The Memphis Grizzlies remain unbeaten in regular season play as they beat the put previously unbeaten Houston Rockets 98-90 in their first road contest of the regular season on Monday night at the Toyota Center in Houston.
After a stellar performance in their previous win against the Golden State Warriors, Marc Gasol said hello to Houston with a dunk in the first possession of the contest. Gasol had eight of the Grizzlies first 14 points, 10 coming in the first 10 minutes of play. Houston controlled the lead for majority of the first quarter, but never led by more than six.
With the Grizzlies trailing two to start the second quarter, the Rockets went on a 15-4 scoring run, extending their lead to double digits as they led by 11 with 6:38 remaining in the half. The Grizzlies looked to attack inside, scoring 30 of their 47 first half points in the lane. Back-to-back dunks by Martin and Ennis would cut the Rockets lead to five, but Harden answered with a three pointer with just under a minute left in the half. The Grizzlies answered with a quick jumper, but a layup by Harden at the buzzer left the Grizzlies trailing by six at halftime.
Capela, Gordon, and Harden of the Rockets had scored in double-digits by halftime. Marc Gasol was the only Grizzlies’ player in double digits in the first half with 18 points, five of which were dunks.
In the third quarter, the Grizzlies defense led to productive offense, as they scored 12 points off turnovers. They also went on a run of their own, scoring eight unanswered points and trailed the Rockets six going into the final quarter.
In the final quarter, Mike Conley came alive, scoring 12 of his 17 points including two three-pointers and making four of four from the free-throw line. The Grizzlies scored seven-straight points, and after a three-pointer by Tyreke Evans, they trailed three with 4:24 left in the game. Mike Conley’s first of two three-pointers he had in the quarter tied the game at 88, and an and-one by Ennis gave the Grizzlies the lead with just under three minutes remaining. The Grizzlies went on a 20-2 scoring run and came out with a win in the battle of unbeatens.
Gasol led the way for the Grizzlies with another double double, scoring 26 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Eric Gordon of the Rockets led all scorers with 27 points. James Harden scored 22. The Rockets’ 90 points was the fewest under Head Coach Mike D’Antoni and since the team scored 85 against the Dallas Mavericks on April 6, 2016.
The Grizzlies will take on the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday, October 25 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas at 7:30 p.m. Tune in to FOX Sports Southeast or listen on WMFS for all the action.
Next Home Game
The Grizzlies will return home to host the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, October 26.
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Key Runs of the Night
- The Grizzlies outscored the Rockets 28-14 in the fourth quarter, closing on a 20-2 run in the final 6:09 on the road.
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On whether this was an old fashion grind it out win
Yeah, it’s been a good sign when we struggle to score that our defense can step up and really dig in, and get the stops we need to give our offense a chance to catch up.
On whether their perimeter defense was going to get them what they needed down the stretch
Oh I was hoping so. I was just looking for some kind of answers, we were down 10 there. It was really the shake of the dice and trying to throw a line up out there that could create some offense for us, and at the same time guard the 3-point line. Thank goodness we caught them, without a Chris Paul on the court, that’s always nice too.
On Mike Conley showing up big when they needed him
Yeah, sometimes you got to get a guy to the finish line. And then once you get him there he can do the rest, because he really struggled and that’s a credit to their defense. They put a lot of length on him, they put a lot of different guys, (Luc Mbah a) Moute, Trevor (Ariza). I mean those guys are long, athletic, defensive minded guys, and so they wore on him. We just kept saying, let’s get Mike (Conley) to the finish line, and he came through for us.
On the team’s hustle
We’re a team that’s built like we say all the time, we’re a team that grinds. We’re a team that’s going to try to win all 50-50 balls and out muscle you and out hustle you and try to give ourselves the best chance to win. Thankfully, we were able to get some stops there at the end, and come up with some buckets and sneak away with one.
On the win
This is a big win for us. It was our first road game and we protected at home, and on the road we have to do the same. Tonight it was a good team effort win, and we have to continue with our next game at Dallas. We have to do the same thing, defend and run.
On the key to the run
Defense. I believe defensively we made them take one more step defensively, and we went up a notch. And we competed better on the ball, and more into the ball. We were a little more proactive defensively, and that way everybody can see from behind what might happen on the ball. We were a little more physical too and that helped a lot.
- Mike Conley scored 12 of his 17 points including two three-pointers and making four of four from the free-throw line in the 4th quarter.
- James Ennis III tallied 14 points and added 11 rebounds.
- Marc Gasol scored a team high 26 points on eight of his 15 shots and going 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
- The Grizzlies improve to 3-0 for the second time in franchise history (2014-15)