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Brooks keys rally in second half as Rockets beat Grizzlies

Dillon Brooks Houston Rockets Dillon Brooks - The Canadian Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Dillon Brooks scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half as the Houston Rockets overcame an early double-digit deficit and beat the Memphis Grizzlies 103-96 on Friday night.

Brooks, who was making his return to Memphis after being traded to Houston in the offseason after six seasons with the Grizzlies, was 1 of 9 in the first half. He keyed a second-half comeback and hit a 3-pointer with 39.4 seconds left for a 99-94 lead as the Rockets won their fifth straight. He also stole an inbounds pass later, sealing the Houston win.

Fred VanVleet had 16 points and eight assists for Houston, and Alperen Sengun finished with 15 points.

Desmond Bane led Memphis with 28 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 22 points and four blocks as Memphis dropped to 1-10 at home.

The Rockets had won the first two games in the season series, including a 117-104 defeat of Memphis on Wednesday night in Houston. This time, Memphis jumped to a 17-point lead in the first half, but Houston whittled away late in the half and into the third quarter.

By late in the third quarter, behind a defensive scheme that took Memphis out of sync offensively, the Rockets had erased their deficit and carried a 75-74 lead into the fourth.

Memphis has worked with a thin lineup most of the season due to injuries to key starters and the 25-game suspension of Ja Morant, last year's leading scorer. That suspension ends on Tuesday, but the Grizzlies have struggled mightily at the start of the season. Before Friday's game, Memphis had won once at home and was mired in a three-game losing streak.

Morant addressed the media earlier Friday for the first time since the league handed down the suspension.

Houston endured a tough shooting first half, under 30% at the midway point of the second quarter. But while the Memphis' lead reached 17 points in the half, Houston was able to stay close as the Grizzlies took a 55-45 advantage to the break.


Rockets: At Milwaukee on Sunday.

Grizzlies: At Oklahoma City on Monday.