James Harden made shots from all over the floor and successfully drew early fouls from the Grizzlies. Offensive bursts from Ja Morant and Jonas Valanciunas ties the game in the first quarter at 22-22 with 4:20 left.
Brandon Clarke brought offensive energy at the end of the quarter to keep up with the Rockets within 5-points despite Harden’s 17-point effort. The Rockets also shot 11 free throws compared to the Grizzlies 2.
The second quarter started with a jump ball and a quick foul committed by Jaren. From there, it was nearly all Grizzlies, Jaren Jackson Jr. got hot from behind the arc. Dillon Brooks made crucial shots when Grizzlies needed it the most, which turned out to be a theme of the game.
The two marquee plays in the first half included flashy assists from Ja Morant to Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke respectively.
It was Harden‘s trips to the free throw line all but kept the Grizzlies from running away with the lead. “Let’s go, Grizzlies!” was chanted from the crowd. The half ends with the Grizzlies ahead by 6.
The Grizzlies’ offense ostensibly slowed down in the third, being outscored by the Rockets 22-18. Harden continued to surge on offense for the Rockets as the Grizzlies weaved in points where they could. The well dried up from three, and the Grizzlies committed fouls and turnovers. Harden ended the third quarter with 38-points, 7 of which were from the free-throw line and 15 from three.
To start the fourth quarter, Austin Rivers scored picking up where Harden left off and stole the lead from the Grizzlies with 9:13 left in the game. With the Grizzlies ahead by 3 at the 6:42 mark of game, Solomon Hill committed a foul and earned a technical.
Coming out of that adversity, the Grizzlies hit back-to-back triples from Dillon Brooks and Ja Morant to extend the lead to 8. Dillon Brooks nailed a three-pointer — his sixth of the game — to extend the lead to 11 with 1:20 in the game. Jaren Jackson fouled out with 40-seconds left to a standing ovation with 15 points and 3 steals.
The Grizzlies ultimately defeated the Rockets 121-110. Memphis, now 19-22, will be back in action Friday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers as their home stand continues.