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Rockets bench, rebounding help extend their win streak

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Benchmode activated and other takeaways from the Rockets win over the Grizzlies

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Rockets win streak is now up to four games in a row after they took down the Grizzlies, 107-91. Everyone from the starters down to bench all showed up big, each contributing in their own way to the win.

There was a rough and worrisome stretch for the Rockets. Up 12 as the half was ending, the Grizzlies climbed all the way back into the game and led after the break. The game remained close until the fourth quarter ,when the Rockets took back control of the game and closed it out.

Below are three takeaways from the Rockets win over the Grizzlies.

Rebounds aplenty

The Rockets collected 42 on the night, out-rebounding the Grizzlies by 11. Dwight Howard had another big night rebounding the ball with 14, 6 offensive.

They were in position all night and often had two or three guys under the basket waiting on rebounds. This strategy has sometimes bitten the Rockets on fast-break defense, as we covered in Rocket Fuel yesterday, but against a plodding team like the Grizzlies, it was effective.

Marc Gasol spent a good chunk of his time away from the basket, which limited him on offensive rebounds and helped the Rockets greatly clean up the glass defensively.

The Rockets shot a worse percentage than the Grizzlies, so getting extra chances at the basket with offensive rebounds helped a lot.

Benchmode on

Tuesday night was the classic "Terrence Jones played well" night. He finished with 20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 1 block. And while Jones was the best version of himself against the Grizzlies, he wasn't the only guy that showed up big Tuesday night.

Jason Terry tossed in 6 assists, Corey Brewer had 2 big threes down the stretch, and Marcus Thornton chipped in 16 points.

When the Rockets sat James Harden or Howard, they did not miss much with their bench replacements.

Jones had a big night scoring off the bench, but every player deserves a game ball for the way they played. The bench, along with the starters, continued to showcase what Rockets fans have been hoping for: defensive effort and intensity. In the four-game win streak, the team is starting to look closer to the team everyone hoped for at the start of the year.

It's raining threes

Three-pointers were falling from the sky Tuesday night. The Rockets ended up making 51 percent of the threes they took (18 for 35).

A lot of the treys the Rockets took were well-advised shots, in rhythm and/or off an offensive rebound. There were very few times when the Rockets let the shot clock drain and would just lob a really bad attempt up at the rim.

The Grizzlies did not want James Harden to score 40 points from the paint, so they closed it off. When the Rockets penetrated there was almost always someone open on the wing waiting for a pass. Of the team's 21 assists, a big portion came from a pass off to an open three-point shooter.

When the Rockets play defense and shoot 50 percent or better from the three-point line, there are few teams in the NBA that will beat them.

Josh Reese