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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.

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Rockets rout the Grizzlies 140-112 for fifth straight win

Byron L. Riley, CPA; 832-303-3995; Do you need tax help? IRS Tax help available- Free Consult

Posted: February 26, 2020 -- 11:55 p.m. CT

HOUSTON, TX (Toyota Center) -- The Houston Rockets blasted the Memphis Grizzlies 140-112 Wednesday night. Houston has won five in a row for the first time since a season-best eight-game streak from November 4 to November 18. Memphis has lost four straight after winning four of its previous five games.

The Rockets are 29-2 when opponents score 112 or fewer points this season.

Houston limited Memphis to 27.3% field goal shooting (6 for 22) in the first quarter. Memphis also had 7 turnovers in the quarter.

"I thought it was very good activity getting in lanes," Mike D'Antoni, Rockets Head Coach said after the game. "We just took them out of what they like to do and it became most of their one-on-one players against our one-on-one players, and I will match up ours with anybody."

James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 63 points in the blow out victory. Houston (38-20) led the Grizzlies 35-17 at the end of the first quarter. Russ scored 13 points in less than 10 first quarter minutes. Harden scored 14 in the second quarter. Russ scored 12. Houston's Dynamic Duo combined for 46 (25 for Russ; 21 for Harden) of Houston's 73 points in the first half.

The Rockets led the Grizzlies 73-47 at halftime which means Russ and Harden scored 1 point less than the Grizzlies team in the first half.

"I think we did a great job of being locked in and doing what we're supposed to do and making sure we're consistent throughout the game," Russ said after the game.

Houston shot 66.7% (14 for 21) from the floor in the second quarter. James Harden made all 3 of his three-point attempts in the quarter and was 5 for 6 from the line.

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Austin Rivers scored 16 of his 23 points in the first three quarters on perfect 6 for 6 field goal shooting including 3 for 3 from three-point range.

Rivers' 23 points is a season-high for him. He's scored in double-figures in 10 of his past 18 games played after doing so 11 times over his first 36 games played. Rivers is averaging 2.1 threes made per game on 45.2% shooting over the past 16 games.

"Yeah, I think we just have a group right now that's really coming together on both ends of the floor," Rivers commented. "Obviously, James (Harden) and Russ (Russell Westbrook) set the tone every night. It just seems like right now everybody's finding their spots, everybody's finding their points of position."

Houston led by as much as 35 points (82-47) in the third quarter. The Grizzlies got within 18 (106-88) before Rivers scored the a driving layup and sank a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer for a 23 point lead (111-88) heading to the fourth quarter.

The Rockets' lead did not shrink below 21 points in the final quarter. Houston led by as much 33 points three times in the fourth and cruised to the 28 point victory.

The Rockets have won each of their past five games by double-digits which is Houston's longest streak of winning games by 10 or more points since a six-game span from March 28 to April 7, 2019.

Harden likes the defensive intensity the new players (Robert Covington, Jeff Green, and DeMarre Carroll) add to the team.

"That's what we all have to do, not just the new guys, from top to bottom," Harden commented. "Like, whoever is on the floor, you've got to bring it. You've got to make sure you're engaged and locked in. Obviously, there are going to be mistakes that happen through the course of the game; but, as much as we can eliminate mistakes, we give ourselves a chance. And, that's what we've been doing."

The Rockets next game is Saturday, February 29, on the road, against the Boston Celtics. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

Byron L. Riley, CPA; 832-303-3995; Do you need tax help? IRS Tax help available- Free Consult


Byron L. Riley, CPA; 832-303-3995; Do you need tax help? IRS Tax help available- Free Consult

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