Amen Thompson electric, but Rockets continue road misery in Memphis

In their final game before the NBA’s 2024 All-Star break, the Rockets (24-30) continued their road misery with Wednesday’s 118-108 loss (box score) to the Grizzlies (19-36). Houston is just 5-21 away from home this season, with the latest humiliation coming versus a lowly Memphis squad that had lost nine straight games going in.

Houston enters the break in the No. 12 spot of the Western Conference standings, 3.5 games behind Golden State for No. 10 and what would be the final berth of the 2024 play-in tournament.

Both teams were quite short-handed on Wednesday, with Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Marcus Smart, and Brandon Clarke among the key rotation players absent for Memphis. Those unavailable for the Rockets included Fred VanVleet, Tari Eason, and Cam Whitmore.

Starting for VanVleet, rookie guard Amen Thompson was a bright spot for the Rockets, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds while shooting 9-of-17 from the field (52.9%). But backcourt mate Jalen Green was a disaster, finishing with just 4 points and 3 assists in 23 minutes while shooting 2-of-7 overall (28.6%), 0-of-4 from 3-point range, and not earning a single fourth-quarter minute.

Granted, Green was far from alone in his shooting struggles. Starting forwards Dillon Brooks and Jabari Smith Jr. combined to shoot just 7-of-28 overall (25.0%) and 1-of-14 on 3-pointers (7.1%).

Alperen Sengun tallied 19 points (50% FG), 6 assists, and 5 rebounds, while Aaron Holiday added 17 points off the bench while making 5-of-8 from 3-point range (62.5%). Houston connected on just 10-of-34 from beyond the 3-point arc as a team (29.4%), and without Holiday, that dipped to a woeful 5-of-26 from distance (19.2%).

Memphis raced out to a 23-point lead midway through the first half before a furious Houston rally in the middle portions of the game gave the Rockets a two-point lead early in the fourth. But Houston couldn’t sustain that momentum, and in a familiar theme from recent weeks, the frantic rally wasn’t enough to get over the final hump.

Rookie forward GG Jackson led the Grizzlies with 20 points and 9 rebounds in only 24 minutes off the bench, making 8-of-15 shots (53.3%) and 3-of-5 from 3-point range (60.0%). Jaren Jackson Jr. added 18 points in 27 minutes on 3-of-6 shooting from 3-point range (50.0%), including a pair of big triples in the fourth to stem the tide.

Here’s our look at Wednesday’s highlights and postgame interviews, along with reaction by media members and fans. After the All-Star break, the Rockets return to action next Thursday, Feb. 22, in New Orleans. Tipoff versus the Pelicans is at 7:00 p.m. Central.

Feb. 14 Rockets-Grizzlies reaction

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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire