Grizzlies Roll Rockets, Win Fifth Straight
Memphis 90, Houston 75
HOUSTON, Dec. 3 (Ticker) -- Damon Stoudamire sparked another early ambush by the Memphis Grizzlies.
Stoudamire scored 12 of his 24 points in a huge first quarter and the Grizzlies again displayed dominant defense in their fifth straight win, a 90-75 rout of the Houston Rockets.
Stoudamire sank six 3-pointers and Bobby Jackson came off the bench to drain five as Memphis made a franchise-record 15 shots from beyond the arc.
In the first quarter Saturday, Memphis limited Houston to 5-of-17 shooting while countering with its customary offensive explosion. The Grizzlies made 13-of-19 shots - including a stunning 6-of-6 3-pointers - to open a 34-13 bulge.
"We try to really jump on guys early," Jackson said. "We have played great defense early and that's what we're trying to do - get off to a great start. We know what we have to do. But you can't just play 12 minutes. We've played 48 minutes the last five games."
Leading the way was Stoudamire, who also handed out eight assists in a superb floor game. He drained both of his 3-pointers and added a pair of hoops in a blistering 18-2 run over the last 4 1/2 minutes of the period.
"All you have to do is be ready to shoot," Stoudamire said. "Guys are getting free. We have four guys on the perimeter that you have to run at to defend and it really stretches the floor."
Memphis widened the advantage to 45-20 late in the second quarter before settling for a 47-26 halftime lead. In the second half, the Grizzlies led by at least 12 points and by as many as 25.
"Coming out in the first half, you don't know what to expect," Grizzlies coach Mike Fratello said. "We have great respect for Houston and they have had a difficult schedule with a lot of injuries. We had a strong, concerted effort. We made shots and were particularly good from behind the 3-point line."
Jackson scored 18 points, Pau Gasol added 15 and Shane Battier 14 for the Grizzlies, who forced a season-high 21 turnovers by the Rockets. The 6-8 Battier climbed the ladder to block a dunk by 7-5 Yao Ming late in the second quarter.
The Grizzlies began their current streak with an 86-81 home win over Houston on November 25. In that game, Rockets superstar swingman Tracy McGrady was sidelined with a back strain.
In this one, Memphis made McGrady seem as if he wasn't on the court. He made just 1-of-9 shots in the first half and finished with 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting in his second game back from the injury.
"We just didn't show up tonight," McGrady said. "In the course of an 82-game season, you have games like this, but we can't afford to come out and play like that. We just can't allow ourselves to give that kind of effort. To play like that, on your home court, in front of your fans is real disappointing."
Yao scored 29 points for the Rockets (4-12), who have lost eight of their last nine games. Houston was stuck in the 70s for the fourth time this season.
"We can get along well in the locker room, but we have no chemistry (on the court) because we have no accountability or feeling of responsibility to one another to give maximum mental and physical energy for the cause," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said.
A basket by Yao had the Rockets within 16-11 with 4:28 left in the first quarter before the Grizzlies took control.
Gasol made a jumper, Jackson sank a 3-pointer and Stoudamire drilled a pair from the arc for a 27-11 lead. Jackson added another 3-pointer before the end of the period.