Postgame Cleanup: Grizzlies slip at home to Rockets, 101-89

The Memphis Grizzlies fell to the Houston Rockets 101-89 on Wednesday night at FedExForum.

Grizzlies forward James Ennis III had yet another explosive start, scoring seven of the team’s first 11 points, the first being a slam-dunk delivered by a fast break pass from Mike Conley. The Grizzlies dialed in defensively, forcing seven steals and 15 turnovers in the half. While Houston’s largest lead of the half was one point, they would put up a fight from the free throw line, making 12 of 15 and trailing the Grizzlies by three (47-44) at the half.

The Rockets took over following halftime, scoring seven unanswered points to begin the quarter that began from a pair of free throws from Clint Capela, followed by a reverse layup from Ryan Anderson and a three-pointer from Trevor Ariza. Houston held a 73-70 lead with 9:45 remaining in the game before going on a 9-0 run over the next 2:15 to extend the lead to 12, the largest of the game at that point.

Although the Grizzlies held the Rockets to 30 percent from the three-point line, 14 percent below their preseason average, they were unable to regain a lead for the remainder of the contest and would be outscored 57-42 in the second half en route to the Rockets win.

Andrew Harrison led the way for Memphis with 17 points, including shooting 8-of- 10 from the free throw line and a team-high five steals.

Three of Houston’s starting five led the way in scoring. James Harden led the way with 18 points, 14 of which from the free-throw line. Trevor Ariza scored 16, followed by 15 from Clint Capela. Eric Gordon added 12, while Luc Mbah a Moute chipped in with 10. The Rockets shot a preseason best 89 percent from the free-throw line.

Next Game

The Grizzlies will take on the New Orleans Pelicans Friday, October 13 at FedExForum in their preseason finale. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tune in to FOX Sports Southeast or listen on 92.9 FM ESPN for all the action.

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Key Stat of the Night

  • The Rockets outscored the Grizzlies 57-42 in the second half.

Key Run of the Night

  • Houston had a 73-70 lead with 9:45 remaining in the game before going on a 9-0 run over the next 2:15 to extend the lead to 12, its largest of the game to that point.

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Team Quotes

On the growth and challenges of the team
I just see small areas of growth all over. We’re still not connecting on certain plays where we’re right there. We miscommunicated some switches here and there. I thought we took a step back with guarding the three-point line in the second half, just no awareness on threes that we were giving up. I thought we took a step back in ball movement. The ball just stopped moving and to their credit, they did a great job of taking us out of our stuff, but we helped them by trying to play one-on-one and holding the ball.

On playing against an up-tempo team like Houston
Yes, I love it. I don’t like that we play them three times in the first month in the regular season but in the preseason it’s great for you. Like I said about Atlanta as well, those teams present different challenges to your group that will really test you and see where you are. So I’m glad we played them. I had no problem with our pace as much as it was the mental mistakes that we made and the ball stopping.

On how the guys are handling their responsibilities
Up and down because you really have to take pride in taking quality shots. You also have to take pride and take care of the ball. That is the only way that you can play a game that involves all five guys is that everybody is reliable to making the possession very important. Right now we’re learning that. Sometimes you see the ball flying all over the gym and then there’s other times you see some beautiful basketball where the ball is moving and we’re getting guys over the top. Good things are happening for us when we’re playing that way. So I already see, in the first four preseason games, we’ve gotten more stuff over the top on fast breaks than we did in probably a quarter of the season last year, if not more. That part I am happy with and we’ll just keep working at it and getting better.

On defending the Rockets
I’m used to it. Last year I was guarding {James} Harden and stuff like that. I look at it as just like another game. I’m just going to make it tough on them. They’re great players so it’s not just completely stopping them, we’ve just got to make it tough on them. They know I’m going to give it my all.

On showcasing abilities
I’m just playing a game. You can’t really think about it too much. You can’t go back to last year, or what you did last year, or what you think you accomplished last year. I guess this is just a new season. Everyone has to prove something every game. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not thinking about it every play or I’ve got to do this, or I’ve got to do that. I just play as hard as I can.

On making strides towards the start of the season
I do think so. We played a good team tonight. If you’ve watched what they’ve been doing in the preseason, they’ve been putting up a lot of numbers and beating a lot of good teams. Before the starters went out of this game, it was a tight game. It was a three-point game so we felt like we were playing some good basketball, good enough basketball to compete against a team like Houston. Yeah, I do think we are making some strides.

Player Notes

  • Andrew Harrison led the Grizzlies in scoring with 17 points to go with six rebounds and a game-high five steals. Harrison now leads the Grizzlies in scoring for the preseason (10.8 ppg).
  • Mario Chalmers (12 points, 2-4 3P) scored in double digits for the second time this preseason.
  • The Grizzlies owned a 44-32 advantage in points in the paint.
  • The Grizzlies held the Rockets to 20.7 points below their scoring average for the preseason (121.7).
  • Memphis assisted on all 11 of their made field goals in the first quarter.

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