Chandler Parsons scored 24 points off the bench to help guide the Memphis Grizzlies to their second win over the Houston Rockets and a 5-1 start to the season.
Parsons’ outburst, his most since joining the Grizzlies, was part of a 67-point performance from the Grizzlies’ reserves, five points shy of the single-game franchise record. Parsons, who logged 18:38 from the second unit, posted the highest score ever by a Grizzlies player who played fewer than 20 minutes in a game.
Memphis also got a season-high 15 points from Mario Chalmers and 14 points and seven rebounds from Tyreke Evans. The pair recorded plus-minus numbers of +28 and +23, respectively. Dillon Brooks also posted a +23 while helping limit James Harden to 20 points on 6-of-18 shooting.
Ryan Anderson led Houston with 22 points, while Clint Capela (12 points, 12 rebounds) double-doubled. Trevor Ariza added 10 points for the Rockets, who were without Eric Gordon, who missed the game due to illness.
The first quarter was a battle between teams, as the Grizzlies and Rockets showcased their offensive talents from the tip. The Rockets stretched their lead to 10 and led 23-13 with 4:33 remaining in the quarter when Parsons checked in and connected on his first four shot attempts, as the Grizzlies went on a 15-4 run to take a 28-27 lead with 1:09 left in the period.
The second quarter began with a three-pointer from Anderson, his fourth of an attempted six at that point, and the Rockets regained the lead by two. Later in the half, Chalmers would ignite a Grizzlies run with a three-pointer followed by back-to-back dunks from Jarell Martin and a layup by Mike Conley as the Grizzlies took an eight-point lead with time winding down in the half. The Grizzlies led six at the half, with 28 of their 54 points coming from their bench.
The Rockets once again battled back to start the second half, tying scores at 55 early after a three pointer from Ariza and put-back from Capela. But Parsons soon came off the bench and picked up right where he left off, draining a three in his first possession of the half. Parsons went 5-for-5 in the third, including 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, for 14 points in the period. The Grizzlies forced eight turnovers and outscored the Rockets 16-5 on fast break points in the frame and led nine at the start of the final quarter.
The Grizzlies polished off the win in the fourth quarter, proving bench play to be their lethal weapon yet again as Evans and Chalmers scored seven apiece. It was the first time all season none of the Grizzlies starters ended the night with double-digit scoring.
Next Home Game
The Grizzlies meet the Charlotte Hornets for the first time this season as they visit FedExForum Monday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. Tune in to FOX Sports Southeast presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners or listen on 92.9 FM ESPN for all the action.
Key Stats of the Night
- The Grizzlies scored a season-high 67 points off the bench compared to Houston’s 25. The Memphis bench is now outscoring their opponents 246-126 (41.0-21.0). The bench scoring total came just five points shy of the franchise record of 72, which has been recorded twice and most recently on Jan. 24, 2007 at Utah.
- Chandler Parsons (24 points, 9-11 FG, 6-8 3P) recorded the highest score in franchise history by any player who logged under 20 minutes of playing time.
Key Runs of the Night
- The Grizzlies trailed 23-13 when Chandler Parsons checked in with 4:33 remaining in the first quarter. Parsons would connect on his first four shot attempts as the Grizzlies went on a 15-4 run to take a 28-27 lead with 1:09 left in the period.
- With Memphis leading 83-75 with 10:27 remaining, a Tyreke Evans three-pointer sparked a 13-2 run over the next 4:17 to give the Grizzlies a 19-point lead.
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On Chandler Parsons’ performance
I’m happy for him. He’s gone through a really difficult time. Obviously just trying to get his way back to the court. This was his moment tonight. I think he deserved it, from putting in a lot of hours to make sure that he can play for us and help us win. That’s all I care about. I told him, I said ‘I don’t know where you’re going to end up from a health standpoint by the end of the year, but every night you’re on the court for us just help us win. Don’t worry about what fans think about you or what other people are saying about you. You just think about your team. Get into your team and help us win.’ He’s really embraced that, and he’s been giving us great minutes.
On Mario Chalmers and Tyreke Evans
A buddy of mine, Coach O [Octavio De La Grana], back in Miami used to have a saying where he’d say, ‘Those kind of guys don’t get sick at sea.’ This isn’t their first time out there doing this. They both are highly confident with the way they’ve been going at guys, but I think they make a really dynamic tandem off the bench for us. Two guys that can break you down on the dribble, that can make shots, that can defend. It’s actually interesting watching their relationship develop and how they’re starting to become friends. Hopefully we can keep building that connection and they can keep becoming a really reliable bench.
On Mike Conley
That’s how it goes sometimes. People are really locked in on him right now. I know the first thing he’s going to tell you is it’s no excuses. Two of these games he closed for us. In Houston he had the big fourth quarter. The other night against Dallas he had like three or four straight possessions that he made baskets or got fouled. At the end of the day, my message to our team is just help us win. Every night it can be somebody different. In six games you’ve seen that, somebody different every night scoring for us. If all we’re thinking about is contributing and helping the team win, some nights he’ll score big and some nights he won’t. At least our defense is consistent and our ball movement is consistent.
On the starting lineup and continuity of the bench
That’s why I haven’t even touched those guys. Why have a bunch of moving parts when I know the starting lineup is already in flux with moving parts? So why not build my bench and let them stay together and build chemistry and consistency? That’s the thought process behind my starting lineup and my second unit. Why not have some part of my rotation at least be stable that I can build for an 82-game season?
On Chandler Parsons
I think he took my water. I think we changed bottled waters today. I’m really happy for him. I am really happy that the fans got behind him. I’m happy that he got to see the ball go in a few times in a row. The happiest thing for me was that he helped us win. So it was all around a happy night.
- Parsons’ 24 points are more than he scored through his first four games this season (22). He scored all 24 through the first three quarters, including 14 in the third quarter alone, the most in a single quarter by any Grizzlies player this season.
- Tonight marked Parsons’ highest scoring total since scoring 21 on March 14, 2016 at Charlotte as a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
- Mario Chalmers scored a season-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting and was a +28 in 25:14 off the bench.
- Tyreke Evans (14 points, seven rebounds, four assists) has scored in double figures off the bench in five of six games this season.
- Ivan Rabb made his NBA debut, logging one minute.
- The Grizzlies are now 9-6 against the Warriors, Rockets and Spurs since the start of last season, the best record in the NBA against those teams during that span.
- Memphis won despite not having a single starter in double digit scoring.
- The Grizzlies outscored the Rockets 18-5 in fast break points.