive mentally, you don't think too much, you just follow your instinct. That was my thought."
JaVale McGee provided a second-half lift for Denver and finished with 15 points and eight rebounds. Kenneth Faried added 13 points and grabbed 13 boards to help the Nuggets outrebound Memphis 47-33.
"We were missing a lot of shots," Karl said of his team shooting 44 percent (36 of 81) from the field. "Kenneth is very confident there. That's his NBA talent; that's his skill (rebounding). I think he was challenged by (Memphis power forward Zach) Randolph being such a great offensive rebounder."
Denver, which snapped a three-game skid, also won the battle in the paint 50-44 and outscored the Grizzlies in second-chance points 21-16. In addition to dominating inside, the Nuggets also pressured the Grizzlies early, forcing Memphis out of its regular pace.
"That was a point of emphasis coach wanted me to do — pick up the ball early and just pressure (Memphis point guard Mike Conley)," said Lawson, who finished with nine points on 4-of-14 shooting. "If I'm not scoring or playing well on the offensive end, I'll pick it up on the defensive end."
The Nuggets handed the Grizzlies their first loss since dropping the season opener against the Los Angeles Clippers.
"We didn't come out at the beginning with a great effort defensively or offensively," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "When you look at the rebounding, we got outrebounded by 14. We gave up 21 offensive rebounds, 20 second-chance point and we shot 17 3s. That's a recipe of getting beat, and we got beat."
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