Ja Morant 23 points vs. Rockets 11.4.19
MEMvHOU: playlist 11.4.19
Postgame Report: Grizzlies struggle from three-point range, fall to Rockets 107-100
The Memphis Grizzlies fell to the Houston Rockets 107-100 inside of FedExForum on Saturday night behind 44 points from James Harden. The Grizzlies held a lead deep into the third quarter but they were unable to overcome a poor shooting night from behind the arc.
Memphis and Houston battled back-and-fourth for four quarters but the Grizzlies’ struggles from long distance would prove too much to overcome down the stretch. The Rockets held the Grizzlies to 3-of-25 from three-point range on the night while they connected on 17 of their 50 three-pointers. Memphis connected on three of their eight three-point attempts in the first quarter but they would finish the game missing their last 17 three-point attempts.
The Grizzlies held a 68-64 lead with 7:33 remaining in the third quarter following a back-door layup from Ja Morant on an assist from Jonas Valanciunas. The Rockets responded with a 17-2 run to take a commanding 81-70 lead near the end of the third period. The Grizzlies outscored the Rockets in the fourth quarter but failed to complete the comeback as the Rockets improved to 4-3 on the season.
Memphis’ defense was able to keep them in the game as the held the NBA’s top ranked offense (123.1 ppg) to just 107 points on the night, while limiting them to 37.6 percent shooting on the night. The Grizz also controlled the paint as they nearly doubled-up the Rockets in paint points, outscoring them 66-36. Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 23 points, six assists and five rebounds on the night, while shooting 10-of-16 from the floor. Morant’s 117 points this season is good for the most points through six games from any player in franchise history. Dillon Brooks had a career night on the glass from the Grizzlies as he finished with a career-high nine rebounds to go with his 17 points and one assist. Bruno Caboclo pitched in a season-high 11 points off the bench as the Grizzlies fell to 1-5 on the season.
James Harden collected a double-double with his game-high 44 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Harden is now averaging 43.0 points per game in Rockets victories this season and 28.0 points in losses. Clint Capela added a double-double as well as he finished the night with 10 points, 13 rebounds and two assists on the night.
The Grizzlies will return to their home court on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. CT as they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves inside of FedExForum. Fans can watch the game on FOX Sports Southeast or listen on 92.9 FM ESPN.
On tonight’s game:Overall, much better effort by our guys. Tough third quarter in a sense for both teams, but I really liked how our guys competed in the second half. Down two, keeping the game close as the [Houston] Rockets went on runs. I think we found just another level of activity defensively. It’s obviously hard when you’re not making shots, but the fact that our guys stuck to it and held this team to 107 points, one of the highest scoring teams in the league, I’m proud of them. Compared to the last couple of games, I think this was the most together. We tried to get to multiple actions offensively. Defensively, I thought our activity was great for the majority of the team. Obviously, [James] Harden had a heck of a game, but to hold this team to 107 is a credit to our guys. I think we took some steps in a positive direction tonight despite the loss.
On what explanation he got from the refs for the Jae Crowder play:I’m not going to get into that. Obviously, emotional moment and all that stuff. I’ll leave that between me and the refs.
On Bruno Caboclo’s performance:Great activity. Obviously, he hasn’t played a lot of minutes during the regular season, so throwing him in there, I thought defensively he was great—blocking shots at the rim, going up and getting some rebounds. That’s where he can make a huge difference for us is defensively. Offensively, he was kind of working his way into the offense. Like a lot of our guys, he was just trying to get into that second action. I thought he got better as the game went on. Credit to the [Houston] Rockets, they were changing up coverages throughout the game, so much randomness out there. Very positive takeaways from Bruno [Caboclo]—staying ready, coming out and giving us great effort, great activity. This is just something to continue to build on as his role gets defined over the course of the season.
On if he thinks the technical fouls are a sign of the team’s competitiveness:We’ll go back and watch the film. Obviously, it’s an emotional game. We’ve got to be smart, it’s a seven point game. Those five free throws, I think they made four of the five, it comes down to a two to three possession game. We’ll go back. We’ve got to continue to compete and not lose our fire, but always know that we can’t let it be a detriment to the team.
On the team’s three-point shooting:I’m going to throw the discouraging word out the window and not let that sink into our brains. We’re only going to go up from here. We look at the guys’ numbers over their careers and have guys that have shot over 30%. We just have to shoot more—that’s step one—and continue to work on it in our individual vitamins and we’ll trend upwards. I know it’s a low number right now, but we just keep working out, working out, working out and just exude confidence and that number is going to go up.
