Problems on both ends of the floor prevented the Memphis Grizzlies from a three-game home winning streak.
The Houston Rockets could point to any number of reasons why their longest road winning streak of the season ended.
Memphis goes for a third consecutive home victory in this series on Tuesday night when the Rockets look to secure a winning record in the finale of their longest trip of the season.
The Grizzlies (14-14) had won two straight - both at home - following a 2-7 slump, but fell to 2-2 on their five-game homestand after Sunday's 98-88 loss to Utah.
The Jazz shot 50.6 percent, while Memphis had more turnovers (19) than assists (17) for the fifth time this season. The Grizzlies are averaging 88.1 points and shooting 40.3 percent in 12 games - eight of them losses - since a season-best seven-game winning streak.
"We don't make shots," coach Lionel Hollins said. "If we don't make shots, we can't score, no matter how good we play defense."
Hollins' club will now try to avoid dropping two in a row in Memphis for the first time since a three-game home skid Nov. 10-16, 2010. The Grizzlies have won their last two home meetings with the Rockets (16-12), including a 113-93 victory Dec. 30.
"Memphis is a tough place to win, they have a very physical team and we're going to have to shore up some stuff," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said.
Houston lost 106-97 at Golden State on Sunday, committing 19 turnovers as it dropped to 3-2 on its six-game road trip.
Leading scorer Kevin Martin had a solid effort for the Rockets in the defeat, making 5 of 11 3-point attempts and finishing with 28 points. He had totaled 16 points while shooting a miserable 19.2 percent from the field in the previous four stops on the trip.
Martin appears to have a good chance for a second consecutive strong outing, as his 25.8 career scoring average against Memphis trails only Kevin Durant (28.0) and LeBron James (27.7) among active players who have faced the Grizzlies at least 10 times. He hit three 3-pointers and finished with a team-best 21 points in the December loss.
Memphis starting point guard Mike Conley missed that matchup with an ankle injury, but Jeremy Pargo filled in admirably with 14 points and five assists. Conley is now back healthy, and had 17 points and six assists in Sunday's loss.
Rockets point guard Kevin Lowry, Conley's teammate in Memphis from 2007 until he was traded to Houston in 2009, had 15 points, eight assists and four steals the last time these teams played.
Perimeter defense is an area of concern for the Rockets, whose last four opponents have combined to shoot 44.8 percent (39 for 87) from 3-point range. Memphis may not be able to take full advantage, though, having gone 11 for 43 from beyond the arc during its homestand.
After concluding their longest road trip of the season, the Rockets will begin a season-high six-game homestand Wednesday versus league-leading Oklahoma City. That stretch includes a rematch with the Grizzlies next Monday.
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Houston Rockets