On a night when the Rockets saw Chandler Parsons absolutely catch fire from behind the 3-point line, Houston still needed either one more bucket or one more stop to avoid defeat, but couldn’t get it. They missed their final shots, all of which would have given them the lead, and fell to the Grizzlies, 88-87.
Parsons, who missed all but one of his five first half shots, could not miss in the second half. He made a pair of 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the third quarter and proceeded to make each of his next eight shots as well – all of them 3-pointers. He scored a career-high 34 points and his ten 3-pointers made, set a new Rockets franchise record, eclipsing the previous mark of nine set by Robert Horry in 1996 and tied by Jeremy Lin earlier this season against Philadelphia on Nov. 13. The ten consecutive 3-pointers made, tied the franchise record held by Kenny Smith.
“It’s frustrating,” Parsons said. “At the end of the day you want to win a game no matter how good or bad you play. It’s really irrelevant if you lose a game. I feel like it’s a game we struggled all night long. We knew they were going to crash the offensive glass and we couldn’t stop them. We fouled a lot, they were getting easy buckets. We couldn’t get stops down the stretch.”
The Rockets did get a huge stop on the Grizzlies when Pat Beverly drew a charge on Mike Miller with 8.3 seconds remaining in the game and the Rockets trailing 88-87. Houston called time out, moved the ball to halfcourt and tried to execute a game-winning play.
The final play did not work out the way the Rockets hoped. “It was a pick and roll,” Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. “Chandler was hot, so we tried getting the ball on a little action with the pick and roll with Dwight. They put two on the ball and we didn’t fill in behind.
“They came out and trapped and I was going to throw back to James and James cut and I guess he was denied,” Parsons said. “I couldn’t really get it to Dwight, so I just kind of got stuck and picked my dribble up and passed it to Pat (Beverley).”
Beverley, who did not have a good look at the basket with Mike Conley right up on him at the 3-point line, was only able to launch a desperation shot that fell well short . That unfortunately was the story for pretty much all of the Rockets shooters, other than Parsons. He was 10-of-14 on 3-pointers in the game, but his teammates were just 4-of-20 on the night with Beverley just 1-of-8.
The team shot just 40.5 percent overall, after shooting nearly 50 percent over the last three games combined. Houston fell behind by 13 points in the first half, the most points they’ve trailed by during the entire five-game home stand, but were still able to fight back and take their first lead early in the third quarter. The game was not separated b more than five points at any point the rest of the game, but after Parsons hit his 10th and final 3-pointer of the night, the Rockets trailed 88-87 with 1:51 left in the game. Neither team would score again.
“We’ve got to play harder, play tougher,” Parsons said. “That’s what they are known for. They’re junk yard dogs, physical, bang on the glass. We have to bring that effort and we need to get out and be able to go in transition, we didn’t do that at all.”
“(That’s) a tough one, a tough, hard fought game,” James Harden said. “We knew it was going to be tough coming into it. They kind of played at a slower pace and they won the battle tonight as far as how they wanted to play.”