This game was most definitely a tale of two halves. The Rockets came out of the gates strong with 36 points in the first quarter, 16 from the hands of James Harden. The MVP came off his best game of the season on Thursday night with a 50-point triple double and he responded tonight with another triple-double, scoring 32 points, handing out 10 assists and crashing the glass for 10 rebounds.
The onslaught continued in the second quarter as the Rockets ran with their lead, which grew to 21 by halftime.
However, once the intermission hit, all of the momentum halted. The lead went from 21 to just 10 after an 11-0 run by the Grizzlies spanning the first six minutes of the third quarter. However, three Gerald Green triples put the Rockets back on track and kept the Grizzlies at bay.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) December 16, 2018
Back-To-Back 3's For Gerald Green! pic.twitter.com/io4vnCXoyb
In the fourth quarter, another Grizzlies run looked to spoil the Rockets, but it was too little too late as the Rockets were able to draw fouls and sink free throws late in the game to secure their third consecutive victory. The team shot 22-25, good for 88 percent, from the charity stripe tonight.
With the win, the Rockets have crawled their way back to .500 at 14-14. It’s the first time in two weeks that the Rockets have achieved such a record.
The Rockets won tonight because their rhythm and flow forced the Grizzlies out of theirs, and by the time the Grizzlies regained their momentum, the Rockets had jumped out to a lead too large for the Grizzlies to handle. The Rockets were able to put their foot on the gas pedal tonight and not let it go, which is something this team has not been able to do at times this season.
For Memphis, Mike Conley’s 21 were not enough to get Memphis into the win column. However, they did flash two of their promising rookies for the first time against the Rockets. Jaren Jackson, Jr. struggled on the defensive end against Harden, but still showed why he is a leading candidate for Rookie of the Year.
Jevon Carter, the Grizzlies’ second-round pick out of West Virginia, made his NBA debut tonight, scoring 11 points off the bench. He also showcased how much of a defensive menace he can be, and it looks like he could be a thorn in the Rockets’ side for years to come.
Two minutes into his NBA debut, Jevon Carter steals the ball from Chris Paul. Not bad rook pic.twitter.com/QsiO2D5qAC— Fastbreak Breakfast (@fastbreakbreak) December 16, 2018
Nonetheless, the Rockets were the better team tonight and deserved this win. The time and patience is paying off and the team continues to take steps forward. Now, it’s all about making sure the team doesn’t take a step back.
Can the Rockets keep the momentum running at the Toyota Center against the Jazz on Monday night? Tipoff is at 7 p.m. CT.