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- The Nuggets won’t have Rudy Fernandez (strained lower back) available tonight but center Timofey Mozgov will be in uniform. It’s uncertain he’ll play, though. Mozgov sat out the last two games after aggravating his sprained left ankle and feels well enough to give it a go if needed. However, the play of Chris Andersen in the teams’ last meeting could give Mozgov another night off. “Timo will be dressed and capable of playing,” Denver coach George Karl said. “I’m not sure I’ll go that way. Bird played very well in the game down there and they don’t play very big with their second unit.” Karl added small forward Danilo Gallinari might get some time at power forward.” The Nuggets will be without 7-footer Kosta Koufos, who is dealing with a strained left knee.
- The game features a clash of styles. Denver will try to push the pace while Memphis would prefer to slow it down and play more in the paint. In their last meeting, a game won by Memphis on a last-second tip by Dante Cunningham, the Grizzlies got 16 points and 14 rebounds from center Marc Gasol. “They got great passing big men,” Karl said. “Gasol, his playmaking is as good as anybody on their team. His passing in the middle of the defense gets them a lot of layups.” The Grizzlies are coming off an 98-91 loss at Phoenix on Saturday and would prefer to play methodical and stop Denver in transition. “When you score and get offensive rebounds, you stop it somewhat,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “They do jump out of bounds and throw the ball down there. You have to get back. You can’t mess around talking to officials or chasing a ball that they already have. You have to run and get back on defense.”
– Michael Kelly