Instant Replay: Houston crushes Memphis in preseason finale

Instant Replay: Houston crushes Memphis in preseason finale
October 25, 2013, 7:45 pm
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Highlights: Rockets dominate Grizzlies

Oct 25, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (12) guards Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) during the first quarter at FedExForum.

(Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports)

If only the regular season had already begun.

The Houston Rockets and their fans can only hope that games on back-to-back nights in San Antonio and Memphis would go this well when the results count. Friday night in Memphis, it was over extremely early as the Rockets scored the game's first nine points and never looked back en route to a 92-73 win over the Grizzlies.

None of the Rockets starters reached double figures, but none of them played beyond the first half. Omri Casspi's 11 points off the bench led the Rockets and Dwight Howard grabbed a team-leading 10 rebounds. He reached double figures in rebounds in each of his final three preseason games, totaling 43 boards in 74 minutes of work.

Houston finishes the preseason on a six-game winning streak and a 6-1 record. They will open the season Wednesday night in Houston against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Costly four-point play
James Harden's four-point play was costly, but hopefully for just one night. After drilling a 3-pointer just in front of the Rockets bench, Harden had his right knee banged into by Grizzlies forward Quincy Pondexter. Harden was down on the court for a few minutes and got up limping noticeably. He stayed in the game to shoot his free throw, which he made, then the Rockets committed a quick foul to get him out of the game. He went to the locker room and the injury was announced as a right knee contusion. Early reports say the injury is not serious.

The game was over when...
Houston scored the first nine points. They led this game wire-to-wire and were never threatened. Memphis could not shoot straight and credit the Rockets defense for the work they put it on the defensive end. Midway thru the third quarter the Grizzlies had still made only seven field goals.

Pick on someone your own size
With just under eight minutes gone in the game and the Rockets already leading, 17-3, Grizzlies center Marc Gasol was little frustrated by the defense Patrick Beverley was playing. Beverley and Howard were pestering Gasol and as soon as Gasol passed the ball, he tossed Beverley to the ground. Howard immediately gave Gasol a forceful two-handed shove to the chest. They then came together, but no punches were thrown and the altercation really never escalated. Both players received technical fouls. Maybe it means something, maybe it doesn't, but Howard gave a very clear indication he'd protect his teammate.

Seeing double at the point
Patrick Beverley got the start for the second night in a row at the point guard position, but he and Jeremy Lin again spent quite a few minutes on the court together and were once again, very effective. In roughly 32 minutes, the duo combined to shoot 7-for-16 from the floor, grabbed seven rebounds, had three steals and did not turn the ball over.

Ejected
For the second time this preseason, a player was ejected following a video review for a foul committed against the Rockets. Grizzlies forward Ed Davis bashed Donatas Motiejunas across the nose with his elbow and forearm as Motiejunas attempted to finish a shot at the rim. The referees called the personal foul, but went to the replay and deemed it a flagrant two, which carries with it an automatic ejection. Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was ejected from the game on Monday night for a similar foul on Omri Casspi.

Next up

Houston opens the 2013-2014 regular season on Oct. 30 versus Charlotte at 7 p.m. at Toyota Center. Houston finished 6-1 in the preseason, while Charlotte went 5-3. Houston won both games vs. Charlotte last season, including a 109-95 victory at Toyota Center.