The Houston Rockets had a dominant first-half, building a 27-point lead through some hot three-point shooting, and they maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the night and looked ready to start the regular season after defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 121-103.
The Rockets were so dominant to start the game that when they finally had a letdown and let Memphis go on a 20-4 run in the second quarter, they still went into the break up 63-47.
The threes were falling all night, as the Rockets hit on 20-47 from deep overall, but were at one point 18-37 with the primary group.
Houston played what figures to be their rotation to start the year, and that featured James Ennis and P.J. Tucker starting at the forward spots, with Carmelo Anthony coming off the bench with the first substitution and Eric Gordon following with the next.
That group was led by James Harden, who scored 23 points on 7-15 shooting, including 4-8 from deep, to go along with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Chris Paul had 14 points, 11 assists, and 3 steals, and Clint Capela double-doubled with 12 points and 13 rebounds to round out Houston’s main trifecta.
The Rockets also got double-digit points from Gordon, who finished with 12 in limited minutes back from injury, Carmelo Anthony, who finished with 11, and Gerald Green, who had 10. That bench trio was hot early and instrumental in the Rockets building their first-half lead.
James Ennis also finished with 11, and his athleticism in the open court is certainly a sight to behold. And oh... he also went 3-3 from deep.
As for any intel on the deep roster, Gary Clark saw some action with the main group, likely in place of the injured Michael Carter-Williams, but the team obviously thinks highly of him. He finished with 6 points and 3 boards in 17 minutes. He was 2-3 from beyond the arc.
Isaiah Hartenstein came in the game in the fourth with still some of the starters playing, and he finished with 10 points and 4 rebounds in 10 minutes. At one point, he missed an easy bucket off a Chris Paul pass, and the veteran leader went right back to the young big man the next play, resulting in a score, and you could see his confidence grow from there.
It wasn’t 100-percent all peachy, as the Rockets allowed the Grizz to shoot 51 percent from the field and 46 percent from three, but they also forced 25 turnovers, and the offensive onslaught was too much for Memphis to keep up with.
The Grizzlies were led by Jaren Jackson with 18 points, Mike Conley and Wayne Selden with 15, and Chandler Parsons with 12.
Houston finishes it’s preseason schedule with a 4-1 record, and the team looks ready to start the official year on Wednesday, October 17 at home against the New Orleans Pelicans. The only thing left now are a few back-end-of-the-roster decisions.