James Harden recorded his second consecutive triple-double while Gerald Green supplied heroics off the bench as the visiting Houston Rockets earned their third successive win and climbed back to .500 with a 105-97 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.
Harden finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, sinking three free throws with 1:16 remaining to extend the Houston lead to 101-91 and mute the Grizzlies for good. Memphis had sliced a 21-point deficit to six points on two Mike Conley free throws but got no closer.
The Grizzlies have dropped four of five games, including back-to-back contests at home. Conley finished with 22 points and six assists while Marc Gasol added 17 points and nine rebounds. Rookies Jaren Jackson Jr. (nine points, seven rebounds, three blocked shots) and Jevon Carter (11 points, two steals), who made his NBA debut, were instrumental in the comeback.
Green scored 17 points with 4-for-4 shooting on 3-pointers. Clint Capela (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Chris Paul (10 points, 10 assists) added double-doubles for the Rockets.
The Rockets collapsed in the third quarter and needed Green to resuscitate them. Memphis opened the second half with an 11-0 run to slice the deficit to 10 points before Green snapped the Rockets’ drought with a 3 at the 5:51 mark. He followed with another trey and seemingly provided inspiration for Harden, who added back-to-back 3-pointers that enabled Houston to reclaim its footing and stave off the Memphis surge.
Green added another 3-pointer plus three free throws to run his total in the third to 12 points. He and Harden accounted for all 18 points scored by the Rockets in the third period. Houston still maintained a 14-point lead entering the fourth.
The Rockets thrived prior to the intermission. Harden converted his first five shot attempts while scoring 16 first-quarter points. Houston shot 72.2 percent in the opening frame to lead 36-29 and later extended it to a 21-point advantage. Gasol (15 points) was the lone Memphis player to score in double figures prior to the break.
—Field Level Media