After the Miami Heat it was the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After Oklahoma City it was the undefeated New York Knicks.
Then it was the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Grizzlies – sporting an 8-1 record – were on top of the world. Well, not literally. Those wins put the team on top of the NBA list, leading the league with the best record overall.
Then on Monday the Denver Nuggets swept through Memphis, snapping the Grizzlies' eight-game winning streak with a 97-92 jaw-dropper at the FedExForum.
The Nuggets knew they were in for a battle and came prepared and ready to rumble. Bottom line: The Grizz got outplayed.
"We didn't come out at the beginning with a great effort, defensively or offensively," said head coach Lionel Hollins. "When you look at the rebounding we got out-rebounded by 14. We gave up 21 offensive rebounds, 20 second chance points and we shot 17 threes. That's a recipe of getting beat and we got beat.
"We had our chances," said Hollins. "We gave up 9-0 run at the end of the game. We didn't execute. We didn't share the basketball. We tried to do too much by ourselves and it cost us."
The Grizzlies hadn't lost at home in a regular season game since March 18 of last season.
"I think that the lesson to be learned is there's a responsibility that comes with being really good," Hollins said. "You've got to go out there and prove it every night... everybody wants to come at you because they don't want to be embarrassed, or they want to show that they belong."
Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 22 points, his fifth 20-plus game of the season. Marc Gasol followed with 16 points. Leading the NBA in double-doubles, Zach Randolph notched his 10th consecutive double-double to start the season, with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
"They outworked us," Gay said. "They outplayed us. They crushed us on the boards and this is usually not like us."
The Nuggets had being physical in mind from the jump.
"You have to physically compete against their big guys (Gasol and Randolph) on every possession," said George Karl, Denver's head coach.
"Then you have Tony Allen, Rudy Gay and (Quincy) Pondexter that like to beat you up a little bit with their defensive presence. They attack the ball; they bump and grind you all over the court. So much of playing well against Memphis is not turning the ball over and not letting the physicality of the game go their way.
Denver out-rebounded the Grizzlies 47 to 33. Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari led all players with a season-high 26 points, adding five rebounds and three assists. Kenneth Faried, who welcomed the challenge of guarding Randolph in the post, recorded his seventh double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds). And it was his birthday.
"(We) come out here and beat the top team in the NBA, Memphis Grizzlies, on their home floor," Faried said. "It feels great."
The now 8-2 Grizzlies will face the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday (Nov. 23) at FedExForum.