The smallest man on the floor was too big for the Grizzlies Wednesday night, in a 107-94 road loss to the Houston Rockets.
6-0 point guard Aaron Brooks had a game-high 31 points for the Rockets, including 7-for-7 three point shooting, as the Grizz once again squandered an early lead. This time, they faded in the third quarter, and never got closer than six points in the fourth.
The loss wasted a superb effort by Zach Randolph, who notched his franchise record sixth game of the season with at least 30 points and 15 rebounds. The Rockets held O. J. Mayo (4 points on 1-for-6 shooting) and Rudy Gay (14, 6-for-17) in check, and there’s just not enough depth on this team to overcome that. Marc Gasol missed his second straight game with a strained neck muscle.
The loss leaves the Grizzlies (36-33) five games (in the loss column) behind eighth place Portland (41-28) for the final Western Conference playoff berth, with 13 games to play. While it’s still mathematically possible, for the Grizzlies, the playoffs this year look like a dream that is on life support.
The final relatively easy stretch of the season is up next: a home game Saturday against Golden State, followed by road games next week at Sacramento and Golden State. Starting with the March 31st home game against Dallas, the Grizzlies face a lineup of mostly tough games to end the season, many of them on the road.