97 - 109 Final
  for this game

Gay comes off bench to spark Grizzlies over shorthanded Rockets

Dec 9, 2008 - 4:51 AM By Jason Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Rudy Gay scored 20 points off the bench Monday to lead six Memphis Grizzlies in double figures in a 109-97 victory over the Southwest Division-leading Houston Rockets at FedEx Forum.

O.J. Mayo and Hakim Warrick each added 18 points for Memphis, which shot 51 percent (39-of-76) from the floor in earning its first win over a Southwest Division opponent this season.

"I thought it was a good response to the poor performance against New Orleans (on Saturday)," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "I like the way our guys came out with a lot of fire."

Luis Scola's 16-point, 15-rebound effort led Houston, which was without Tracy McGrady (sore left knee), Brent Barry (right calf) and Ron Artest (sore right ankle).

"We have never used injuries as an excuse, and we are not going to start now," Houston forward Shane Battier said. "We have enough good players in this locker room to win ballgames. We just didn't give the effort that is needed to win a game."

The Rockets never led but managed to cut a 22-point first-half deficit to just two points on three separate occasions in the third quarter.

But Warrick scored eight of the Grizzlies' final 15 points of the third quarter, helping Memphis build its lead to 83-75 after three. In all, the Grizzlies got a season-high 58 points from their bench in outscoring Houston's reserves by 30 points.

"Hakim, especially, gave us a spark when we needed it (in the third quarter). He kind of put the game away," Gay said.

Gay, who arrived late for a team shootaround Monday morning, was held out of the starting lineup by Iavaroni for the first time in 21 games this season after scoring a season-low six points in a 106-87 loss at New Orleans on Saturday.

"It was just one of those days where nothing went right," Gay said of his late arrival to Monday's shootaround. "I was just five minutes late. It was just one of those days.

"I guess I just wanted to impose my will. I didn't get a chance to start so I wanted to go out there and become a threat as soon as I could."

With Gay on the bench to start the game, Memphis stormed out to a 10-0 lead over the first 3:14 of the first quarter, as Quinton Ross and Kyle Lowry each buried 3-pointers to spark a sizzling long-range shooting effort in the first period.

Memphis finished the quarter 11-of-18 from the floor overall and 5-of-5 from 3-point range, outscoring Houston, 32-19, through one.

Memphis' first-half lead ballooned to 48-26 when Gay split a pair of free throws with 5:37 left.

But Houston responded with a 21-8 scoring run over the final 5:22 of the second quarter to slice Memphis' advantage to 56-47 by halftime. Battier sparked the run with one of the Rockets' five first-half 3-pointers.

"I don't think we shared the ball very well," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "Guys were trying to do too much on their own and weren't moving the ball around. I think it was the whole team. We just seemed to be out of sync. We made a run and seemed to get back into it, but we just couldn't get over the hump."

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