Notebook: Grizzlies 82, Rockets 78



Posted Apr 13, 2013 12:10 AM

Matt Miller, for NBA.com

THE FACTS: For the first time in 14 visits to Houston, the Memphis Grizzlies will leave town with a good reason to feel satisfied. Memphis snapped a 13-game losing streak at Toyota Center with an 82-78 win over the Houston Rockets on Friday.

Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks, while Zach Randolph added 15 points and eight boards. Jerryd Bayless finished with 13 points and four rebounds off the bench for Memphis (54-25), which has won seven of its last eight games overall after earning its first victory in Houston since April 16, 2005. The Grizzlies' triumph, paired with the Denver Nuggets' loss in Dallas on Friday, moved Memphis into a tie with the Nuggets for third place in the Western Conference with three games remaining in the regular season for each team. Denver holds the head-to-head tiebreaker.

James Harden scored a game-high 30 points to pace the Rockets, but he missed 17 of his 24 field-goal attempts and committed eight turnovers. Jeremy Lin poured in 17 points and dished out five assists for Houston (43-35), which had won 14 of its previous 17 at home.

QUOTABLE: "All the guys [on our team] are just on the same page. When you've got five guys out there with the same goal, fighting hard and playing together, this is the outcome -- you get the win."
-- Grizzlies guard Tony Allen.

THE STAT: Houston, which allowed 20 points off 20 turnovers Friday, has given up an average of 21.2 points off an average of 18.0 turnovers over its last five games.

TURNING POINT: The Rockets were unable to hit their stride on offense, so they turned to defense to rally from a 19-point deficit. Houston limited Memphis to only four points during an eight-minute stretch, as it went on a 15-4 run to tie the game at 64 with 9:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. The teams traded blows until the final minute, when Gasol blocked a driving Harden to preserve the Grizzlies' 79-78 lead. Harden had an excellent opportunity to extend the game to overtime -- with Memphis up 80-78 in the closing seconds -- but he was unable to knock down an open mid-range jump shot.

QUOTABLE II: "We had our chances. We just didn't do a good enough job of putting the ball in the hole. We had some turnovers that hurt us. It wasn't a great game, but our guys showed a lot of fight."
-- Houston coach Kevin McHale.

HOT: Gasol impacted the game more than any player on the court, stuffing the stat sheet with 15 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals. The 7-foot-1 center has kept the rim well-protected over the last four games, blocking an average of 3.3 shots.

NOT: The Rockets were unable to increase the tempo in the opening half, when the Grizzlies limited them to only four fast-break points and forced 10 turnovers. Houston's 29.7 percent (11-for-37) shooting effort over the first 24 minutes also put Memphis in prime position to silence the Rockets' run-and-gun attack.

GOOD MOVE: Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins effectively utilized large and small lineups throughout Memphis' season series with the Rockets, and it has certainly produced positive results. For the second time this season, the Grizzlies held Houston to its season low in field-goal percentage (31.1 percent) while becoming only the fourth club to limit the Rockets to less than 80 points.

QUOTABLE III: "When the opponents can score ... we have to change our lineups a lot. Like tonight, I had to play only one big. We tried to play two some, but they were taking advantage of us, so I went to one and it shored up what we were doing. I even played four guards at one time. ... We're going to have to match up and play that way [in the playoffs]. If we can't score with our bigs, then we're going to have to score with our smalls."
-- Memphis coach Lionel Hollins.

BAD MOVE: Houston would not be headed to the playoffs without Harden's fearless play, but he has fallen victim to reckless decision-making at times during his last two outings. After committing a season-high nine turnovers in Tuesday's win over Phoenix, the NBA's fifth-leading scorer gave the ball away eight times Friday.

NOTABLE: The Rockets played without starting small forward Chandler Parsons (strained right calf) for the fourth game in a row, but reserve wing Carlos Delfino returned to the lineup after sitting out the last four games with flu-like symptoms. ... Memphis' Darrell Arthur (sore back) and Bayless (sore right knee) were available again after missing the last two games ... The Grizzlies, which took the season series from Houston for the first time since 2005-06, improved to 6-30 all-time when playing the Rockets in Houston. ... Memphis is a franchise-record 29 games above .500. ... The Grizzlies improved to 24-9 this season with Tayshaun Prince in their starting five. ... The Rockets, who had averaged 54.4 points in the paint over their first five games in April, scored only 22 points in the paint Friday. ... Houston fell to 7-18 this season when it scores less than 100 points. ... Rookie Terrence Jones matched his career high with 12 rebounds.

UP NEXT: For the Grizzlies, Saturday vs. L.A. Clippers, Monday @ Dallas, Wednesday vs. Utah. For the Rockets, Sunday vs. Sacramento, Monday @ Phoenix, Wednesday @ L.A. Lakers.