The Rockets dominated the rebounding battle as the Grizzlies fell short in overtime after Vince Carter's 4th quarter heroics kept Memphis alive, and the Grizz dropped their fourth straight game and saw their record fall to 21-8 on the season. Tony Allen made his return in the loss, while Zach Randolph remained out with a knee injury.
Here are my three takeaways from the loss:
1) The Quincy Pondexter
Pondexter hasn't scored in double figures since November 28th when he had 10 against Portland, and his playing time has been more sporadic than any player on the team with the possible exception of Tayshaun Prince. Dave Joerger gave Pondexter some run in the first quarter and Quincy made the most out of it, hustling for rebounds and netting a quick 11 points in 12 first half minutes.
He cooled off considerably and wasn't quite as active in the second half as he finished with 14 points on 5-10 from the field. Pondexter also threw down this slam in the second quarter:
2) Marc Gasol > Dwight Howard
The following is a list of all of the shots the Grizzlies took in the first four minutes of the third quarter:
- 11:26 — Marc Gasol makes 16-foot jumper
- 10:53 — Marc Gasol makes 20-foot jumper
- 10:41 — Courtney Lee misses 14-foot jumper
- 10:14 — Tony Allen misses layup
- 9:42 — Mike Conley misses 22-foot jumper
- 9:18 — Marc Gasol makes 18-foot jumper
- 8:45 — Tony Allen makes layup
- 8:15 — Donatas Motiejunas blocks Mike Conley's shot
- 8:12 — Marc Gasol makes 15-foot jumper
- 7:50 — Marc Gasol makes 25-foot three-point jumper(!!!)
3) Josh Smith's Houston Debut
Smith signed with the Rockets earlier in the week after being waived by the Detroit Pistons, and pitched in 21 points on 21 shots off the bench in his Houston debut. His size gave the Grizzlies some fits, and at times Joerger matched up with a small lineup that put Tayshaun Prince at power forward in an attempt to contain him defensively. Living up to his reputation, Smith was effective when attacking the basket, but not so much away from the rim (he even air balled one of his two three-point attempts).
Smith inexplicably took the most shots (including several in clutch situations down the stretch) on a team that features the NBA's leading scorer. If you're Memphis you'll take that every time, but Mike Conley and several other Grizzlies had off shooting nights of their own, so the Rockets were able to get away with Smith's high volume shooting and come away with the victory.