Rockets shut down by Grizzlies again

Rockets shut down by Grizzlies again
January 25, 2014, 10:15 pm
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McHale: 'We couldn't get into our style'

When the Rockets embarked on their back-to-back games with the Grizzlies on Friday and Saturday night, they knew the Grizzlies were going to be much different from the team they had already beaten both times this season. They found out the hard way just how much different.

Houston followed up its 88-87 defeat at Toyota Center in Houston on Friday night with a woeful performance in a 99-81 defeat in Memphis on Saturday night.

Much like Friday night's game, Houston was smothered by Memphis' defense. Marc Gasol missed the first two games against Houston with a knee injury and Courtney Lee had not yet been traded for. Both played integral roles in the two Rockets' defeats. Lee followed his team-high 19 point effort on Friday night with 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting and led all players with a (plus-20) plus/minus rating for the game.

Gasol spent most of his night frustrating Dwight Howard, who he helped hold to just 4-of-11 shooting. It's just the seventh time this season, Howard has connected on less than 40 percent of his shots. Two of those occurrences have come against Memphis.

"We couldn't get anything going offensively," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale said. "Their bench came in the first half and carved us up I think they had 20 points out of their bench in the first half. We did OK against their starters. They got a little bit of a lead and we could never sustain anything offensively all night."

The Grizzlies bench actually had 23 points in the first half, 21 of them coming in the second quarter. Houston got a single bucket from their bench in the first half.

"We battled for awhile. They had the same back-to-back we had," McHale said. "They just beat us. Bottom line, they beat us up last night and they beat us up again tonight. They got offensive rebounds, they moved the ball, they got us being stagnant. They were better than us by far tonight."

Houston had just three players in double figures, led by James Harden who had 16 points. However, a night after he had a career-high 13 assists against Memphis, Harden had just three helpers. Worse than that, the three assists were not topped by any of his teammates.

The Rockets also struggled again from behind the 3-point line. Last night, while Chandler Parsons made 10-of-14 3-pointers, his teammates made just 4-of-20 attempts from the behind the 3-point line. Heading into the fourth quarter, the team was right on that dreadful mark at exactly 4-of-20. They also trailed 71-54 and halfway into the fourth quarter, McHale emptied the bench.