The Memphis Grizzlies came into Saturday night’s game at the Houston Rockets on a 4 game winning streak. It was supposed to be the Grizzlies’s last game before Christmas. Christmas break apparently started early for the Grizzlies as the Rockets ran them out of the Toyota Center in Houston. Houston gave the Grizzlies their worst loss of the season 121-96. It was the 13th straight loss for Memphis in Houston dating back to April 2006.It was also the first time since the season opening loss at the Clippers 101-92 that Memphis allowed more than 100 points. Before tonight Memphis hadn’t lost by more than 10 points an any game.
Memphis dropped to 18-7 on the season but still lead the Southwest Division by percentage points over the San Antonio Spurs. Houston improved to 14-12 and moved to with 5 games of the Grizzlies. The Rockets have won 3 straight games.
In the first quarter, the two teams were pretty much even as neither team led by more than 4 points. However, the game was played at the Rockets pace starting in the first quarter, and Houston would take a 33-32 lead with 5 seconds left in the quarter on a three pointer from forward Marcus Morris.
Memphis would take a 41-40 lead with 7 minutes to go in the second. However, they would not lead for the rest of the game as Houston closed the quarter on a 24-13 run to lead 64-54 at halftime.
Memphis closed to within 6 points twice at 68-62 and 70-64 early in the third quarter but could get no closer. The Rockets were up by as many as 18 points but ended the third with a 94-78 lead.
Any thoughts that the Grizzlies would mount a furious comeback were dashed as Houston opened the fourth quarter on a 12-2 run to put the game out of reach. The Grizzlies would get not closer than 22 points for the rest of the game. Houston led by as many as 27 points in the fourth before the clock mercifully ran out for the Grizzlies . The Rockets took the 25 point win.
The Grizzlies shot 53..2% from the field including 2/13 from 3 point range. Memphis made 10 of 14 free throws. The Grizzlies had 37 rebounds, 23 assists, 7 steals, 5 blocks, and 19 turnovers. Memphis had 3 fast break points and 48 points in the paint.
Point guard Mike Conley, Jr. had 16 points, 6 assists, 3 steals, a rebound and a block. Guard Quincy Pondexter had 14 points, 2 rebounds, an assist and a steal. Center Marc Gasol had 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Guard Tony Allen had 11 points, a rebound and a block. Forward Zach Randolph had 10 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and a block. Forward Rudy Gay was held to a season low 6 points with 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
Houston shot 53.7% from the field including 12/28 from 3 point range. The Rockets made 21 of 26 free throws. Houston had 38 rebounds, 32 assists, 11 steals, 5 blocks, and 15 turnovers. The Rockets had 33 fast break points and 56 points in the paint.
Guard James Harden had 31 points, 8 assists, 3 steals, and 2 rebounds. The Rockets improved to 7-1 this season when Harden scores over 30 points. Morris had 16 points, 2 blocks a rebound and an assist. Point guard Jeremy Lin had 15 points, 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals and a block. Center Omer Asik scored 14 points, along with 12 rebounds, an assist and a block. Forward Carlos Delfino had 11 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and a steal. Forward Greg Smith had 10 points and 5 rebounds. Gaurd Toney Douglas also had 10 points.
In my preview for this game, I said which ever team controlled the tempo would have an excellent shot at winning. Well, certainly both teams combining for 217 points is at the Rockets’ pace. The Grizzlies are built more for halfcourt games with gritty tough defense. They played Houston’s game and were blown off the court. Next up for the Grizzlies is a home game against the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night. Houston travels to the Chicago Bulls on Christmas night.