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DENVER NUGGETS BEAT MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES, 100-85.

DENVER NUGGETS BEAT MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES, 100-85.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets were healthy enough to beat the injury-depleted Memphis Grizzlies. Missing injured leading scorer Nick Van Exel and Antonio McDyess, the Nuggets used 23 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots by Raef LaFrentz and a 19-2 run in the fourth quarter to beat the Grizzlies 100-85 Thursday night. Memphis was missing injured point guards Jason Williams and Brevin Knight, and was without Rodney Buford, suspended by the NBA for five games for violation of the league's anti-drug policy. "Both of us are injured," Denver coach Mike Evans said. "We have got some key people out, and they are struggling to get some of their people back. ... We were just the fortunate ones." Denver led 71-70 at the start of the fourth quarter and used the run to put the game out of reach. Voshon Lenard scored seven in the surge, and George McCloud added a pair of 3-pointers as the Nuggets dealt Memphis its sixth loss in seven games. Avery Johnson and McCloud each scored 16 for Denver. Johnson added 11 assists, and Lenard finished with 13 points. Tariq Abdul-Wahad scored 12 points and had four steals. "We had a little bit of trouble at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but we really tried to key in on our shooters," LaFrentz said. "Tariq did a good job of creating turnovers. It was a game of runs." Lorenzen Wright, sidelined 33 games by a broken bone below his knee, scored 20 points for the Grizzlies in his first game since Dec. 3. Pau Gasol had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Shane Battier scored 13. Denver erased an 11-point deficit in the second quarter by scoring the final 14 points of the first half. The Nuggets led 47-44 at the break. LaFrentz finished with 16 first-half points, including 10 in the opening quarter. Wright, activated before the game, made his first five shots and scored 12 points in eight minutes of the first quarter. Gasol scored 11 in the first half. "Everything was falling for me," Wright said. "My shots went in, and I got passes where I wanted them. I didn't expect to do as well as I did. I thought I would play some defense, and then sit out for the rest of the game." Memphis led 74-73 early in the fourth before Denver broke the game open with its run. "Defensively, we played poorly," Memphis coach Sidney Lowe said. "We left guys open, and we forgot what strengths we had in our players."

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