Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/9/12
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The more the Memphis Grizzlies have to dive and dig and dodge and dart, the better they play. The Grizzlies never cracked 40 percent field-goal shooting all night, but a 21-0 advantage in fastbreak points fueled by 20 Houston Rockets turnovers sparked a 93-85 victory Friday night in FedEx Forum. Memphis led 87-75 with 4:55 left, but guard Jeremy Lin rallied the Rockets back. He scored eight of his 15 points in the final period, including five points off steals, the last of which cut the Memphis lead to 87-85. But Griz point guard Mike Conley, the victim of those steals, hit his only 3-pointer with 1:57 left to start a string of seven consecutive Grizzlies points that put away Memphis’ fourth win in its first five games. Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Zach Randolph collected his fifth consecutive double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Memphis got a big boost from its bench, which outscored the Rockets’ reserves 27-15. Wayne Ellington led the bench scoring with 12 points, but Quincy Pondexter’s five points and four steals took apart the Rockets enough in the final period to get a bit of a cushion. Chandler Parsons topped Houston (2-3) with 19 points while James Harden, the NBA’s leading scorer, was limited to 18 points with just six in the second half. For a team that had won its first three of four games, it was a bit amazing that the Grizzlies trailed just 46-42 at the break. The starting five appeared dead on arrival early, just sort of plodded along, falling behind 15-7 in game's first six minutes and trailing 24-17 at the end of the first quarter. The Grizzlies bench, as has been the case in the season's first four games, got the home team a bit juiced. Pondexter scored all five of his first half points in the first period. Memphis worked really hard to limit Harden, who got eight of his 12 first-half points from the free-throw line. But Houston got an unexpected boost from reserve swingman Carlos Delfino, who had eight points including 2-of-3 3-pointers. One missing element for the Grizzlies in the opening half was center Marc Gasol. He wasn't in foul trouble, but had just four points on 2-of-7 shooting. When he was pulled in the final minute of the half to prevent him from getting a third foul, he took a healthy swipe at a pile of talc powder creating a cloud of disgust. NOTES: Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins was bracing in pregame for James Harden, who has been set free as a starter in Houston’s offense after being the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year at Oklahoma City. Harden entered Friday’s game averaging a league-high 35.3 points. "He (Harden) is the Rockets' No. 1 option where he was the third option most nights in Oklahoma City," Hollins said. "He's playing 40 minutes vs. 28 minutes. Your confidence grows when you know you have the ball in your hands most of the time. I was a starter and a sixth man in my NBA career, and you just go play."
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