On Ja Morant’s aggressiveness:Luckily, it’s a credit to him, as we’ve talked about over the last couple of weeks, him trying to figure out how defenses are guarding him, how he can attack, how he’s going to play make. Luckily, he’s not doing that every possession after possession after possession. I felt like I was right behind him. He had a great opportunity to go try to make a play. It was a momentum play for us, it didn’t work out. Tough landing. Obviously, we want to be cognizant of that and want him to protect himself, but luckily, it’s not a recurring theme over and over and over again. Because his attack mentality is one of his best attributes, so he’s navigating and attacking appropriately in my opinion.
On Brandon Clarke playing 20 minutes:I think we’re just being cautious. Anytime you’re dealing with a back injury, you don’t want him [Brandon Clarke] to spike up any more, especially when you’re in the starting lineup. He could’ve played close to 30 minutes. With our team right now, this is going to be the densest part of our season up to this point. We’ve got so many games, we’ve got back-to-backs coming up, a lot of road travel, so we’ve kind of had him in the low 20-minute range these last couple of games after he experienced some back soreness and that will go up as we make sure we’ve got a great, clean bill of health for him.
On the Grizzlies’ rivalry with Houston:I mean, it’s a tough Western Conference, period. A lot of great teams. We just try to do whatever we can to come out with a win. That’s about it right there. [Houston] is a tough team. They came out with a win tonight.
On how he feels physically after a hard fall to the floor and his mentality when attacking the rim:I mean, I’m going to go finish. The fall kind of speaks for itself. The ball kept playing. Now I just got to be careful, take care of my body. It’s my game to just go finish, be aggressive.
On whether he likes the way he’s playing right now overall:I’m loving it. I’ve been in love with my game since I started playing basketball. Through the years, just kept learning, trying to get better, each and every day. Feel like there’s always room for improvement. Study film tonight, see where I can get better. Come out next game, just try to be better at that.
On whether he expected to be scoring this well early in his career:That’s my teammates. They just put me in the right positions, whether they were setting a screen, being able to knock down shots, making their man just focus in on them, it opens up driving lanes for me. Most of that credit goes to them.
On playing without Jaren Jackson Jr. tonight:I feel like we’re a great team. Like I said before, we got a lot of pieces. I feel like we can fill in a lot of people. No matter what lineup we have, I feel like we’re a very talented team. Everybody just plays hard. A special talent missing, obviously, but we can’t control any of that. I just want him to get healthy and get back on the floor with us.
On whether it’s cool to face a player like James Harden:Obviously, you see him on the court at the beginning of the game. But once the ball goes in the air, all that goes out the window for me. My focus is just handling business at that moment.
On whether he can take satisfaction in the Grizzlies playing the Rockets close without Jaren Jackson Jr.:We’re a great team. Every night, we’re going to go out, no matter who’s the opponent, and just give our all and do whatever we can to try to win. Nobody likes losing, but tonight I felt like we played as a team and competed well.
- Ja Morant led the Grizzlies with 23 points, six assists and five rebounds. Morant finished the night 10-of-16 from floor, including 1-of-2 from three-point range.
- Morant became the first rookie in franchise history to record at least 20 points, five rebounds and five assists in a game while playing 30 minutes or fewer. Luka Doncic and Trae Young were the only rookies to accomplish this last season.
- Morant is also the first Grizzlies rookie in the Memphis era (2001-02 to present) to record back-to-back games with at least 20 points and five assists. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1996-97) and Mike Bibby (1998-99) each had two-game streaks while the franchise was located in Vancouver.
- Morant has scored more points (117) in his first six career games than any rookie in franchise history.
- Jonas Valanciunas finished the night with 10 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes. This marks Valanciunas’ fourth double-double in the last five games.
- Dillon Brooks added 17 points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds in 32 minutes.
- Brandon Clarke made his first career start, registering three points, six rebounds and a career-high four blocks in 20 minutes.
- Bruno Caboclo scored a season-high 11 points while collecting five rebounds and one assist in 24 minutes off the bench.
Fans who want to support the Memphis Grizzlies and purchase 2019-20 Season Tickets can do so by calling (901) 888-HOOP or going online to grizzlies.com. Single Game Tickets are available for purchase at the FedExForum Box Office, ticketmaster.com, online at grizzlies.com or by calling 1-800-4NBA-TIX.