The score of this game was 50-35.
That might sound low for an NBA game, but it's just about right if you watched this one.
And effort was clearly the difference tonight, as the Rockets got 19 offensive boards and forced 17 Grizzlies turnovers. When you're -3 in turnovers and -15 in rebounds, you just can't win basketball games.
It's not like the offense was great either. The Grizz shot just 40% from the field, and no starter scored over 20 tonight. For the Grizzlies to win basketball games, assuming Marc Gasol's contributions as constant, either Zach Randolph has to go off and either Rudy or O.J. has to be decent or both the wings have to be lights out.
Tonight neither wing was even decent, and Z-Bo didn't make much. Rudy Gay did shoot 4-9 but was limited to 30 minutes and no consistency by foul trouble. O.J. Mayo handled the ball a little too often to compensate, and had to shoot 14 times because of Rudy and Zach's troubles.
A huge part was the Rockets spectacular defense. The Rockets tease their opponent into passing when they need to shoot and shooting when they need to pass better than anybody else in the league. Either they lead the league in trash-talking, or they're smart. With Shane Battier still on the roster, I'll call it smarts.
Ridiculous Matt tweeted this to me after the game:
Two things the Grizz can't handle (3 out of 4 nights): teams with considerably more talent, teams with higher work ethic.
This assertion is probably true for most basketball teams, but it seems particularly true for the Grizzlies. And I responded that there are only two teams with noticeably higher work ethic: the Cavaliers and the Rockets.
Those are the Grizzlies last two blowout losses. Things will get better, but times are tough for now.