The Memphis Grizzlies got double-doubles from Zach Randolph and Mike Conley as the West's No. 5 seed took a wire-to-wire victory over the listless Houston Rockets on Friday.
Randolph piled up 21 points and 12 rebounds, pulling himself out of a recent slump with an assist from the Rockets' curiously small lineups.
Kevin McHale may have known that his club didn't have the bulk to match up with the Grizzlies' massive front line, so he went small. That tactic proved ineffective in its own right, though, as Memphis had a consistent advantage on the glass and managed to get plenty of open looks inside.
Marc Gasol dominated the game on both ends, scoring 21 points of his own and facilitating a nice high-low game with Randolph. His size allowed him to flip passes over the top of Houston's "big men" with ease.
Curiously, when the Rockets' bench narrowed Memphis' advantage to a manageable nine points with plenty of time left in the fourth quarter, McHale left his starters on the sidelines. James Harden didn't play a minute of the final period, perhaps as punishment for his 3-of-9 shooting night.
Houston's starters might not have been able to steal the game, but there was a window in which McHale could have given it a shot.
In defeat, Houston falls a game-and-a-half behind the Golden State Warriors in the West, while the Grizzlies pulled to within a half-game of the Denver Nuggets for the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage.
Final Score: Grizzlies 103, Rockets 94