Newcomer Kelly Olynyk had another monster game, as his Hall of Fame tour continued with Christian Wood out of the lineup, as Olynyk went for a season-high 25 points to go along with 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 2 blocks on 10-17 from the field. He demonstrated a complete game, playing defense, taking charges, protecting the paint, executing some sweet passes, several hockey assists, and some sneaky moves in the paint. About the only thing he didn’t do tonight was hit threes, as he shot 0-5.
Unfortunately for the Houston Rockets, it wasn’t enough, as they led the Memphis Grizzlies for large chunks of the contest, but weren’t able to close it out, giving up an 11-3 run down the stretch to fall off the Memphis pace and lose 120-110.
Jae’Sean Tate continues to impress as well, as he had another all-around fine game. Tate went for 24 points, 7 rebounds, and an assist on 9-18 from the floor, but he too struggled from deep, going just 3-9. In fact, the entire Rockets team struggled from three, going just 11-42 from beyond the arc. Hit a few more of those, and we likely have a different outcome.
It was a fun game tonight despite the loss, watching some of the new pieces gel a little better than expected, as D.J. Augustin went for 13 points and 5 assists off the bench and made some huge plays, and D.J. Wilson looked springy as he went for 8 points, 3 boards, and a block in just 12 minutes.
The rest of the Rockets starters outside of Tate and Olynyk struggled, however. John Wall finished with 9 points, 8 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks, but he was just 2-12 from the field. Kevin Porter Jr. finished with 10 points and 5 assists on 5-17 shooting, and he looked awkward alongside Wall at times. Danuel House finished with just 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists on 0-3 from the field.
So despite some really bright spots, the Rockets also had some really ugly ones, and as been the case all the season, the few bright ones weren’t enough to outshine the rest, and Houston’s winning streak again ends at one game. The team hasn’t won back-to-back contests in almost two months now.
The Grizzlies were led by Jonas Valanciuanas, who the Rockets had no answer for physically, and he bulled his way to 30 points and 15 boards on 13-18 shooting. Memphis also got 23 points off the bench from former Rocket De’Anthony Melton, 17 points each from Dillon Brooks and Desmond Bane, and 12 points and 8 assists from Ja Morant.
Houston gave up 55 percent shooting from the floor while shooting just 42 percent themselves, and that’s not going to get it done when facing a team fighting hard for its playoff life.
The Rockets are now off tomorrow night, but they will return to action Wednesday night as they travel to the east coast to meet up with old friend James Harden and his Brooklyn Nets.