Rockets 100, Grizzlies 92

MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

HOUSTON -- Point guard Jeremy Lin sparked a comeback with 14 fourth-quarter points, and shooting guard James Harden finished with 27 points as the Houston Rockets erased a 13-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-92 Thursday night at Toyota Center.
Harden shot just 2-for-9 from the floor but made 22 of 25 free throws as Houston (20-11) rode a makeshift lineup throughout the final period.
Lin scored 18 points, while forward Chandler Parsons added 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who leaned heavily on little-used second-year forward/center Donatas Motiejunas down the stretch.
Motiejunas followed a block on the defensive end with a dunk in transition midway through the final period, building Houston's lead to 83-80 with 6:37 left. That sequence was at the heart of a 9-0 Rockets run.
Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph dominated the interior, pairing 23 points with 17 rebounds and five assists. However, he was the lone Memphis starter to score in double figures until guard Mike Conley (11 points, six assists) added a layup with just under 30 seconds left to play.
With center Dwight Howard saddled by foul trouble, the Rockets proved helpless on the glass against the Grizzlies (12-16). Randolph and Memphis center Kosta Koufos proved to be a particularly effective rebounding combo, especially during the Grizzlies' turnaround second quarter.
Memphis managed just six second-chance points in the first quarter despite grabbing eight offensive rebounds. The Grizzlies did a far superior job cashing in on their second opportunities in the second period, closing the half with 17 second-chance points off 14 offensive boards.
The Grizzlies seized control with an 19-4 run in the second period, combining exceptional help defense -- Houston mustered just one basket during one seven-minute stretch -- with a surprising burst from NBA Development League call-up James Johnson, who had 11 points and three steals in the half. He added just one point after halftime.
Johnson drilled a 3-pointer with 22.9 seconds left to give Memphis a 53-45 lead at the break, an advantage that swelled to 13 in the moments after Howard went to the bench with his fifth foul with 7:52 to go in the third.
NOTES: Rockets GM Daryl Morey announced the re-hiring of Gersson Rosas to co-lead the scouting and player personnel department along with Gianluca Pascucci. Rosas returns following an aborted three-month stint as general manager of the Dallas Mavericks. He previously spent nine years with the Rockets. "This is home," Rosas said. "There is some unfinished work to do, and I'm excited to be back to do it." ... Following his recall from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Development League, Grizzlies F James Johnson averaged 7.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 blocks in two starts. "He just gives us a level of athleticism we don't have," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "He's been right on trying to learn what we try to do and what his role might be." ... Grizzlies F Tayshaun Prince returned to the starting lineup after missing three games due to left knee soreness.

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