The Grizzlies travel to Houston to face off against the Houston Rockets after defeating the Orlando Magic 124-96 last night. Home to road back-to-backs are never easy, but it certainly helps when you take care of business in the first game as no Grizzly played more than 30 minutes last night. The Houston Rockets enter the matchup after losing 12 in a row. Despite losing 12 in a row, the Rockets have been scrappy, with a handful of the recent losses being very close losses. It would be important for the Grizzlies to be aggressive early and put the Rockets away before you give the hope in snapping the losing streak.
Steven Adams paced the Grizzlies as they built an early lead against the Rockets, scoring 11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal in the first quarter as the Grizzlies took a 34-27 lead after the first 12 minutes of action. The Grizzlies were able to control the game from the tip despite shooting 0-8 from beyond the arc in the first, and allowing the Rockets to get to the line often where they shot 7-9 in the quarter.
Despite the Rockets going on a small run, the Grizzlies were able to pull away in the second quarter as they built their lead up to double digits throughout most of the quarter. The Grizzlies bench picked up where the starters left off, as the Rockets had no answer for whatever the Grizzlies were doing offensively. The Grizzlies kind of starting to sleep walk once they built a double-digit lead and it allowed the Rockets to momentarily cut the Grizzlies lead into single digits. The offense got sloppy, including 3 straight possessions with a turnover. The Grizzlies were able to go on a mini-run late and led 62-52 at halftime.
It was a well-balanced scoring effort by the Grizzlies, with all 10 players in the scoring column. Steven Adams (15 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists) and Ja Morant (10 points, 4 assists, 2 steals) paced the Grizzlies while Christian Wood dominated for the Rockets finishing the first half with 20 points and 5 rebounds.
It was a disastrous 3rd quarter for the Grizzlies, who let the Rockets hang around just long enough to catch fire and take their first lead of the game late in the period. The Grizzlies really struggled to get into a flow offensively, as quick whistles killed any rhythm to the game. The Rockets were able to execute thanks to some timely 3-point shooting, while the Grizzlies struggles from the 3-point and free throw line continued. For the first time this season, the Grizzlies entered the 4th quarter tied as both teams are knotted up at 92 heading into the 4th.
The Rockets run continued into the 4th, as they controlled the lead throughout a majority of the 4th. The Grizzlies hung around and kept it within a 5-point game until a late Rocket run saw them take a 10-point lead with under 3 minutes remaining. The offense was ugly as Ja Morant attacked the basket hunting for fouls more than hunting for the bucket, and wasn’t getting the calls. The Rockets, starting to taste snapping their 12-game losing streak, went for the kill and finished with a 123-112 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
- The Grizzlies have serious half-court issues. Once again, the Grizzlies really struggled when the game is slowed down and they are forced to execute in the half-court. They shot 5-26 from beyond the arc, and they struggled from the free throw line as well going just 19-27 from the charity stripe. The non-Bane Grizzlies shot 1-17 from beyond the arc.
- Jaren Jackson Jr. is fouling like a mad man. JJJ has gotten back into his fouling habits since the All-Star Break. Tonight marked the 3rd time in 6 games that JJJ has picked up 5 fouls. Jaren has had under 4 fouls in just 2 games since the All-Star Break, with one of those games being last night’s blowout against Orlando.
- BANE BACK. After struggling leading up to and after the All-Star Break, Desmond Bane’s hot streak from the second half in Boston continued in Houston. He was the most consistent offensive threat for Memphis tonight and came up big with multiple big shots but just didn’t get enough help for the Grizzlies to come away with the win. He finished with a team high 28 points, shooting 11-22 from the field and 4-9 from beyond the arc.
The Grizzlies will fly back to Memphis as they prepare to face off against the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night on TNT.