The Memphis Grizzlies should have won this game against a Houston Rockets squad without top stars Steve Francis (ruptured plantar fascia on his left foot) and Cuttino Mobley (sprained ankle).
However, no one quite expected the team to do so in such a dramatic fashion, as the Grizzlies picked up their second straight home win, 102-85. Not only did the Grizzlies (3-12) win, the steam won by double digits. That lead is the largest Memphis has held over this young season.
Grizzlies point guard Jason Williams had an incredible night shooting 38 points, handing out 11 assists, and collecting four steals. The 38 points breaks his career record of 28. 18 of those points came from Williams 6 three pointers. The point guard also had plenty of help. Forward Shane Battier scored 18 points, forward Pau Gasol scored 17 points, and center Lorenzen Wright scored 10 as the Grizzlies rolled.
According to head coach Sidney Lowe, the team is beginning to gel offensively, especially in terms of Williams connection with Gasol. It think the more we play, the better we will be, Lowe said after the game. I think you can see Pau and Jason starting to click a little better. Before, they were a little off on each other and not sure what to expect but you can see it coming along a little bit now.
The Grizzlies also put together a dominant defensive effort with 10 total blocked shots and 11 steals. Those numbers contributed to 18 Rocket turnovers and 19 Grizzlies points. Also, the Grizzlies held the Rockets to only 43.1% shooting on the night.
Its just the concentration we have in practice, Lowe says of the improving Memphis defense. Weve gone straight up man-to-man. Ive challenged my guys. The only way you can win in the NBA is to play solid defense.
About Williams performance, Battier said he just tried to stay out of the point guards way. He was awesome, Battier said. I didnt want to touch him, I didnt want to look at him, I didnt want to jinx him.
The Rockets struggled all night offensively, but did get major contributions from a number of players. Walt Williams led his teams efforts with 15 points, Kevin Willis and Kenny Thomas each scored 14, Tierre Brown scored 12, and Oscar Torres scored 10.
But the multiple turnovers and the streaking Williams soon outpaced whatever offensive efforts the Rockets might have put together. We tried to get the ball out of his hands, Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich said after the game. Whenever we missed a shot, [Williams] would sting us for another two or three points. We tried to double [Williams] and then someone else stepped up and made shots.
The Grizzlies play at home again on Thursday, December 6, against the Minnesota Timberwolves at 7 p.m.