Grizzlies Can't Keep Rockets from 4th Quarter Blastoff Fall 82-71

HOUSTON (AP) - Yao Ming had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Ron

Artest added 16 in his Houston debut, and the Rockets overcame poor

shooting to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 82-71 on Wednesday night.

Luis Scola had 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Rockets, who

were held to  28-for-76 (36.8 percent) from the field by the Grizzlies tough defense.

The Rockets also went 5-for-16 from 3-point range and were outrebounded by Memphis 49-44.

Rudy Gay scored 20 and Darrell Arthur had 11 points and 15

rebounds for the Grizzlies, who've lost all eight season openers

since moving to Memphis in 2001.

Tracy McGrady, wearing a brace on his left shoulder and a wrap

below his left knee, had 16 points and five assists, but went

7-for-18 from the field.

Houston won this one with its defense, which ranked fourth in

the league in points allowed last season. Memphis shot 38 percent

from the field (31-for-81) and went 0-for-13 from 3-point range.

Artest had two steals and a breakaway layup in the first minute

of the game and the Rockets raced to an 11-2 lead.

But Artest and McGrady both had two turnovers apiece in the

first quarter to help the Grizzlies stay close. Gay scored 10

points on 5-for-9 shooting in the quarter and Houston led only


Both teams missed 8 of their first 10 shots in the second

quarter. Artest sank a 3-pointer near the 6-minute mark to put the

Rockets up 34-26, but the Grizzlies closed the gap to 37-35 on Marc

Gasol's three-point play with 2:49 left in the half.

The Rockets led 43-37 at the break, but McGrady walked off the

floor with his hands on his hips and a frustrated on his face look

after going 4-for-10 from the field. Houston was only 6-for-21 from

the field in the second quarter.

The Grizzlies closed the gap to one at the end of the third

despite Yao's circus shot. He flipped the ball over his head with

his left hand as Gasol was grabbing his right arm. Gasol was called

for a foul and Yao converted the three-point play, but the

Grizzlies scored the last six points of the third quarter and

trailed only 58-57.

With McGrady on the bench to start the final period, Memphis

took a brief lead on Arthur's breakaway dunk.

It was short-lived as Houston went back on top on Artest's drive

that made it 68-65. The game was tight heading into the final minute.

The Rockets led 75-71 when Rafer Alston sank his first 3-pointer

with 37.2 seconds left to finally put the game away.

The Rockets have won 13 of their last 15 home openers.

Notes: Arthur's 15 rebounds were three shy of the Grizzlies'

rookie record, set by Bryant Reeves in 1996. ... As expected,

Rockets F Shane Battier sat out with inflammation in his left foot.

Adelman said he was still uncertain on a timetable for Battier's

return. "We're going to have to wait and see," Adelman said.

"Only he can tell us." ... Pau's little Brother Marc Gasol had 12 points and 12 rebounds

for Memphis in his NBA Debut. Gasol showing hustle getting offensive Rebounds around Ming, and using his bulk and long arms for defensive pressure.

The Grizzlies come to FedExForum for their Home Opener Friday night.

It's against NBA Slam Dunk Champion Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic.