Houston Rockets: How the Grizzlies made Harden’s historic night a non-factor

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guard James Harden (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets fell to the Memphis Grizzlies last night and despite a record game from James Harden, the Grizzlies made it non-factor. How?

Last night, the Houston Rockets took on the Memphis Grizzlies and put on more than an entertaining battle. Although the Houston Rockets were favored to win in what was predicted to be a high-scoring game, especially since winning their last matchup in November, the Houston Rockets weren’t able to bring the W back to Houston.

Before tip-off, Austin Rivers was inserted into starting line up for Russell Westbrook who sat out last night in a strive by the team to manage his workload. So this makes me wonder, was this loss due to the absence of Russ on the court, or because of the undeniable rookie talent playing his best game to date?

The Houston Rockets led the Grizzlies in the first quarter 37-32. The Rockets had a solid first quarter as did James Harden, scoring 17 points. The second quarter is when the momentum shifted.

I recalled when Harden spoke about their shift in momentum during post-game interviews confirming that they got too comfortable after giving Memphis too many shots. Harden’s performance slowed substantially, scoring only nine points in the second quarter. At this point, Memphis took the lead but the Rockets weren’t too far behind, we definitely had a game here folks and an exciting one at that.

The Houston Rockets came back the third quarter refreshed and hopeful but still had trouble

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gaining a consistent lead. The Houston Rockets were hitting key shots but we’re still struggling to keep up with the Grizzlies’ young core who seemed to have dominated every fast break.

Not only were the Rockets playing a more fast-paced game than they’re used to, but they were also playing a game where many of the calls didn’t end in their favor; and unfortunately, despite all the predictions, the Grizzlies defeated us 121-110.

James ended the night with 41 points, making him the first player since 1971 to score at least 40 points against an opponent in more than four consecutive match-ups. After the game, Mike D’Antoni was in his usual glass-half-full spirits that we love and was quick to give Memphis their credit for an amazing game.

I remember him also mentioning post-game that he wanted to make it clear that when he makes decisions like holding Russ out of a game, that someone has step up when Russ isn’t around and in games like this where James provided early but got cold.

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It was an intense battle the whole night, and although it wasn’t the outcome we all hoped for it’s just another game in the books, another opportunity to learn and grow. For now, it’s a new day, the Houston Rockets will take on the Trail Blazers here in Houston and D’Antoni has already pointed to the team getting back on the horse and nabbing a win.

On to the next one!