Grizzlies 103, Rockets 94

Zach Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies only needed a short trip
home to return to their style of play.

Randolph and Marc Gasol scored 21 points apiece and the
Grizzlies snapped a two-game losing streak with a 103-94 victory
over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

For Randolph, who also grabbed 12 rebounds, it was a bit of
redemption after the Grizzlies’ loss in New York on Wednesday when
he was limited to three points, part of why Randolph averaged only
10.5 points and 7.8 rebounds in the previous four games

”Man, it’s an 82-game season,” Randolph said when asked about
the slump. ”Even MJ (Michael Jordan) had bad games. It’s just part
of it.”

Tony Allen scored 16 points, connecting on 8 of 12 shots, and
Mike Conley finished with 15 points and 10 assists for Memphis.
Reserve Jerryd Bayless added 14 points and Tayshaun Prince finished
with 10.

Allen also had a strong defensive effort in limiting Rockets’
star James Harden, who came into the game fifth in the league in
scoring with a 26.2 average, to seven points on 3-of-9
shooting.

”I don’t want to take all the credit,” Allen said.
”Obviously, it’s what I do. I’m a lock-down defender. I got to
credit the bigs. They were helping me in the pick-and-rolls. Mike
Conley and Tay (Prince) were in help when he was trying to drive,
and for the most part, we tried to keep him off the line. . My
teammates were there for me in the right moments, and we were able
to contain him to single digits.”

Chandler Parsons and Donatas Motiejunas led the Rockets with 16
points apiece, despite not playing in the fourth quarter as Houston
coach Kevin McHale used his reserves to try to put more pressure on
the Grizzlies defensively. Carlos Delfino had 15 points and James
Anderson added 10 for Houston, which dropped its second straight
game.

”We made more mistakes defensively than we have been doing,”
McHale said. ”Guys were trying to be aggressive on a couple of
things, and we got really distorted defensively. We made too many
mistakes defensively, especially early.”

The victory came after Memphis had lost two straight on the
road, at Washington and New York, and the team left immediately
after the game for a Saturday night game at Minnesota. The
Grizzlies have won 11 straight at home.

”It’s always good to be able to be back home and win,
especially after we lost a couple of games on the road,” Gasol
said. ”… Offensively, I think we did a good job 70 percent of
the game, 30 percent we didn’t do so good, but we got the win, and
it was good to be home, even for a day.”

Gasol and Randolph led Memphis’ inside dominance with the
Grizzlies holding a 56-46 advantage in the paint and outrebounding
the Rockets, 42-35.

Memphis opened the second half with a 19-10 spurt to take an
80-63 lead, its biggest of the game. Memphis turned up the defense
from the start of the half after Allen got a steal on the Rockets’
opening possession and broke free for a dunk, and the first
double-digit lead of the game.

Gasol had eight points in the quarter as Memphis outscored
Houston 23-16 in taking an 84-69 advantage into the fourth quarter.
Memphis dictated the pace, and its defensive intensity was leading
to points.

”The Grizzlies took entire control of the tempo,” Rockets
guard Jeremy Lin said. ”When they played us earlier in the season,
we had control of the tempo. We took away their first options on
offense. However, they still had open cutters and had open 3-point
shots.”

In the fourth, it was the Rockets’ reserves who were applying
the defensive pressure, leading to an 8-2 rally, fueled by four
Memphis turnovers. That cut Houston’s deficit to single-digits.
Anderson and Delfino both had four points in the push.

But Memphis answered quickly, extending its lead as Randolph
began working inside, scoring six straight points and the Grizzlies
regained the momentum.

Memphis maintained the double-digit advantage until Anderson’s
jumper in the closing seconds provided the final score.

”A nine-point, 10-point lead with a team like Houston is
nothing,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said of playing his
starters until the end. ”They hit three 3s, and they’re back in
the game.

”I wasn’t taking them out until I was sure we had the win. . I
never want to take guys out and lose a game because I took them out
too early. I would rather take them out too late.”

Both teams shot well early. Memphis was at 60 percent after the
first quarter, while the Rockets were at 55 percent, including
connecting on 5 of 8 outside the arc.

Those trends continued through the half as Memphis shot 62
percent to take a 61-53 lead into the break.

The Rockets dropped a bit on field goal percentage, but still
connected on 7 of 16 from long range.

Randolph, putting the slump behind him early, already had 15
points at the half, matched by 15 from Parsons.

Memphis would end the night shooting 51 percent, while Houston
connected on 42 percent.

”The more we play together, and the more we hang our hats on
the defensive end and pound it inside, that’s who we are,” Allen
said. ”That’s how we got the notoriety.”

NOTES: Friday’s game at Memphis was the Rockets’ only road
contest in a 10-game stretch. Houston finished 5-2 in its previous
seven games, all at home. The Rockets play their next two back at
the Toyota Center against the Clippers and the Magic. … The
Rockets have lost five straight in Memphis. … Memphis entered the
game having given up an average of 107 points in its last three
games. … The Grizzlies announced the game as a sellout, the fifth
home game sold out this year. Memphis is 5-0 in sellouts. …
Memphis is 22-1 when scoring 100 points.