DENVER (AP) — Will Barton scored 17 points, Trey Lyles had 16 and the Denver Nuggets overcame a slow start to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 87-78 on Friday night, snapping a season-long three-game losing streak.
Nikola Jokic added 14 points and nine rebounds for Denver, which played without guard Gary Harris, who was excused for personal reasons. It was the first game Harris has missed this season. Barton started in his place.
Marc Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis. Tyreke Evans and James Ennis III added 12 points each.
Trailing 54-50 midway through the third quarter, the Nuggets went on an 8-0 run, taking their first lead since the game's opening minutes on a driving layup by Jokic. Denver had a 67-60 advantage — its biggest lead to that point — heading into the fourth quarter.
Memphis pulled to within three, but the Nuggets scored 10 of the next 12 points, taking a 77-66 lead on Mason Plumlee's dunk off Malik Beasley's alley-oop pass with 6:15 remaining.
Memphis could not make significant inroads on Denver's lead the rest of the way.
Denver pulled within 47-43 at halftime after a lackluster first quarter in which Memphis went on a 15-0 run for a 23-8 lead before settling for a 10-point advantage at the close of the period.
Grizzlies: G Mike Conley (left heel) and F Chandler Parsons (sore right knee) were not with the team but continue to make progress in their rehabilitation. Conley has been playing some 3-on-3 games and Parsons has participated in shooting drills. "We will be cautious with those guys because they are important to us," Grizzlies interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "They are making steps in the right direction."
Nuggets: F Paul Millsap, sidelined since mid-November with a ligament injury in his left wrist, has begun light workouts and may be able to return shortly after the All-Star break in mid-February, though no firm date has been set. ... Retired Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning watched the game from a courtside seat.
Grizzlies: Open a three-game homestand Monday against the Los Angele Lakers.
Nuggets: Travel to San Antonio to face the Spurs on Saturday night.
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