An opportunity to handle business with a Dallas Mavericks team waiting for them Saturday night. How would this Grizzlies team handle Houston on Friday night?
The Grizzlies transitioned from a more seasoned New York Knicks team Wednesday night to a young and athletic Houston Rockets team Friday night. Both teams like to get up and down the floor, but the difference would need to be Memphis’s control of that tempo.
Memphis started rather sloppy in the opening minutes, but found some openings in transition which led to 12 consecutive paint points forcing a Rockets timeout with 6:50 remaining in the first quarter. Memphis led Houston 12-8 after trailing early.
Following the 6:50 mark, Houston answered with their own 13-8 run giving them a 21-20 lead, and forcing a Taylor Jenkins timeout. Houston ended the first quarter with a 32-26 lead.
The Grizzlies second quarter could be summed up best as trying to stay on the treadmill. The Rockets jumped out to a 14 point lead on Memphis early in the second quarter. Rookie Jake LaRavia shot the ball well in the second quarter, and showed his athleticism in transition getting an and-one slam.
Memphis was just trying to find some consistency as the young Rockets continued to push their presence and style of play on the Grizzlies. Memphis cut the Houston lead down to six at one point. The Rockets scored 70 points in the first half, and led Memphis 70-62 at halftime.
Memphis came out of the halftime locker rooms on a mission to get this game tied. Coming so close, a few times in the first half, it was time to get this one tied, and potentially take the lead.
The Grizzlies came out on a 10-4 run cutting the Rockets eight point lead down to two, and eventually taking the lead. Houston and Memphis went back and fourth in the third quarter. Ja Morant specifically scored 19 of the Grizzlies 33 points in the third quarter, as Morant had 40 heading into the fourth quarter. Memphis trailed Houston 100-95 heading to the 4th.
The fourth quarter, the Grizzlies defense intensified. Rotations were tighter defensively from Memphis. Offensive possessions had more meaning, as the Grizzlies outscored the Rockets 34-22 in the final frame.
Tyus Jones shot the ball well for Memphis all night, but particularly when the fourth quarter began. Timely buckets from Jones in the fourth kept Memphis with a young Houston squad with Morant on the bench. Upon his arrival in the fourth quarter, Morant orchestrated the Grizzlies offense to a huge victory. Memphis took down the Rockets 129-122.
- Ja Morant - 49 points (17/26 FG, 56 3PT), 8 assists, and 4 rebounds in 31 minutes
- John Konchar - 17 points (7/11 FG, 3/6 3PT) and five rebounds
- Jake LaRavia - 12 points (4/7 FG, 3/4 3PT), and 5 rebounds in 15 minutes
The Memphis Grizzlies will be back in action tomorrow night as they play in their first back-to-back. Their first visit to Dallas to take on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.