Player grades from the Rockets’ bounce-back victory over Grizzlies

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Houston Rockets

Houston Rockets James Harden (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The Houston Rockets were back in action on Sunday for their second preseason game.

The Houston Rockets had their second scrimmage of the preseason on Sunday evening, facing the Memphis Grizzlies, who currently hold the eighth seed and final spot in the Western Conference playoff race. The Rockets faced the Grizzlies three times during the regular season, posting a 2-1 record.

But that was months ago, which was essentially an entirely different season, considering the amount of time that’s passed since they faced off. The Rockets lost their first scrimmage against the Toronto Raptors by a score of 94-83, although they were winning when Mike D’Antoni pulled James Harden out of the game at the end of the third quarter.

One major thing that stood out against the Raptors was the Rockets’ lack of productivity from the second unit, as their bench was outscored 41-23, in large part due to Jeff Green and Ben McLemore going a combined 1-for-9 from long-range. Sunday yielded much different results from Green and McLemore, as they scored 44 points combined.

The Rockets’ 3-point shooting was significantly better than in their preseason opener, as they made 43.1 percent of their threes against Memphis, compared to just 29.2 percent of their triples against the defending champs. The Rockets closed out the first quarter with a 30-27 lead, and they went 7-of-11 from deep, although they lost the battle of the fastbreak points by a significant margin of 18-0.

The Rockets stretched their lead to an eleven-point margin late in the second quarter but led 59-50 at the end of the first half, shooting 11-of-23 from deep. The Grizzlies stormed back, however, as they took a 87-76 lead in the third quarter, and closed out the quarter with a 87-79 lead. The Grizzlies had a 37-point scoring barrage in the third period, but the Rockets put out the flame in the fourth, outscoring Memphis 41-17.

Let’s assess each individual Rockets performance.

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