Randolph has 21 points, 16 rebounds, Grizzlies beat Nuggets
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Tony Allen factor is hard to ignore when the Memphis Grizzlies are turning back opponents’ rallies.
Allen’s energy along with a double-double from Zach Randolph helped the Grizzlies pull away from the Denver Nuggets for a 92-81 victory on Monday night.
Randolph finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds, while Allen and Marc Gasol added 14 points apiece. Allen had 10 points and eight of his nine rebounds after halftime.
“I want to take advantage of my opportunities,” said Allen, who has come off the bench since the Grizzlies obtained Jeff Green from Boston in January. “Some games I’m better than others. I don’t think it’s anything special.”
But Allen provides a disruption and an energy that even Nuggets interim coach Melvin Hunt acknowledged is hard to ignore.
“Tony Allen is a difference-maker,” Hunt said. “It doesn’t show up in the stat sheet, but he disrupted several plays. . He turned the game for them with his pressure and his intensity.”
Memphis broke a 79-all tie in the fourth quarter by outscoring Denver 13-2 the rest of the way. In that run, Allen had a pair of rebounds, an assist and a steal leading to his only score in the span, a dunk for the game’s final margin.
“Tony Allen really changed the game,” said Nuggets guard Randy Foye, who had 16 points.
Jameer Nelson scored 24 points for the Nuggets on 11-of-18 shooting, while Wilson Chandler added 13 for Denver.
“I can’t say enough about Jameer Nelson,” Hunt said. “Every time we needed a basket, we needed a play, whether it was offense or defense, he gave everything.”
The Nuggets, whose four-game winning streak ended, were coming off a double-overtime win at New Orleans on Sunday. Denver rested starters Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari, eliminating an average of 38.6 points.
Without Faried, Denver’s leading rebounder, Memphis dominated the boards 57-37. That included 20 offensive rebounds for Memphis, contributing to a 17-2 advantage in second-chance points.
“We knew that they were going to throw the ball up there, and kind of get the shot back and throw it up there again,” Foye said.
Memphis had crafted a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, but Denver changed the momentum as Nelson and Gary Harris made 3-pointers. A dunk by J.J. Hickson and another basket from Nelson comprised a 10-0 run for Denver near the midway point of the fourth to tie the game at 79.
Memphis then made its final push to collect a double-digit victory.
“We just said we have got to execute, and get the ball where it needs to go and play a lot faster,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said of the timeout he called with the score tied at 79.
Joerger acknowledged the difference Allen makes, primarily on defense, but also his ability to find open spots on the floor offensively.
“He comes in and turns the water off on a different guy then goes to another guy,” Joerger said of Allen’s defense, later adding: “He did a great job defensively, especially coming back to get some rebounds that we needed.”
Nuggets: The Nuggets were playing the second game of a season-high, five-game road trip. ... Reserve swingman Will Barton played collegiately at the University of Memphis. .. Nelson, Darrell Arthur and Jusuf Nurkic started in place of the three regulars who rested.
Grizzlies: Starting guard Mike Conley missed his third straight game with a right ankle sprain. ... Memphis defeated Milwaukee at home Saturday. Monday’s home game marked the first time this month the Grizzles have played consecutive games in the same city.
Despite the 11-point margin, the game was close compared to the previous two meetings. The Nuggets defeated Memphis by 29 in Denver on Jan. 3, and the Grizzlies won by 30 in Memphis later that month — the two extremes for victory and defeat margins for Memphis this season.
Nuggets: Visit Houston on Thursday.
Grizzlies: Visit Pistons on Tuesday