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Memphis 22 28 20 26 96
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5:00 PM PT6:00 PM MT7:00 PM CT8:00 PM ET1:00 GMT9:00 6:00 PM MST8:00 PM EST5:00 UAE (+1)02:0020:00 ET7:00 PM CTNaN:� , November 11, 2017
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas  Attendance: 18,055

Rockets aim to continue scraping vs. Grizzlies

According to STATS
According to STATS

Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets

  1. This will be the third game between the Grizzlies and the Rockets in 2017-18 (their fourth and final meeting of the season will be on November 18). Memphis has won the first two games, including a 98-90 victory in Houston on October 23.
  2. The Grizzlies have pulled down fewer than 40 rebounds in each of their last four contests (2-2). The last time Memphis had a longer such streak was December 21-29, 2016, when it had fewer than 40 boards in five consecutive contests.
  3. The Rockets hit 16 three-pointers in Thursday's win over the Cavaliers. They have made 10+ three's in all but one of their games this season.
  4. Tyreke Evans has come off the bench to pour in 20+ points in each of his last four games. This is the longest streak by any player in a reserve role since Lou Williams had four consecutive games off the bench with 20+ points, February 10-23, 2017.
  5. Clint Capela is shooting 69.4 (68/98) percent from the field in 2017-18; entering this weekend, that led the NBA (minimum 3.7 FGM/team G). His field-goal percentage has improved every season (48.3% (2014-15), 58.2% (2015-16) & 64.3% (2016-17)).
  6. James Harden recorded his second triple-double of the season when he had 35 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists (along with five steals) in Thursday's win over Cleveland. Harden had 22 triple-doubles in 2016-17.

HOUSTON -- With star power in abundance and the high-scoring Cleveland Cavaliers occupying the visiting bench at Toyota Center on Thursday night, the Rockets took a bit of a detour from their established identity, displaying a resolve and a tenacity infrequently matched to their DNA yet critical to their aspirations for building a championship contender this season.

For three periods the Rockets were who they usually are. They had 100 points on the scoreboard entering the fourth quarter and hit that mark by blitzing the Cavaliers with 55.6 percent shooting and 14 3-pointers, more than Cleveland allowed per game entering play.

But then their offense bogged down due to fatigue and the Rockets (9-3) were forced to try something else to keep the Cavaliers at bay. The tactics they utilized featured second and third efforts on the offensive glass and a willingness to hit the floor for loose balls. Their ability to score and scrap paid dividends, and could again when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

"I told them there are different ways to win a game," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. "You can have points; you can outshoot them. But, when we out-scrap them, outplay them, and get all the 50-50 balls, get all the rebounds, that bodes well for nights that you are not on. We'll definitely take it, they played well."

With guard Chris Paul (knee) and forward Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) unavailable, the Rockets were shorthanded, and that lack of depth played a role in their late-game collapse on offense. D'Antoni tweaked his rotation and, with the Cavaliers going small, played P.J. Tucker at power forward. That strategy worked as Tucker corralled six offensive rebounds and produced the unselfish plays that make winners of teams accustomed to glamour and quality shot-making.

"If I'm at the four, I feel like can't nobody stop from getting offensive rebounds," Tucker said. "So, a lot of times I float through space. That's a lot of real estate to move in there and be able to sneak in there to get live rebounds. So, for me, I think those are plays that win games. We get an extra shot on at a 3-pointer. The way we shoot the ball, those swings, and-1s, (center) Clint (Capela) got an and-1, offensive rebounds, I think those are the plays that win games."

The Grizzlies (7-4) already own a pair of victories over Houston this season, fully embracing the multitude of ways the Rockets only recently discovered might be necessary to win. Memphis has shifted to a more up-tempo brand of offense, but it's rigorous defense remains.

In a scheduling quirk, the Grizzlies and Rockets will complete their four-game season series by Nov. 18, with Memphis again serving host to its Southwest Division rivals at FedEx Forum. The Grizzlies can claim a series victory with a win on Saturday, a result that might have value later.

"I'd rather get them all out of the way," Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said. "Get all four games out of the way as quick as possible. They're a good team and we always look forward to playing against the best in the league. It's going to be another battle."

Updated November 10, 2017

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