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Gay, Memphis close door on Nuggets 81-72

December 29, 2012
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photo - Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay (22) shoots against Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8), of Italy, in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 81-72. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey) Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay (22) shoots against Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari (8), of Italy, in the second half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 81-72. (AP Photo/Lance Murphey) Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. • Rudy Gay re-entered a close game with about five minutes left and ended the Denver Nuggets’ hopes of earning a win on the second night of back-to-back games.

Gay scored eight of his 19 points down the stretch and Memphis’ rested starters pulled away for an 81-72 victory on Saturday night.

“His work was definitely showing tonight,” Memphis guard Tony Allen said of Gay. “He carried us down the stretch. He made the big boy baskets down the stretch.”

Gay’s rush was part of 10 straight points for Memphis, breaking open a 68-68 game with 4:45 left. His 18-footer on the baseline with 1:25 left gave Memphis a 10-point lead, helping the Grizzlies snap a two-game losing streak.

Zach Randolph had 12 points for Memphis, which won despite shooting 40 percent. The Grizzlies outscored the Nuggets 28-15 in the fourth.

Andre Iguodala, Corey Brewer and JaVale McGee each had 12 points for Denver, which had its two-game winning streak end.

Danilo Gallinari, coming off a career-high 39 points Friday night, was held to 7 points on 2-of-8 shooting.

“We just ran out of gas, and ran out of bodies,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. “We didn’t have anybody really playing a great game. We worked them as hard as we could. The fight was good, but then with the fourth quarter and turnovers, it just broke our hearts.”

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