HOUSTON — James Harden scored 38 points to lead the Houston Rockets to a 111-96 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday (Sunday Manila time).
After suffering two losses to Memphis in the first two weeks of the season, the Rockets finally solved their shooting woes against the Grizzlies.
In their previous two meetings, Memphis held the Rockets to 90 and 89 points, the only two times the Rockets have been held under 100 points this season, and Houston’s lowest two scoring efforts ever under head coach Mike D’Antoni.
On Saturday night, however, Houston jumped out to a 9-0 lead by draining three 3s and never let Memphis go ahead, leading by as many as 25 points. The Rockets outdid their previous scoring against Memphis by the end of the third quarter, entering the fourth with a 93-70 lead.
Houston hit 16 of 45 (35.6 percent) from beyond the arc, including 6 of 14 from Harden, who added eight assists and four rebounds. Eric Gordon added 26 points on 6 of 11 3-point shooting for Houston.
Tyreke Evans led Memphis with 22 points in 29 minutes off the bench. Marc Gasol and Mike Conley struggled from the floor, scoring 15 and 12, respectively.
Ben McLemore made his season debut and Grizzlies debut, returning from an Aug. 8 surgery to repair a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. McLemore had four points and two rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench in his first game since joining the Grizzlies after four seasons in Sacramento.
The Rockets led 62-50 at halftime behind 22 first-half points from Harden.
Houston won its fifth straight game and improved to 10-3, the team’s best 13-game start since opening the 1996-97 season at 12-1.
Grizzlies: Memphis’ bench outscored Houston’s bench 50-19, led by Evans’ 22 points and Chandler Parsons, who had 10. Memphis’ bench entered Saturday outscoring opposing second units 483-281. The Grizzlies reserves have outscored their opposing counterparts in every game but one this season.
Rockets: Nene played seven minutes but sat out in the second half with ankle soreness. . Luc Mbah a Moute, who entered the game questionable with a left knee contusion, played 28 minutes. . Clint Capela had seven points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.
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