Houston was 4-6 from beyond the arc in the first six minutes, negating Marc Gasol’s hot start. Tony Allen was doing well early as well, going 3-3 from the floor including a rare made three, but Clint Capela’s dominance inside also helped cancel out that production. The Rockets were 5-10 from three and had a 15-8 rebounding advantage, but only led by three after one quarter.
Mike Conley and Vince Carter kept Memphis in the game in the second quarter hitting key shots as Houston stayed hot from range. Lou Williams checked in and was instant offense, surely making lots of Grizzlies fans sad as they wondered what might have been since he was a player many in Memphis longed for at the trade deadline. The Rockets bench combined to shoot 9-13 from the floor, but the Grizzlies cut in to Houston’s rebounding advantage as the Rockets took a 55-51 lead in to halftime.
The second half did not start well for Memphis. Chandler Parsons left the game after reaching his 20-minute quota with Memphis down seven, but Houston’s lead got as high as 15 as they shot a scorching 55% from beyond the arc the first eight minutes of the third quarter. That hot streak carried through the period, especially for James Harden who had 20 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds in the third alone. Houston led by 15, 93-78, heading in to the fourth.
The problems only got worse for Memphis as the game finished up in the final stanza. Their defense was all over the place, their offensive possessions were sloppy, and Houston took full advantage of the Grizzlies issues on both ends of the floor. Credit the Rockets- they were the superior team tonight, especially in the 2nd half. Outside of a 20 point, 10 rebound performance from JaMychal Green and a 23 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists game from Mike Conley, there was not much positive for Memphis in this game.
The Grizzlies will look to end their current losing ways Monday as they return home to Memphis to take on the Brooklyn Nets.