Grizzlies snap losing streak with 121-113 win over Houston Rockets

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Despite several valiant efforts by a cobbled-together squad, the Grizzlies’ recent losing streak swelled to nine games. And after yet another 10-day contract player joined the team, the Grizzlies went out and snapped their losing streak, defeating the Houston Rockets, 121-113.

Memphis continues to play hard, no matter who they put on the court. The Grizzlies opened a 15-point lead after the first quarter (36-21), shooting hot from three-point range and connecting on eight three-pointers. GG Jackson, returning from his one-game suspension, had 10 points in the quarter, while Luke Kennard added 9.

In the second quarter, the Grizzlies remained hot but couldn’t sustain the momentum. They led by as many as 22 points on several occasions, the last time being with 7:33 left in the half (50-28). However, the Rockets cut deep into the Grizzlies’ lead, going on a 21-8 run to make it 58-49 at the half.

Jackson led all scorers with 15 points at the half. Jaren Jackson Jr. had to go to the bench with three personal fouls. Former Grizzlies star Dillon Brooks led the Rockets with 10 points in the half.

Despite being outscored 32-26 in the third quarter, Memphis led at the end of the quarter, 84-81. The Rockets connected on three three-pointers and played total team ball, with nine of the ten players who played scoring.

The Rockets took their first lead in the second half with 10:07 left in the game on a free throw by Amen Thompson (88-87). The game continued back and forth, but in the end, it was time for Jaren Jackson Jr. to take over. He scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to secure the win for the Grizzlies, marking only their sixth home win of the season.

“Everyone was hot early and got that big lead,” Jaren said about the team’s performance. “To withstand that punch as a unit. There were a lot of swings early in the game. Big play from everybody, it was great to see.”

During the game, former Grizzlies player Dillon Brooks competed hard against Memphis, but before and after the game, it was all love. Many players chatted with him during his pre-game workout and after the final horn. He is still part of the DNA of the Grizzlies.

The Rockets (24-30) had four players score 19 points: Brooks, Thompson, Aaron Holiday, and Jabari Smith Jr. They outrebounded the Grizzlies 56-46.

“As I said, we kind of crash-coursed when we put this together,” Taylor Jenkins said about the team getting adjusted. “Overall, I’m just really proud of the group’s effort, especially Jordan [Goodwin] and Lamar. I thought Lamar did some wonderful things defensively, rebounding in particular.”

This game was a total team win where everyone contributed to ending the losing streak. The bench scored 57 points. Luke Kennard had 19 points, including making 4 of 6 from three-point range. Vince Williams Jr. continues to improve on his all-around game with 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists.

GG Jackson finished with 20 points.

“It definitely feels good,” GG said on snapping the losing streak. “NBA players, or any athletes really, hate to lose. Coach was expressing to us after each one of those losses that you have to get on to the next one. It’s an 82-game season, and anything can happen. You don’t want to let it get away from you too much. We had to reel it back in and get back to our principles, and luckily it paid off.”

 

Two players who weren’t even in Memphis seven days ago, Stevens and Goodwin, had 14 and 10 points, respectively.

“It is just good communication and talking throughout the game,” Stevens said about the team’s chemistry. “We are trying to get on the same page. We were talking on the defensive end how we were going to adjust and play together. It is like putting a puzzle together and trying to figure it out. It is a bunch of good guys that want to win.”

Jordan Goodwin, a 6-foot-3 guard, joined the team and serves as insurance for Jacob Gilyard and Scotty Pippen Jr., who are limited in the number of games they can play. A native of Centreville, Illinois, Goodwin played at Saint Louis University and for the NBA G-League team, the Capital City Go-Go, where he averaged 16.2 points and 6.1 rebounds. He has played for the Washington Wizards and the Phoenix Suns over three seasons.

“Jordan is just now learning the playbook,” Jenkins said. “We’re trying to keep it really simple, but as you said, we want not just those guys but all of our guys to play with freedom. Those guys were a huge boost for us tonight. Obviously, we need contributions from everyone who’s playing team ball, and that led to our victory tonight.”

Next up for the Grizzlies will be a national television game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, Feb. 15, on TNT. This will be the last game before the All-Star break. You never know what you are going to get with this game. Most of the players have flights booked to various destinations that don’t include basketball.