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Rockets fall to Grizzlies in Ja Morant's return

Jalen Green finished with 32 points to lead the Rockets, while Kenyon Martin Jr. scored 31.
Credit: AP
Houston Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. (6) shoots against Memphis Grizzlies forwards Santi Aldama (7) and David Roddy (27) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

HOUSTON — Ja Morant finished with 17 points and five assists in his return to action after a league-imposed suspension and Jaren Jackson Jr. had season-high 37 points and 10 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Houston Rockets 130-125 on Wednesday night.

Desmond Bane finished with 20 points and Tyus Jones 14 for Memphis, and each added seven assists.

Jalen Green finished with 32 points to lead the Rockets, while Kenyon Martin Jr. scored 31. Kevin Porter had his second career triple-double and first of the season with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Alperen Sengun scored 25 for Houston.

Morant, who did not start, was back in action after missing nine games — eight because of an NBA suspension. The NBA assessed the suspension after a live stream from a Denver-area strip club earlier this month showed Morant briefly waving a firearm. Morant underwent counseling at a Florida facility for stress relief during the suspension.

The two-time All-Star guard, who entered the game after a timeout with 3:05 left in the first quarter in place of starter Tyus Jones, ended up playing 24 minutes and shot 6 for 13 overall and 5 for 6 from the line. He also had four rebounds.

The game was a tight affair, particularly in the third quarter when the Rockets connected on nine of their first 10 shots, including all five from 3-point range. That gave Houston a brief lead until Memphis went on a 12-4 run.

Still, the game was within one possession with three minutes remaining. Memphis stretched the advantage to seven in the final minute to preserve its fourth straight win and seventh in the last eight games.

The Rockets stayed close in the first half as Martin and Green scored 16 apiece and Sengun added 15. Still, Memphis was able to go 10 of 24 from outside the arc while shooting 54% for a 75-64 lead.


Rockets: F Jae'Sean Tate missed his second consecutive game, this time listed with left knee soreness. ... Shot 51% in the first half as Sengun, Matin and Green were a combined 18 of 28.

Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks was suspended for Wednesday’s game after picking up his 18th technical foul in Monday's win over Dallas. ... Have won 10 straight at home. Memphis' last loss at FedExForum was Feb. 5 to the Toronto Raptors.


The teams play the second game of their two-game series in Memphis on Friday night.

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