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Battier, Jones Spark Grizzlies as Rockets Lose Sixth Straight, 81-86

By Dennis L. Silva, II.
11.25.06

These past few game recaps are starting to become more and more similar with each passing game. The Rockets again got off to a fast start and stayed within close distance with Memphis before failing to execute offensively in the fourth quarter, enabling Memphis to gain an 86-81 victory before 18,119 at FedExForum in Memphis.

The Rockets scored the first eleven points of the game, and held as much as a 13-4 lead in the first period of the game. Sparked by David Wesley’s three early 3-pointers, the Rockets were able to attack Memphis’ defense before Eddie Jones and Bobby Jackson led a Memphis rally, and closed to within two points heading into the second quarter. From there, the teams exchanged punches as the game remained close and neither team was able to gain a full advantage over the other. At halftime, the game was a 37-37 dead-all tie.

The game remained a deadlock tie at 72-72 until Eddie Jones (who finished the game with 17 points on 4-7 3-point shooting) hit a long 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to give Memphis a 75-72 lead. From there, clutch baskets by forward Shane Battier (who abused the Rockets with his shooting off the pick-and-pop plays) and late baskets by Pau Gasol inside enabled Memphis to secure the lead for good. Offensively, Houston tried to get Yao the ball in the low post but was unsuccessful, as Yao was never able to establish position and allowed the more aggressive Memphis players to swipe and grab and knock the ball away. Despite six players scoring in double figures, the Rockets lost their sixth straight contest, 81-86.

The primary culprit of tonight’s loss was (and has been) the Rockets’ lack of a go-to player when it gets late in the fourth quarter. Their defense has kept them close in games but the amount of energy they spend defensively becomes their downfall when it comes to the offensive end. Players are making tired passes and Yao is consumed by fatigue so he has yet to be that second go-to scoring threat that the Rockets need him to be. Yao finished with another double-double (15 points and 12 rebounds) but shot a mediocre 4-13 from the field.

The Rockets travel back home to Houston to play the Chicago Bulls tomorrow night at Toyota Center. Houston has not won on their home court since the opening night victory against Sacramento, although reports are that it is probable that Tracy McGrady (who has missed the last four games due to back strains) will play.


ROCKETS RECAP

· Battier finished with 20 points on 9-17 shooting, including several baskets late in the fourth quarter that sealed the Grizzlies’ victory
· In his return to Memphis after leaving as a free agent this summer, Stromile Swift compiled 10 points and 4 rebounds (along with 4 fouls and 5 turnovers) in 18 minutes.
· The Rockets committed 18 turnovers, compared to only 12 giveaways for Memphis.
· The Grizzlies managed 18 more shot-attempts than Houston, and also outscored the Rockets 28-16 in the paint.
· Luther Head continued his stellar play as a starter, scoring 10 points, dishing 8 assists, and accumulating 2 steals in 41 minutes. Derek Anderson continued his string of nice offensive games, with 16 points and 3 rebounds off the bench.


http://www.nba.com/games/20051125/HOUMEM/boxscore.html
 

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Demiloy said:
You forgot to mention that Yao had 6 straight points late in the fourth that kept the Rockets close.
True, but he also had 2 or 3 crucial turnovers and a few missed shots that should have been easy makes...not only that, but he's getting too tired late so we have to rest him 2-3 minutes in the fourth when that shouldnt be the case...
 
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