Associated Press
The two meetings between the Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets this season have resulted in the home team running their guests out of the building.
The Grizzlies might have a tougher time continuing that trend Monday night.
Denver (26-41), making a second stop on a five-game road trip, is in position to match its longest winning streak of the season after earning a fourth straight victory with Sunday’s 118-111 double-overtime win in New Orleans.
The Grizzlies (46-20), meanwhile, have won just five of 11 but ended a two-game skid with Saturday’s 96-83 home victory over Milwaukee, turning in one of their top 3-point shooting games with an 8-of-14 mark after shooting 27.5 percent from outside in their previous 20.
They’ve been defending the perimeter well, limiting their last three opponents to 28.6 percent from long distance — though that’s resulted in just one win.
Zach Randolph said their own successful 3-point shooting is key to getting himself and Marc Gasol some space in the paint. There was plenty of variety against the Bucks with each Memphis starter scoring at least 12 points.
“We need our guards to shoot well for us to operate down in the paint and open it up,” Randolph said. “Teams are double-teaming me and Marc. They’re just leaving our guards open, so we’ve got to make them pay.”
That strategy was helped by Courtney Lee emerging from a nasty shooting slump that included 6.0 points per game, a 25.5-percent mark overall and 20.0 percent from 3-point range over the past six. The shooting guard had 17 points on 6 of 10 against the Bucks while hitting 2 of 3 from beyond the arc.
“It was just the fact that I needed to see something go in,” Lee said. “… When you get that rhythm and see those shots go down, that’s all it takes. Once you make one, you’re on fire.”
Memphis has won seven of eight at home over Denver, including four straight after a 99-69 win on Jan. 29. The Grizzlies were just 3 of 16 from long range and are 5 of 30 in the season series, which includes a 114-85 loss in Denver on Jan. 3.
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