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Rockets light it up from deep in a win over the Grizzlies

The Rockets continued their recent hot shooting from downtown in defeating the Grizzlies in Memphis Tuesday night.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets tied a season high by knocking down 18 three pointers, and they got big games from James Harden, Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones to lead them to a 107-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Harden scored 25 points and expertly controlled the tempo and pace in a decisive fourth quarter, while Howard continued his recent run of dominance, putting up 17 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks. Howard even went 4-4 on hack-a free throws in the final stanza.

Jones stepped up behind the two superstars for 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and a block. He also was 3-5 from deep, including two back-to-back in the fourth to put the Rockets up for good at 86-83.

Houston also got nice games from Marcus Thornton, who scored 16 points in just 15 minutes of action, and Trevor Ariza, who finished with 10 points and 3 big steals, though his defense was so effective, it certainly seemed like more.

The Rockets also took another step forward in their development on the season when they refused to fold after a furious Memphis rally.

Houston used crisp ball movement, inside pressure with Dwight, and outside sharpshooting to build themselves a 51-38 lead in the second quarter, but in typical Rockets' fashion, they failed to step on the throat and allowed the Grizzlies a huge 18-2 run spanning the end of the second through the beginning of the third quarter to fall behind 56-53.

In a scene we've witnessed all too often this year after building a lead, the Rockets stopped cutting and started standing, and as a result, the ball movement that built their 13-point lead ground to a standstill. It was typical Rockets collapse time.

But Harden (mostly) made all the right decisions with the ball in his hand down the stretch and got some help from his marksmen teammates to close out the Grizz with 14-2 run after the game had been tied at 83 in the fourth.

The Grizz received 20 points from Marc Gasol and 17 from Tony Allen, but they didn't have quite enough juice to match the Rockets as the game wound down.

We've been wondering here at TDS if the Rockets have finally gotten their act together, and tonight's big win on the road over a very tough Memphis squad, especially with the way they stepped up and closed out the Grizzlies in the last frame, furthers the narrative that this may finally be a team on the upswing.

The Rockets have now equaled a season high by winning their fourth straight game, while also breaking Memphis' 6-game home win streak. Houston now stands one game over .500 with a 20-19 record and are now only a half game back of the Grizzlies for the 6th seed in the Western Conference.

The Rockets look to continue their winning ways tomorrow night at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves in what is a golden opportunity for their longest win streak of the year. After their egg-layings this season against Brooklyn and Denver, it's a chance to prove they can put away the teams they are supposed to- an essential development for any team hoping to grow into a postseason contender.