Desmond Bane scored 30 points, Ja Morant added 20 and the Memphis Grizzlies breezed by Houston 113-99 on Wednesday night to send the Rockets to their 11th straight loss.
Morant wasn’t nearly as dominant against Houston as he was Tuesday night when he scored 28 of his 39 points in the third quarter of a win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
The game came after a police report said he allegedly flashed a gun at a 17-year-old boy after punching him in the head and threatened a member of mall security staff last summer.
Morant also had seven assists and seven rebounds against the Rockets without playing in the fourth quarter to help the Grizzlies to their third straight victory. The win snapped an eight-game road skid in the opener of a four-game road trip and was the Grizzlies’ first victory away from Memphis since January 14 at Indiana.
‘Our focus was just trying to right the ship,’ coach Taylor Jenkins said. ‘And any time you can start a road trip with a victory, it just gives you a different mentality for the rest.’
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) puts up a reverse lay up against the Houston Rockets
Morant reacts after sinking a three-point shot against the Houston Rockets during the first half
After scoring the final six points of the third quarter, Bane – who had nine rebounds and six assists – opened the fourth with five points, capped by a 3-pointer, to extend the Grizzlies’ lead to 90-68.
Houston scored the next five points, including a 3 by Josh Christopher, but the Grizzlies used an 8-1 spurt to make it 98-74 with nine minutes to go. Jenkins took most of his starters out soon after that with the game out of hand.
Bane discussed the difference in the team after halftime.
‘We made some adjustments and we were able to get some stops that allowed us to get out in transition,’ he said. ‘We were getting great shots in the first half and they weren’t falling, but in the second half they started to fall.’
Bane made six of the team’s 17 3-pointers and Dillon Brooks added four and finished with 16 points.
Jalen Green scored 20 points and Kenyon Martin Jr. 19 for Houston.
Green was disappointed the Rockets let things get away from them in the third quarter after staying close early.
‘I’m not sure exactly what happened,’ he said. ‘They just hit big shots, started hitting 3s and stuff. We were pretty solid on defense overall during the game, they just go on that run and we couldn’t catch up.’
Memphis Grizzlies Desmond Bane, front, drives around Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr.
Memphis led by 3 early in the third quarter before going on a 16-5 run to make it 69-55 with 5½ minutes left in the quarter. The Grizzlies got one 3 from Bane and two from Brooks to power that run.
A 3-pointer by Tari Eason got Houston within 11 later in the third when Morant made a nifty backwards shot in the lane before hitting another short shot on the next possession to make it 79-64.
Jae´Sean Tate made consecutive baskets for Houston, but Bane scored the last six points of the quarter to leave the Grizzlies ahead 85-68 entering the fourth.
‘I thought our execution was pretty much the same for all four quarters,’ Jenkins said. ‘We just started making shots in that third, got us that juice that we needed to build a nice lead going into the fourth.’
KNICKS 142, NETS 118
Jalen Brunson scored 30 of his 39 points in the first half as New York rolled to its seventh straight victory, routing Brooklyn.
The Knicks made nearly 80 percent of their shots in a 47-point first quarter and coasted to their second victory over the Nets since their city rivals traded Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Brooklyn had won the previous nine meetings, including the first two this season.
Quentin Grimes scored 22 points and Julius Randle added 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Knicks opened a two-game lead over the Nets for the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Cam Johnson scored a season-high 33 points for the Nets. They have lost four straight.
Knicks’ Jalen Brunson dribbles up the court during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets
BUCKS 139, MAGIC 117
Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points and NBA-leading Milwaukee hit a season-high 26 3-pointers to rout Orlando and extend their winning streak to 16 games.
The Bucks’ franchise record for consecutive wins came in their 1970-71 championship season, when they won 20 straight.
Orlando’s Cole Anthony scored a season-high 28 points. Markelle Fultz added 21.
Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives against Orlando Magic’s Franz Wagner
76ERS 119, HEAT 96
Tyrese Maxey scored 27 points, James Harden added 23 as Philadelphia took control early on the way to a victory over Miami.
Tobias Harris scored 18 points, while Paul Reed had 16 points, 14 rebounds and was plus-26 in 29 minutes for the 76ers, who played without All-Star center Joel Embiid – out with left foot soreness. The 76ers are 9-4 when Embiid doesn’t play this season.
Bam Adebayo scored 20 points for the Heat. They beat Philadelphia on the road Monday but trailed by 25 in the rematch at home.
Philadelphia 76ers Tyrese Maxey (0) dribbles the ball against Miami Heat forward Caleb Martin
CELTICS 117, CAVALIERS 113
Jayson Tatum scored 18 points in a pivotal third quarter and finished with 41 points as Boston held on to beat Cleveland.
Tatum added 11 rebounds and eight assists in Boston’s first victory in three games against Cleveland this season. With his 20th career 40-point game, the 24-year-old Tatum surpassed Giannis Antetokounmpo for seventh place on the NBA´s scoring list for players under 25.
Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell scored 44 points and sidestepped an injury following a fall in the third quarter.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) drives to the basket against Cleveland Cavaliers
LAKERS 123, THUNDER 117
Dennis Schroder scored 26 points and short-handed Los Angeles beat Oklahoma City.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis both were out with right foot injuries and D’Angelo Russell sat out because of a sprained right ankle.
Troy Brown Jr. scored a season-high 19 points and Austin Reaves added 19 for the Lakers. They have won four of five.
Jalen Williams scored 24 points for the Thunder. Oklahoma City is 0-5 since the All-Star break.
Lakers Dennis Schroder goes to the basket past Oklahoma City Thunder forward Dario Saric
BULLS 117, PISTONS 115
Zach LaVine scored 41 points and Detroit called one too many timeouts, helping Chicago hold on for a victory.
The Pistons were trailing by two points with 9.7 seconds left when they called a second straight timeout – one more than they had – to trigger a technical foul that gave LaVine a free throw that he made.
DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points, including two at the line on the extra possession the Pistons gave the Bulls to help seal their 14th straight win in the series.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 34 for the Pistons. They have dropped six straight games for the third time this season.
Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine (8) shoots over Detroit Pistons guard Killian Hayes (7)
PELICANS 121, TRAIL BLAZERS 110
Brandon Ingram had a season-high 40 points and the New Orleans Pelicans beat Portland 121-110 on Wednesday night in the first showdown between Damian Lillard and former Trail Blazers teammate CJ McCollum.
McCollum added 24 points to help the Pelicans snap a four-game losing streak.
Lillard scored 41 points for the Trail Blazers. He pumped both fists while he was down on the court after making a tough floater in the third quarter, and he added a free throw to give the Blazers an 85-80 lead.
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (left) drives to the basket against New Orleans