The Rockets took their second divisional loss in their last three games with a 115-109 loss to the Grizzlies tonight. The team made 20 three-pointers, but it ultimately was not enough to stop the Grizzlies.
Leading the Rockets’ efforts tonight was Ryan Anderson, who scored 31 points on 10-for-18 shooting, eight of those shots being threes. Anderson was one of five Rockets in double figures, and James Harden had a double-double with 16 points and 17 assists.
The Rockets did not play poorly tonight, but they were outplayed by a talented Grizzlies team. They only shot 42.7% from the field, while the Grizzlies shot 50.6%. The Grizzlies also made 13 threes as a team, which is very uncharacteristic of them. Memphis has one of the worst offenses in the league, but their shot was on tonight.
Five Grizzlies were in double figures tonight, and three came off the bench. James Ennis III finished with 13 points, and ageless wonders Vince Carter and Zach Randolph had 14 and 16 points respectively. All three of them shot above 60 percent, and Mike Conley also played a very efficient game, scoring 24 points on 9-for-17 shooting. This is where the game was won and lost. The Rockets simply were not as efficient. Other than Anderson and Montrezl Harrell, nobody shot above 50%, and that is what ultimately cost the team tonight.
Without Anderson’s shooting, this game would have been a blowout, and that is why the Rockets have won so many of their games to begin the season. They have so many good shooters that someone is always going to be hot. In most cases, multiple shooters are hot and they win the game, which is what happened Wednesday against Phoenix. Gordon and Harden were hot from beyond the line and the Rockets were able to win the game. Tonight, the team’s shots were not going in at the rate they need to be going in.
Tonight, the Rockets played very true to their identity. They made a lot of threes because they shot a lot of threes, and because they put so much focus on their offense, their defense suffered. They allowed a team that averages 96.8 PPG to score 115 and they were not able to score enough. Not enough shots went in. It’s okay because if you live by the three, you die by the three, and the Rockets died from it tonight. However, if you don’t die by the three, you can’t live by it, and the Rockets have won so many games because of their three-point shooting. Their three-point shooting allows them to stay in games and erase leads very quickly. They were down 13 in the fourth and were able to cut it to four with less than a minute to go, but it was too little too late.
Luckily for the Rockets, they are undefeated coming off of a loss this season and have not lost consecutive games. They will look to bounce back with a win on Monday against the Suns. Tipoff is at 7 PM. Happy holidays from all of us at The Dream Shake!