Same old song: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 113-99 loss to the Grizzlies

Mar 1, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) controls the ball as Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) defends during the first quarter at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Same old song: Three takeaways from Wednesday’s 113-99 loss to the Grizzlies

The Rockets’ losing streak has hit 11 after Wednesday’s 113-99 loss to the Grizzlies. The Rockets played a solid first half defensively but had no answer when Memphis turned it on after halftime. Desmond Bane led all scorers with 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting, and Ja Morant added 20. Six Rockets scored in double-figures, led by Jalen Green’s 20 points, but they shot just 40%.

Third quarter is the difference

The Rockets found themselves down seven early on, but hung tough on the defensive end of the floor, holding Memphis below 40% from the field in the first half and only trailing by three at halftime. But after both teams matched buckets for the first couple of minutes in the third quarter, the Grizzlies scored eight in a row and never looked back.

Memphis shot 58% and made five 3-pointers on its way to a 38-24 third quarter. Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Dillon Brooks accounted for 34 points while shooting 13-of-18. On the other hand, the Rockets converted 36% of their shots while committing four turnovers.

The quarter was best summed up by Jalen Green tossing up a wayward lob to K.J. Martin that forced a pained look on the face of Stephen Silas.

A mismatch at one end of the floor

A game featuring the league’s second best defense and worst offense went as one would expect. The Rockets started the game 1-of-10 from the field and finished the first quarter with just 19 points on 23% shooting.

They managed to score 25 points in the second quarter, but they could not keep up when the Grizzlies’ offense kicked into gear in the third. For three quarters, the Rockets were held to 68 points on 34% shooting, and while they did shoot 60% in a 31-point fourth quarter, the game had long since been decided and Memphis took its foot off the pedal.

Kevin Porter Jr. returns, TyTy Washington leaves early

After missing 20 games with a left toe injury, Porter finished with 11 points in 26 minutes. He missed his first five shots from the field, only to make his next two, and shot 3-of-11 for the game. He appeared to re-injure his toe in the second quarter, leaving the game at the 5:26 mark, but returned to start the second half.

Porter grabbed five rebounds and dished out a pair of assists while attempting four free throws in his first game since Jan. 11.

It’s still to be determined how the Rockets rotation will look now that Porter and Jalen Green are both healthy. Jae’Sean Tate, TyTy Washington, and Daishen Nix played in the first half, but Washington did not play after the break due to a migraine.

Next up

The Rockets will visit the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday night in the first of a home-and-home back-to-back.

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