Grizzlies Snatch Victory Down the Stretch
Memphis 86, Houston 81
MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 25 (Ticker) -- Shane Battier's big fourth quarter stopped one losing streak while keeping another going.
Battier scored 12 of his 20 points in the final period as the Memphis Grizzlies averted a three-game losing streak with an 86-81 triumph over the reeling Houston Rockets.
A five-year veteran known for his defense and hustle rather than his offensive skills, Battier reached the 20-point plateau for the third straight game.
The 6-8 forward scored eight points during a 10-2 burst that gave the Grizzlies the lead for good, including a jumper at the 5:37 mark that provided a 70-66 edge. Battier also added seven rebounds, two steals and three blocked shots.
"(Battier) was our flow tonight," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. "He had it going and he would not let us lose tonight. He did everything we asked, from making every shot we asked to blocking shots on the other end."
"Tonight was just one of those games," Battier said. "I didn't do much for a half, but in the second half we ran different sets, and I was in the right place at the right time and made some shots."
Yao Ming, who scored 15 points on just 4-of-13 shooting, connected on a pair of free throws that got Houston within 82-78 with 1:20 left. However, he missed a layup 38 seconds later that could have shaved the deficit to two points.
Damon Stoudamire, who scored 15 points, calmly hit four free throws in the final 23 seconds to seal the win.
Battier picked up the slack for swingman Mike Miller, who suffered a concussion and a laceration above his left eye during a scramble for the ball with 4:37 to go in the first quarter and did not return.
"It was a gruesome game -- a lot of fouls, a lot of turnovers, but you know we have to grit these ones out," Battier said. "You have to win these games against teams in your division, especially when the chips are down. They were missing their best player, so we had to take advantage of that."
Houston took a 50-46 lead on a layup by Jon Barry, capping a 7-0 run midway through the third quarter. Eddie Jones ended the spurt with a pair of free throws and a 3-pointer on his next possession to start an 11-2 run for the Grizzlies, who shot 41 percent (32-of-78).
"We played poorly defensively in those last two games," Jones said. "We didn't rebound well, we didn't do a lot of things well. But we had two days to practice our butts off and we corrected ourselves. It's good to get that win."
The Rockets had six players in double figures but failed to shoot better than 40 percent (24-of-60) for the sixth time this season.
"Every time we're in the locker room, we say the same things - we played hard and we worked hard," Rockets guard David Wesley said. "All that matters is we lost another one."
"It's all about winning," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We got outplayed. We got beat."