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Grizzlies 88, Rockets 87

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons set an NBA record for 3-pointers in one half but the Memphis Grizzlies relied on their defense late and held on for an 88-87 victory on Friday night at Toyota Center.

Grizzlies forward James Johnson converted a reverse layup with 1:58 remaining to give Memphis (21-20) an 88-84 lead. Parsons followed with his 10th trey, setting the franchise record and capping his career-best 34-point night to close the deficit to one point. But Parsons missed a 3 with 1:13 remaining as Houston mishandled several scoring opportunities, including a desperation Patrick Beverley trey at the buzzer.

Former Rockets guard Courtney Lee paced five Grizzlies in double figures with 19 points while guard Mike Conley added 14. Forward Zach Randolph chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds for the Grizzlies.

While Parsons shot 10-for-14 on 3s, Rockets guard James Harden paired 10 points with a career-high 13 assists while center Dwight Howard recorded his 29th double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Robert Horry and Jeremy Lin shared the Houston franchise record for 3-pointers in a single game with nine, with Lin matching the mark in a 123-117 overtime road loss against the Philadelphia 76ers on Nov. 13.

Parsons scored just four points on 1-for-2 shooting in the first half before catching fire in the third quarter, burying six 3s in the period to buoy the Rockets. Parsons drilled a pair of treys before Harden nailed one at the 5:59 mark of the period to give the Rockets a 52-47 lead.

The Rockets' slow start against the Grizzlies was hardly surprising given the pace set by Memphis in the two previous meetings this season. In both, the Grizzlies established a double-digit lead by stifling the Rockets' high-octane offense, and the first half Friday night fit the mold perfectly.

Memphis deserved credit for slowing the pace but the Rockets were equally culpable for their offensive woes, misfiring on their first 12 3-pointers, several of which were wide open and in the shortened corners.

Houston forward Omri Casspi snapped that drought with his trey with 50.9 seconds left in the half, but that followed a 9-2 run by the Grizzlies in which Memphis held the Rockets without a basket while Lee tallied six points around a Conley trey during that stretch. Memphis led 44-35 at the break and spent the second half trying to fend off Parsons.

NOTES: There was some pregame buzz that Grizzlies G Tony Allen was nearing a return from a sprained left wrist that has sidelined him since Jan. 5, but Memphis coach David Joerger snuffed those rumors with haste. Allen has missed eight consecutive games. "I'll let you know when it get close," Joerger said. "We're not close." ... Despite enjoying what can best be described as a bounce-back season, Rockets C Dwight Howard was not chosen as a starter among Western Conference All-Stars, finishing fourth behind frontcourt selections Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers and Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves. "It's understandable," said Howard, who is averaging 18.3 points and 12.6 rebounds. "Now with no centers on the ballot, we get mixed in with the Kevin Durants and Blakes -- guys who play small forward and power forward. It's a little bit different, but I'll do whatever I can to get back up to the top. That's my goal. The only way you do that is by winning, so that's what we're going to try to do."
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