NBA Game Summary - Memphis at Houston
(Wednesday, October 29th)
Final Score: Houston 82, Memphis 71
Houston, TX (Sports Network) - Yao Ming had a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets past the Memphis Grizzlies, 82-71, in the season-opener for both clubs.
Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest both ended with 16 points for the Rockets, who finished with a 55-27 record and a playoff berth last year. Luis Scola chipped in 12 points and 13 rebounds in the win. Artest, who was acquired in August, went 6-of-14 from the field in his Rockets debut.
"Just play basketball and play to win," Artest said of his role with his new team. "I've been in this league a long time and you have to play unselfishly and when you have goals, you really don't have time to role play."
Rudy Gay scored 20 points for the Grizzlies, who finished 22-60 and last in the Southwest Division for the second straight season last year. Marc Gasol had 12 points to match his 12 boards and Darrell Arthur ended with 11 points and 15 boards. O.J. Mayo, the third overall pick in this past summer's draft, had 10 points on 5-of-20 shooting in defeat.
"I think we did a good job defensively," said Arthur. "We couldn't hit our open shots. It's a new experience for O.J. and me trying to get something going. We're a young team. We have a lot to learn this year. Hopefully we'll get our chemistry going to get our offense where it needs to be."
With Memphis down two, 68-66, with 5 1/2 minutes left, McGrady tallied a jumper and hit a free throw 30 seconds later for a five-point lead.
The teams traded baskets and two Mike Conley shots from the charity stripe made it 75-71 with just under a minute left. However, Rafer Alston then drained a three-pointer and Yao added a pair from the line to make it a nine- point affair with 29 ticks remaining, all but sealing the victory.
A pair of Artest layups and a Yao dunk then tip-in, coupled with a McGrady three-pointer, gave the Rockets an early 11-2 lead.
Houston held Memphis at bay in the first and took a 26-18 lead into the second stanza.
The Rockets assumed an 11-point lead on Luther Head's jumper, but a 12-4 run by the Grizzlies made it a three-point contest, 35-32. Hakim Warrick hit a pair of free throws to spark the run and Conley's jump shot closed it out with 4:09 left in the half.
Memphis was within one-possession late in the half, but Scola's layup served as the catalyst for a 6-2 Houston run to close out the second quarter. The surge sent the Rockets into the break ahead 43-37.
"I think we did a good job defensively the whole game," said Scola. "It's the first game so we're not where we want to be. We need to take smarter shots and let our veterans take over."
The Rockets managed just 15 points in the third quarter, which allowed the Grizzlies to make it a game, 58-57, heading into the fourth.
Memphis took its first lead of the game, 61-60, at 10:41 of the fourth quarter, but missed 4-of-8 free throws in the final frame.
Yao appeared in 55 games before going down with a season-ending foot problem last year...Houston's Shane Battier missed all of the preseason with swelling in his foot and did not play Wednesday...Artest, a former first-round draft pick by the Chicago Bulls in 1999, averaged 20.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 57 games for the Sacramento Kings last season...The Rockets went 3-1 against the Grizzlies last season and have won four straight and eight of the previous nine meetings. Memphis has lost its last five at Houston.
10/30 00:59:49 ET