MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Houston Rockets didn’t let Sunday’s anemic performance at Miami carry over into the second night of a back-to-back.
With James Harden leading the way with 44 points, Houston was much more solid on Monday night, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 107-100.
After the game, many of the Rockets referenced the 129-100 loss to the Heat, in which Houston trailed by 41 points in the first half.
“We got smacked in the mouth in the first quarter. That should leave a mark,” coach Mike D’Antoni said before the game.
Harden carried the load for the Rockets, who shot 38% from the field and were without Russell Westbrook, who took the night off for rest. The former MVP finished 12 of 28 from the field, including 7 of 16 from 3-point range. He added 10 rebounds and six assists.
Harden said a better energy level contributed to a better performance.
“When you bring energy to the game, good things happen for you and for our team,” Harden said. “If you don’t bring energy (and) you’re not active, good things won’t happen. That’s what happened (Sunday) night.”
Eric Gordon added 16 points, while Danuel House Jr. scored 15. Clint Capela had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Rookie Ja Morant led Memphis with 23 points and six assists. Dillon Brooks scored 17 points. Jonas Valanciunas had 10 points and 10 rebounds. Morant was 10 of 16 from the field.
There were 15 ties and seven lead changes, and the game was tied at 70 midway through the third period.
Memphis, which has seen leads dwindle with poor second-half performances, saw Houston score 11 straight points, including six by Harden, to break the tie and build a cushion. Memphis never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
“Tough third quarter, in a sense, for both teams,” Memphis first-year coach Taylor Jenkins…