The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Houston Rockets, 82-78, on Friday night, getting 15 points apiece from Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol in a balanced effort. The Grizzlies had five players in double figures.
James Harden led all scorers with 30 points, but it was not enough. While Memphis did not shoot the ball well (35 percent), it stifled the Rockets, forcing them into an ample amount of poor shots which led to a 32 percent clip for Houston overall.
Interestingly enough, the Rockets out-rebounded the Grizzlies, 51-44, but it was all for naught.
Memphis led by as much as 19, but Houston battled back in the second half and tied the game late. However, missed opportunities doomed the Rockets down the stretch, and the Grizzlies capitalized.
Gasol recorded the only double-double of the game, grabbing 12 rebounds.
Jeremy Lin was the best player on the floor for the Rockets during this basketball game.
The floor general scored 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out five assists, a couple of them coming off absolutely brilliant passes.
Lin also drained a huge three-pointer to tie the game late on the heels of a big trey earlier in the period.
He did an excellent job of controlling the tempo, pushing the ball after every rebound and making every effort to make something happen in transition.
Unfortunately for Lin, the game was called very loosely, and there were several times when he drew contact but did not get the call. He also took some hard shots against the physical Grizzlies but admirably shook them off.
Nice game for Lin.
After getting off to a slow start, shooting only 3-of-11 in the first half, Harden exploded over the final two quarters.
The shooting guard scored 18 of his 30 points during the final 24 minutes, 14 of those coming during a third period in which he connected on three of his five three-pointers.
Harden was forced to adjust in this game, as the refs really let both ballclubs play. Harden is a guy who relies on drawing contact, and there were several instances during the contest in which he didn't get calls that he usually gets.
That's not to say Harden didn't get to the charity stripe, though. He still took 14 free throws, converting on 11 of them.
All of that being said, Harden hurt the Rockets plenty against the Grizzlies. He turned the ball over eight times, including a crucial turnover when Houston was down by a point with 1:06 to go. This comes just one contest after he committed nine turnovers against the Phoenix Suns.
With Chandler Parsons missing this one, Harden had to take care of the basketball, but he didn't, and that detracts from his overall grade. The fact that he shot only 7-of-23 from the field and missed what would have been the game-tying shot with 0.4 seconds left doesn't help his case, either.
Francisco Garcia started in place of the injured Parsons on Friday night, and he didn't make much of his 22 minutes.
The former Sacramento King shot only 2-of-7 from beyond the arc, missing some open threes that certainly could have changed the outcome of this game.
Garcia tallied six points and a minus-8 plus/minus stat.
There really isn't much else to say for Garcia other than he probably wishes he could have those clean looks back.
Greg Smith has a pretty bright future in this league, and you saw a bit of that on display against Memphis.
The big man scored five points and pulled down seven rebounds—four of them offensive—in 20.5 minutes. He demonstrated very soft hands and a solid ability to know where the ball is going when it comes off the rim.
Of course, there is a learning curve here. Smith committed four fouls, and a couple of them could have been avoided. You really have to love how he is not afraid of contact and how he knows how to use his wide frame to make an impact, though.
The Rockets are now 5-2 in games where Smith starts.
Omer Asik played some of his worst basketball of the season in the first half, going scoreless, having some catchable passes slip through his hands and bobbling the basketball when he did receive it.
He reversed that during the second half, however, as Asik scored all eight of his points and grabbed seven of his 11 rebounds over the final two quarters. He showed much better hands and was able to finish around the rim, unlike the first 24 minutes.
What is kind of ugly is Asik's plus-minus in this one. He was a minus-11, meaning he wasn't making his usual impact on the defensive end of the floor. Asik is used to be the best defensive big man out there, but with Gasol roaming the paint for Memphis, that just wasn't the case on Friday night.
Asik was also blocked three times, and that is rather inexcusable for a man his size.
He went 3-of-8 in his 34 minutes of action.
Carlos Delfino is just getting over an illness, and as the Rockets announcers alluded to, you could visibly see it. Delfino is definitely a little thin right now and is definitely not yet in basketball shape.
He was given 15 minutes in this one, and during those minutes, he attempted three trifectas and missed all of them badly. He wasn't too involved in the offense, not really displaying the ability to move without the basketball yet.
Due to the fact that Delfino is still recovering, he gets an incomplete here. It just wouldn't be fair to grade him under the circumstances.
Houston needs to find a way to re-integrate Delfino with the playoffs in plain view. Hopefully he can get healthier.
Terrence Jones was absolutely huge for the Rockets off the pine, scoring seven points and grabbing 12 rebounds (five of them coming on the offensive end). He had a spectacular sequence during the fourth quarter where he drained a three, then fought off Memphis bigs to draw a foul on a rebound on the other end and finished things off with a vicious putback slam.
Jones also did an outstanding job defending Randolph. The rookie, who recorded a plus-4, is going to be a very, very nice player in this league.
Patrick Beverley gave Houston some nice minutes off the pine, hitting a three, coming up with four boards, dishing out five assists and posting a plus-3.
Donatas Motiejunas got some burn, but he did almost nothing with it, shooting scoring two points and shooting 0-of-5 from the floor.
Thank to Jones' contributions, Houston's bench gets a good mark.