Five games in nine days during the longest road trip of the season warranted a day off for the Grizzlies on Thursday, the day before they took the court at the FedExForum to tangle with the Denver Nuggets.
By halftime it was clear the Grizzlies needed a wakeup call. Looking tired, sluggish and bearing faint resemblance to a team battling for a playoff spot, Memphis trailed 47-43 at the break before awakening in the third quarter and holding on for a 100-92 victory.
Memphis started off strong, grabbing a lead that stood at 24-18 at the end of the first quarter. The Grizz crowd of 17,011 responded accordingly but fell noticeably quiet as the Nuggets, who are mathematically eliminated from the playoff hunt, played inspired basketball. After Kenneth – the "Manimal" – Faried's layup tied the game at 28-28, the Nuggets unleashed a run that netted a 47-43 halftime advantage.