HOUSTON — Coach Stephen Silas knew going into Sunday’s game that the Memphis Grizzlies were still a tough opponent in the absence of Ja Morant. And behind a 24-point performance from second-year guard Desmond Bane, Silas’ divination came true.
The Houston Rockets sustained a 122-98 loss to the Morant-less Grizzlies inside the Toyota Center. The Rockets extended their losing streak to five while ending their four-game regular-season series 1-3 against Memphis.
One of Silas’ concerns ahead of Houston’s matinee showdown was Memphs’ ability to dominate from the inside. The Grizzlies have averaged a league-best 58.2 points in the paint throughout the 2021-22 NBA campaign. And against the Rockets, Memphis came close to their season average by scoring 54 points in the paint.
But in addition to their inside scoring, the Rockets could not stop the Grizzlies’ hot shooting from behind the arc. Memphis connected on 16 triples as they shot 47.1 percent from deep as a team. DeAnthony Melton accounted for four of Memphis’ 3-point field goals. He finished the game with 16 points.
Morant missed his 16th game of the season due to right knee soreness. Memphis is now 14-2 when playing without their all-star point guard.
The Rockets failed to match the Grizzlies’ offensive intensity. Houston had one of their worst offensive performances of the season, as they ended the game shooting 43.0 percent from the field and an appalling 32.8 percent from behind the arc.
The Rockets’ most significant issues on offense came from the lack of production from their starting backcourt. Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. shot a combined 8-for-31 from the field for 22 points in the loss.
After averaging 25.0 points over the previous two games, the Rockets did not receive much from Christian Wood. In the loss, Wood finished the game with a dozen. Dennis Schroder led the way for the Rockets with a team-high 17 points.
Alperen Sengun kept the Rockets in the game for most of the third quarter with his production coming off the bench. Sengun added 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes.
Up next for the Rockets, an interconference game against the 30-40 Washington Wizards on Monday. Tip-off is slated for 7 P.M. CT inside the Toyota Center.