Grizzlies Grounded by Rockets in Houston - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

Grizzlies Grounded by Rockets in Houston

HOUSTON (AP) - The Houston Rockets didn't lose in February.

March is likely to be a lot more difficult.

Tracy McGrady had 25 points and six assists, and the Rockets

beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-95 on Friday night to extend their

winning streak to 14, the longest in the NBA this season.

They are one shy of the longest winning streak in franchise

history, reached twice, with the last time coming in their

championship season of 1993-94. It was Houston's 18th win in the

last 19 games and its second straight since losing All-Star center

Yao Ming for the season with a stress fracture in his left foot.

They'll try to match the record on Sunday against Denver.

"It's great. It was a short term goal of ours and we

accomplished that," McGrady said of going 14-0 in February. "But

despite our sweeping February, we still can't be overconfident.

We've got an offensive team coming in here Sunday and we've got to

keep it going."

The Rockets remain in seventh place in the Western Conference

despite their streak and face New Orleans twice in March and also

play both San Antonio and the Lakers.

Coach Rick Adelman said he finds it strange that people try to

diminish the Rockets' mark this month because they beat several bad

teams.

"It's always interesting because early in the year we were

playing all those good teams and we were .500 back and forth and

you weren't doing the job," he said. "And now you sweep the month

and people bring up the fact that you only played four or five good

teams. ... I think it's a terrific accomplishment."

The Grizzlies have lost seven straight.

This one was never close, with Houston jumping out to a 14-0

lead and keeping a double-digit lead for the rest of the game. It

marks the first time in franchise history the Rockets have won five

straight games by 10 points or more, and the second in a row in

which they haven't trailed.

McGrady had 12 points in the third and didn't play in the

fourth.

The Rockets started Dikembe Mutombo in Yao's place the second

game, but also used Carl Landry and Luis Scola. Mutombo finished

with 13 rebounds, four points and four blocks in 18 minutes, while

Scola and Landry had 15 points apiece.

"They might run into a tough stretch of games, but there is no

reason not to expect they can keep this going without Yao," coach

Marc Iavaroni said. "This is a very good team with a lot of

weapons and they are playing at the top of their game."

Landry got the crowd going on a slam dunk in the fourth quarter

where he was pushed by Kwame Brown. The free throw that followed

pushed Houston's lead to 100-78 with about 8 minutes left.

Reserves finished the game for Houston.

Memphis shot just 39 percent and was outrebounded 53-40.

Rookie Javaris Crittenton led the Grizzlies with a career-high

22 points and Kyle Lowry matched his career best with 18.

Houston struggled early in the second quarter, scoring just two

points in the first 3½ minutes. Memphis didn't do much better

though, scoring only six points in that span to cut the lead to

39-23.

Mutombo had a dunk before Memphis scored six straight points to

get within 41-29 about seven minutes before halftime. Houston led

60-41 at halftime.

The Rockets scored the first 14 points of the game before Juan

Carlos Navarro's jump shot got Memphis on the board with about 8

minutes left in the quarter. Before that basket, the Grizzlies

missed four shots and had two turnovers. Houston then scored nine

straight points, capped by a 3-pointer by Rafer Alston, to make it

23-2.

"Early in the game we got pummeled," Iavaroni said. "We

missed a lot of open shots and we were so open it seemed like it

messed with our minds."

Memphis trailed 37-17 at the end of the first quarter.

"(Memphis) is a team that is playing for nothing," Mutombo

said. "So ... you have to let them know that it's not going to be

an easy night for them. You want to knock them right away and I

think that's what we did."

Luther Head added 15 points for Houston and Battier had 13.

Notes: Mutombo and Darko Milicic were both given technicals after

they got tangled up and jawed at each other for a few seconds in

the second quarter. ... Bobby Jones, who was signed to a 10-day

contract on Tuesday, had two points for Houston.

The Grizzlies are back home Saturday night 7pm against the Utah Jazz at FedExForum.

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