MEMPHIS – Sam Dekker scored a career-high 30 points, James Harden added 29 points and 10 assists and the Houston Rockets leaned on their usual 3-point offense to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 119-95 on Saturday night.
Eric Gordon added 21 points as the Rockets built the lead to as many as 20 in the fourth quarter before easily coasting home.
Dekker, making his first career start in place of the ill Ryan Anderson, made 12 of 19 shots, including 6 of 11 from outside the arc. Houston shot 51 percent overall and 38 percent from distance.
Marc Gasol scored 32 points and Mike Conley added 15 for the Grizzlies, who lost for the third time in the last four.
Memphis struggled shooting the entire night, finishing at 37 percent and unsuccessfully tried to follow the Rockets’ long-range attack but converted only 9 of 34 from outside the arc.
Even with Dekker starting instead of his normal reserve role, the Houston bench outscored the Memphis subs 44-29 as the Rockets dominated most aspects of the game.
Houston took the lead in the first half and never really let up the rest of the night in bouncing back from a home loss to Golden State on Friday.
After missing their first seven 3-pont shots to open the game, the Rockets converted a trio late in the first quarter to run the lead to double digits.
Meanwhile, the Rockets’ aggressive defense gummed up Memphis’ offensive flow. Houston defenders double-teamed Memphis and closed out on jumpers, resulting in the Grizzlies shooting under 30 percent in much of the second quarter.
That helped Houston stretch the lead to as many as 16 in the half before holding a 58-49 advantage at the break. Dekker already had 16 points to lead the Rockets, connecting on seven of his nine shots, missing only one of his three shots from outside the arc.
Gasol had 17 points to lead Memphis.
By the third quarter, the Rockets stretched the advantage to 91-72, and even when Memphis put together a bit of a rally in the fourth, it never cut the deficit to single digits.