MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—A lot of late hustle added up to a fourth-quarter comeback for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Memphis preserved the win with three offensive rebounds and a struggle for a loose ball that resulted in two free throws by Posey with 17.8 seconds left.
“We just kept fighting and making big plays down the stretch,” Posey said. “They missed some shots and we got the rebound when we needed to. When it is crunch time, you have to be able to go for the ball, which we did. It’s an effort you have to give.”
The Grizzlies won their fifth straight and eighth in their last nine. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Houston.
Memphis trailed by eight early in the fourth quarter, but went on a 16-2 run led by Gasol’s eight points and six by Posey.
Houston got within three points twice in the final 2:30, but could never take the lead.
“We shouldn’t have even been in that position,” said Steve Francis, who led Houston with 23 points. “We were up and let them get back in, and that hurts.”
The game started after a 20-minute delay because of problems with the lights at the arena.
Gasol connected on 10 of 13 shots from the field, as three Memphis players finished with double-doubles.
Memphis dominated the boards 50-35, including 20 offensive rebounds contributing to 25 second-chance points.
“That’s a major stat, the No. 1,” Memphis coach Hubie Brown said of the offensive edge. “You can’t allow them to hurt you on the boards.”
“They got a lot of loose balls,” Francis said. “They had people diving for them, and we had people diving for them. They just got more of them, especially Posey.”
The Rockets, who trailed by as many as eight in the second quarter, closed the half with seven unanswered points to tie the game at 45.
The Rockets erased an 11-point Memphis lead in the third with a 24-7 run to close the period.
The Grizzlies turned the ball over with poor interior passing, leading to 3-pointers from Jackson, Francis and Mobley, helping the Rockets take a 71-67 lead into the fourth. The Rockets hit 5-of-7 from 3-point range in the quarter.
“We feel that in the fourth, the other team is more tired than we are, and we have more energy, which allows us to make out shots,” Memphis centerLorenzen Wright said.
In honor of Martin Luther King Day, the Grizzlies recognized several coaches and players, such Al Attles, Clifford Ray, John Thompson and Patrick Ewing, Memphis C Lorenzen Wright and his father, Herb, and former Memphis State coaches Gene Bartow and Larry Finch. … Both teams hit 33 of 77 shots from the field for 43 percent. … The Rockets are now 19-6 when leading after three periods. … Memphis continues to add to its team record of most wins prior tothe All-Star break (22). The previous high was 14 in 1999-00.