News » Rockets learn from mistakes and roll Adelman's 865th career win a rout of Grizzlies ROCKETS: Points flow, but defense is key


Rockets learn from mistakes and roll Adelman's 865th career win a rout of Grizzlies ROCKETS: Points flow, but defense is key


Rockets learn from mistakes and roll Adelman's 865th career win a rout of Grizzlies ROCKETS: Points flow, but defense is key Rockets update

Wednesday: Rockets 104, Grizzlies 79.

Record: 5-3.

Friday: At Sacramento, 9 p.m.

TV/radio: FSH; 610 AM and 850 AM (Spanish).

As much as the Rockets left Dallas determined not to make the mistakes that beat them Tuesday, by Wednesday they had a better idea.

Rather than correct their own missteps, the Rockets copied the Mavericks' formula from the night before. They walked through a close first half, listened to their coach rip into them at halftime, then blew the game open after that.

The difference was that the Rockets were playing the woeful Grizzlies, so they never had to climb out of a hole before demolishing Memphis 104-79 at Toyota Center. The Rockets' biggest rout of the season was the 865th win of Rick Adelman's NBA coaching career, moving him past Jack Ramsay into sole possession of 11th place on the all-time list.

"Our intention (starting the second half) was to come out and try to have a spurt," guard Aaron Brooks said. "Dallas did it to us last game. There was a bad taste in our mouth. We realized we had to come out and play hard, don't let them hit us first, and that's what we did."

The Rockets scored more fast-break points (27) and points in the paint (62) than in any previous game this season. Trevor Ariza had a career-high seven assists. Luis Scola had a season-high 22 points. Kyle Lowry had a season-high 10 assists. And with seven consecutive 100-point games, the Rockets have their longest such streak since early in the 1995-96 season.

Yet their biggest improvement in 24 hours was on defense.

The Rockets held Memphis to 38 first-half points, then turned up the defense even more in the second half, mixing in a barrage of fast-break scoring to blow the game open.

"We started the first half very, very slow," Lowry said. "At halftime, Coach gave us a good talking to. As players, we all got into each other. This is the type of game that shows what kind of team we are going to be, and we responded real good in the second half."

Finger wag returns

By the time the lead reached 21 points, the Rockets were enjoying themselves. Carl Landry swatted a Rudy Gay drive and then, while on the seat of his pants, did a Dikembe Mutombo finger wag to the delight of Mutombo in the front row. Landry would repeat the act minutes later when he got a piece of a Gay dunk attempt.

Gay was done for the night seconds later, finishing with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting.

"When I saw Deke walk into the building, he just gave me much more energy," Landry said. "I was excited about seeing him. I told my teammates I was going to get the block and then do the finger wag, and that's what happened. Actually, I got two."

The Rockets had taken a 74-57 lead into the fourth quarter, but it was not until the Grizzlies closed within 12 points that the Rockets took off, turning defense into fast breaks and breaks into dunks. Ariza and Chase Budinger took Lowry passes to slams, with Budinger's giving the Rockets an 87-66 lead four minutes into the fourth.

Budinger added a 3-pointer with four minutes left to give the Rockets a 95-72 lead.

"At halftime, we talked about the fact that we didn't come out with the energy we needed," Adelman said. "The first half, we didn't have a spark. The third quarter, we really turned it on and played much better, got into the open court and got fast breaks."

Landry extends hot run

Scoring hadn't really been much of a problem. The Rockets got good shots all night, but they were unable to hit 3s to blow the game open earlier. They started to roll when they shifted the offense to the paint.

There was little question about what would happen when the Rockets attacked the rim. When Landry took a Lowry pass to a slam late in the third quarter, he had 15 points in 15 minutes, and the Rockets had a 15-point lead.

Landry finished with 20 points for his career-high seventh consecutive game scoring in double figures.

"The lane was open all night," Ariza said. "We started being more aggressive and taking the ball in the paint and getting more offensive rebounds. We were getting out and getting easy buckets.

"We didn't play hard or come hard in the first half. We felt that we were a better team than that."

jonathan.feigen@chron.com


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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 13, 2009

 

 
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