James Harden looked great for his second straight contest, scoring 31 points on 7-15 shooting, including 5-9 from deep, to go along with 8 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, and a block, while Ben McLemore went for 26 points on 6-7 from beyond the arc to send the Rockets to a 119-107 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Houston’s second bubble scrimmage.
The Rockets broke open a close game in the second quarter and were up by as many as 11 before heading into halftime up 59-50. The Grizz would take advantage of a sluggish Rockets third quarter, something that was occasionally an issue for Houston before the shutdown, and the Rockets would head into the final frame down 8 points at 87-79.
They exploded in the fourth quarter, however, scoring 40 points, as both team’s starters played until the game was essentially decided late in the final frame. It was a good victory for the Rockets over a young and exciting Grizz team that currently sits in the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.
In addition to Harden and McLemore, the Rockets also got 18 points and 3 boards from Jeff Green, who played 28 minutes and shot 3-4 from deep, and 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists from Robert Covington, who also fouled out.
Russell Westbrook finished with 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists, and he shot just 3-14 from the field, as he looks to get his legs back underneath him still, playing just 26 minutes.
As for Memphis, they were led by a slew of players in double figures, including 17 points and 9 assists for Ja Morant, 16 points and 8 rebounds for Brandon Clarke, 15 points fro Kyle Anderson, 12 points and 9 boards from Jonas Valanciuanas, 11 points from Dillon Brooks, and 10 each from Anthony Tolliver and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Houston, however, held Memphis to just 38.6 percent shooting in a much improved defensive performance from their scrimmage opener versus the Toronto Raptors. They also forced 20 turnovers, including 11 off of steals, 3 swipes apiece coming from P.J. Tucker and Danuel House.
The Rockets also made 22 triples on 51 attempts, and when Houston is shooting it like that from beyond the arc, they are tough to beat.
They will finish up scrimmage season on Tuesday night with a game against the Boston Celtics.