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New pickup Artest has great start as Rockets top Grizzlies

Oct 8, 2008 - 3:30 AM By Gene Duffy PA SportsTicker Staff Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Houston Rockets coach Rick Adelman said that newcomer Ron Artest had been a positive addition in practice. The forward proved to be an outstanding contributor in games as well.

Artest had 15 points and six rebounds in his debut with the Rockets, a 96-93 exhibition victory over the Memphis Grizzlies at the Toyota Center on Tuesday.

Acquired from the Sacramento Kings in an offseason trade, Artest began strong, collecting 12 points and four rebounds in the first quarter alone.

Aaron Brooks added 13 points, including the go-ahead on a drive with 16 seconds to play, and Brent Barry added a pair of free throws with two seconds left en route to finishing with 10 points.

Reserve forward Carl Landry also had a big start, collecting 10 points and six boards in 11 minutes in the first half as Houston took a 46-43 lead.

Signed to an offer sheet by the Charlotte Bobcats in the offseason that the Rockets chose to match, Landry finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.

O.J. Mayo, the third overall pick from Southern California, proved to worthy of the hype surrounding him, starting his professional career for Memphis with 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting while playing 30 minutes.

Houston did play without both Tracy McGrady and Shane Battier, who both underwent offseason surgeries and did not dress. Battier is expected to be out for a month rehabbing his foot.

Yao Ming, who missed the last third of the 2007-08 season with a foot injury, had 10 points and nine rebounds in 22 minutes for the Rockets.