MEMPHIS (AFP) - Something had to give when the first place Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets squared off for NBA bragging rights Monday night. Memphis Grizzlies mauled Houston 119-93 in a matchup between the two teams with the best records in the league, with Mike Conley leading seven players in double figures with 19 points.
Memphis extended their perfect home record to 7-0 while handing the Rockets their first loss on the road this season. "They beat the hell out of us," said Rockets coach Kevin McHale.
Courtney Lee tallied 15 points and Zach Randolph delivered 12 points and seven rebounds for the Grizzlies, who scored a season high point total and improved to 10-1. Reserves Quincy Pondexter, Beno Udrih and Jon Leuer each netted 13 points in front of a crowd of 17,012 at the FedEx Forum arena where Memphis have now won 20 straight games.
"This is one of the better starts we have ever had," said Conley. "They have had our number the last few years so for us to come out like we did says a lot about our team." Monday's victory put the finishing touches on a four-game homestand for the Grizzlies.
"I liked what I saw from our team tonight. We showed growth," Grizzlies coach David Joerger said. "It was fantastic. I'm very proud of our guys."
Trevor Ariza paced Houston with 16 points and Dwight Howard chipped in with 15 points and nine rebounds for the Rockets who have lost seven of their last eight in Memphis.
Meanwhile, in New York, Miami Heat overcame the Nets 95-83. Both teams had arrived in Brooklyn with three-game losing streaks.
The loss worsens the early season headache for the Nets (4-6) and their fans, particularly given the sorry state of the Heat roster. Miami (6-5) were missing guard Dwyane Wade, who was nursing a strained left hamstring; small forward Luol Deng, who had a sore wrist; and power forward Josh McRoberts, who had a sore toe.