The Rockets were victimized by some horribly inconsistent officiating, including a questionable offensive foul called on James Harden in the fourth quarter after running into Mario Chalmers.
There were numerous other questionable calls, and there was also a giant middle finger from the fates, as a pass from James Harden to Eric Gordon late in the fourth hit an official and went out of bounds to the Grizzlies. This was technically the correct call — the referee is considered part of the active court — but when was the last time you saw this?
Referee likely ends the game by making the defensive play for Memphis. How fitting.— Ben DuBose (@BenDuBose) October 24, 2017
That being said, despite the poor officiating, the Rockets only have themselves to blame for this defeat. Houston was up 12 in the fourth, only to watch Memphis rattle off a 20-2 run to close the game and earn the victory.
The Rockets were out of sync offensively all night, shooting just 41.6 percent from the field and going only 9-38 from beyond the arc.
They were led by Gordon, who finished with 27 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists, and the Rockets also got 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 8 assists from The Beard, but Harden also played some pretty bad defense most of the night and the Rockets got very little help elsewhere.
Clint Capela finished with 14 points as the only other Rocket double figures, and it has to be mentioned that both Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson struggled once again. Ariza had just 2 points and was 0-5 from the field in a full 40 minutes of action, while Anderson finished with 5 points on 2-7 shooting. Both of these guys are off to slow starts and will need to pick it up while Chris Paul remains out of the lineup.
The Grizzlies moved to a perfect 3-0 on the season, and they were led, as always, by Marc Gasol, who finished with 26 points and 5 rebounds. The Rockets had no real answer to him most of the night. The Grizz also got 17 from Mike Conley, who got hot late, 14 from James Ennis and 11 from Chalmers, and now surprisingly sit atop the Western Conference at 3-0 at this admittedly early stage.
The Rockets now have a night off before heading to Philadelphia on Wednesday night to take on a young but dangerous 76ers squad. They’ll need to get some offensive help outside of Harden and Gordon in order to get themselves back on track. In particular, they need more from both Ariza and Anderson, who are currently averaging just 6 and 8.7 points per game respectively. We’ll all be looking for more from them Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
While this was a bad loss for the Rockets, we’ve seen them take these types of defeats before and quickly bounce back. In addition, the Grizz are obviously playing good ball at the moment, so chalk it up to just one of those nights, and hopefully the Rockets return to their high-scoring form in short order on Wednesday.