Ja Morant had 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Tyus Jones added 17 points and the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Denver Nuggets 106-97 on Monday night.
Xavier Tillman had 12 points, while Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 11 each as Memphis snapped a three-game losing streak to the Nuggets.
Jones and Tillman were part of a Grizzlies bench that outscored Nuggets reserves 43-34 and kept Memphis in front most of the way. Denver never led by more than two points, and there were six ties.
“We said all along, if our bench is clicking defensively and offensively, that just creates great balance for our team,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said.
“That leads to a lot of success for us.”
Nikola Jokic led Denver with 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, while Aaron Gordon added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Monte Morris scored 11 but was 5 of 12 from the field — part of the Nuggets shooting 44% for the game.
Denver’s major problems came from outside the arc where it went 9 of 38 for 24%.
“Of course, that’s their defense, too,” Jokic said. “But we missed a couple of open shots. We didn’t rebound enough. We had a couple of turnovers. It is what it is.”
The teams face each other again Wednesday night in Memphis.
The Grizzlies, who held an 82-73 lead entering the fourth quarter, were able to hold Denver at bay as the Nuggets tried to muster a rally.
At one point, Kyle Anderson made three straight baskets to help Memphis maintain a double-digit lead. Jones hit a pair of 3-pointers earlier in the period as the Grizzlies led by at least nine over the final 11 minutes.
Jones connected on five 3s, part of Memphis going 13 of 34 from outside the arc.
Credit: New Observer