NBA 2018-19: 3 Talking points from the Rockets' 113-101 win against the Grizzlies
James Harden is riding on a wave of confidence. Houston have won 10 of their last 11 games, a span during which the reigning MVP is averaging 39.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game. The Grizzlies meanwhile, were given a beatdown the sort of which rarely happens to a team with a defensive identity.
Mike Conley during his postgame interview:
No moral victories from tonight. It’s a big loss for us. Houston is a division opponent, a team we thought we could come in here and steal one from.
Chandler Parsons, who has recovered but not been played yet, was listed as "return from injury management and illness". The player is owed $24 million, and resting a healthy player hurts not only the player's chances at returning to the NBA's folds but also the Grizzlies' chances of trading him. To be fair, he has been hurt a lot in his career, but not playing someone due to the risk of injury is sure to send red flags to any General Managers looking to trade for him in the league.
Harden, of course, went ballistic in his outing today, dishing out 43 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists and a loss to the Grizz. Marc Gasol remained steady with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists, but today's Grizzlies needed a step-up performance to beat this version of the Rockets. Mike Conley struggled with 19 points on a 7-18 performance as he missed all his 4 three-point attempts and dished out 5 assists, all of which are below his regular season averages. Here's a look at some of the talking points from the matchup.
#1 Offensive first half by the Rockets
The Rockets were all over the place from the beginning, where a barrage of makes assaulted Memphis from the start. At the end of the first quarter, the score resembled an already lopsided 18-27 in favor of Houston, and the second quarter didn't do the Grizzlies any favors either, as the halftime score read 61-38.
Houston moved the ball a lot and used Harden as a defensive magnet, whereas the Grizzlies had to cover tremendous ground to even have a chance at contesting the Rockets' attempts.
The Grizzlies rotated through a 13 man tandem in the first half of the game, looking for the sort of gritty defense that had them at a 12-5 record and brief hold of the first seed back in November.
The Rockets built a what would prove to be an insurmountable lead in the first two quarters and then let the rotation play itself out a bit, as the score read a more balanced 86-73 in favor of the Rockets at the end of the third. Danuel House and Gerald Green played close to 26 minutes each, and both had hot hands from behind the arc today.
Houston's Nene, Clark and Knight had off games, with all three playing close to eleven minutes and scoring 1 point combined as Memphis went on a 35-25 in the third to close out the lead a little. Harden showed up in the fourth again, hitting a pair of two off-the-dribble three-pointers again to bury the Grizzlies for good.