Zach Randolph returned, as did Beno Udrih and Tony Allen. Jeff Green got the start amid calls for a shakeup. Dwight Howard did not play.
The Grizz were slow out of the gate, as is becoming the norm, and lost yet another first quarter (this one 31-24). Houston hit 5 of its first 7 threes to build a 12 point lead, but the Grizzlies bench was stellar in the second, especially Nick Calathes. The starters returned for the final 2 minutes and got within 2, but a Josh Smith three with :05 gave Houston a 59-54 halftime lead. (Smith was excellent as the garbage man, finishing with 16 points in 21 minutes.)
The Grizzlies came out of the locker room riding their Clydesdales, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The pair scored the first 17 (!) Memphis points of the quarter, and Courtney Lee's solid defense on Harden helped hold the Rockets to 20 in the period. The game was tied going into the fourth at 79. Memphis opened the quarter on a 10-0 run, but Houston avoided the pin and came screaming back to tie the game at 100 in the final minute.
James Harden, of course, handled Houston's last possession: with 24s remaining and 18 on the shot clock, he drove into the lane and was, frankly, hacked across the arm by Z-Bo. No call was made though, and Zach corralled the loose ball and called time with 5.4s.
The Grizzlies inbounded directly to Marc Gasol - somewhat indirectly, actually, on an errant pass - but Big Spain did the rest.
THE PAIN FROM BIG SPAIN WHEN GASOL WINS THE GAME— netw3rk (@netw3rk) March 5, 2015
WENDIGOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) March 5, 2015
Houston's last chance lob was spiked down, and the Grizzlies escape with a big, big division win at the end of a day dominated by murmurs of discontent. Stay tuned for what I'm sure will be an extra salty View from the Enemy tomorrow.
• Marc Gasol was selfish in the second half - in a good way. Even before his game winning iso, Marc was aggressively looking for his shot. He tied Terrance Jones for a game high 21 points.
• Calathes played eight great minutes in the second: His 4 steals are a franchise record in a quarter. He also craned in a 3, and added 2 rebounds and 2 assists.
• It was Mike Conley, not Nick Calathes, sporting a black eye tonight. The ladies love it.