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Rockets use fourth quarter run to beat Grizzlies
Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - James Harden scored 27 points despite making just two field goals and the Houston Rockets used a big fourth-quarter run to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-92 on Thursday.
The Rockets made a 19-4 run with Dwight Howard on the bench, turning a 76-66 deficit into an 85-80 lead with 5 1/2 minutes remaining. Jeremy Lin scored 10 of his 18 points during the surge, the last two on an over-the-shoulder layup after dribbling the length of the court.
Harden was 22-of-25 on free throws. He scored the first Houston points of the game on a 3-pointer then didn't hit another field goal until there were under two minutes left in the game.
"I couldn't make a shot. I just tried to get to the rim," Harden said. "We were kind of stagnant throughout the middle of the game, especially the third quarter. So, I just wanted to get in attack mode."
Terrence Jones had 20 points and Chandler Parsons scored 15 with 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who were coming off a 13-point win over Southwest Division- leading San Antonio in a Christmas Day road game. They have won two in a row for the first time since Dec. 6 and 8.
Howard had two points on 1-of-5 shooting in 18 minutes. He checked out with 7:52 remaining in the third quarter after picking up his fifth foul and didn't return.
Zach Randolph scored 23 points with 17 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. They lost for the third time in their last nine road games.
The Rockets improved to 14-1 in their last 15 home games against Memphis -- the only loss coming in their last meeting in Houston on April 12.
They hadn't led since the second quarter when Harden made four straight free throws and Lin knocked down a 3-pointer to spark the 19-4 run. Lin hit another 3 and made two foul shots to give the Rockets an 81-80 lead and his acrobatic layup capped the surge for an 85-80 advantage.
Mike Conley, who scored 11, made a 3 to trim Memphis' lead to three points but Francisco Garcia was good from long range for Houston at the other end and the Rockets led by as many as nine down the stretch.
"They double teamed and we didn't get the space, we didn't make a lot of shots," Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger said of the Rockets' adjustments. "My hats are off to them. They're a really good team."
Earlier, Harden found Parsons for an alley-oop dunk on a 2-on-1 in the first quarter that gave the Rockets a 15-10 lead. They led by as many as eight in the quarter and took a 26-23 edge into the second.
Memphis used a 14-2 run to take the lead. Jerryd Bayless scored five points during the surge and James Johnson had the last four on consecutive dunks, the second a rim-shaker to make it 37-33.
The Grizzlies' lead reached nine in the quarter and was 53-45 at halftime behind 15 points and nine rebounds from Randolph. Jones scored 14 points in the first half to lead Houston and Harden had 12.
Memphis twice led by 13 in the third quarter, the last time on Tayshaun Prince's jumper midway through. The Rockets cut it from 12 points to six in the last two minutes of the quarter to go into the fourth down 72-66.
Johnson scored 12 for the Grizzlies ... The Rockets are 10-2 in their last 12 home games. They began a stretch in which they will play five of six at home, continuing Saturday against New Orleans ...The Grizzlies play Denver at home on Saturday.
12/27 00:33:32 ET
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