The Houston Rockets are looking to use perhaps their most
impressive victory of the season as a springboard to more
consistency – which has proven elusive of late.
Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies are hoping their recent wins
aren’t merely an aberration.
Houston seeks a 10th home win in 12 tries Thursday night against
The Rockets (19-11) put together winning streaks of three and
five games last month but have been much more inconsistent in
December. They’ve alternated wins and losses in their last eight
games, though they were rather impressive in Wednesday’s 111-98
victory over San Antonio. They shot better than 52 percent for the
third straight game and were 12 of 24 from 3-point range.
James Harden scored 28 after missing two games due to an ankle
injury while Dwight Howard finished with 15 points and 20 rebounds.
Each of Houston’s three other starters also scored at least 13
points as the Rockets became just the fourth team to make more than
half its shots against the Spurs.
“I think we can be very good,” said Chandler Parsons, who went 5
of 9 from beyond the arc and scored 21. “It’s obviously a process,
and we’re getting better every single day. But when we defend like
that, rebound well and get out in transition, we’re tough to
Houston raced out to a 27-9 lead and finished with 40 points in
the first quarter, tying its season high for the first 12
“Our guys really came out on fire,” said coach Kevin McHale,
whose team recorded 28 assists compared to 11 turnovers for its
best assist-to-turnover ratio this season. “They were excited to
play. Really moved the ball; attacked.”
The Rockets were able to overcome a poor shooting performance in
their first meeting of the season with Memphis, taking a 93-86 road
victory on Nov. 25 despite a 6-of-24 mark from 3-point range.
Harden, who totaled 61 points in two home matchups against Memphis
last season, missed last month’s meeting with a sore left foot.
The Grizzlies (12-15) have managed to win consecutive games for
the first time in more than a month, though those victories came
against Utah and New York squads with a combined 17-42 record.
Memphis had dropped five straight prior to a 95-87 victory over the
Knicks on Saturday.
“We’re not going to pat ourselves on the back just yet,” Tony
Allen said. “Coming in, playing teams like New York and Utah, I
believe we’re supposed to get those wins. We did a good job of
doing that and now we’ve got a big test against the Houston
Rockets. Those are the ones we need to climb up in the
Memphis is 5-9 since Marc Gasol went down with a sprained left
MCL and there still is no timetable for his return.
Other players have been banged up of late too, with Mike Conley
missing two games last week due to a thigh injury and Allen dealing
with a sore ankle. Tayshaun Prince is day-to-day after sitting out
the last three contests with a sore left knee. James Johnson is
listed as a probable starter for the third straight game.
Conley was just 2 of 14 from the field in the first meeting and
is shooting 36.1 percent over his last six contests versus
The Rockets, who are 6-1 on the second night of back-to-backs,
had won 13 in a row at home against the Grizzlies prior to an 82-78
loss on April 12.