HOUSTON – The Houston Rockets needed a lift after learning that Yao Ming was lost for the season.
They found it against the Memphis Grizzlies, with Kevin Martin scoring 34 points to lead Houston to a 103-87 win Friday night.
It was a positive end to a day where they learned their star center would miss the rest of 2010-2011 because of a stress fracture in his left ankle.
"We have to keep going," Luis Scola said. "Yao is not here and some way we have got to move on. This is our job and we have to try to win games."
The Rockets have won seven straight overall against the Grizzlies and nine in a row over Memphis at home.
Martin scored 20 points in the first quarter alone, staking Houston to a 34-13 lead. The Grizzlies, who entered the game with a four-game winning streak, never got closer than 16 points after that.
"It was a perfect first quarter," Houston coach Rick Adelman said. "Obviously we were very good. They missed a lot of shots and ... we didn't give them second shots."
Rudy Gay and Sam Young scored 19 points each to lead the Grizzlies, but Gay was ejected for a flagrant foul with about six minutes remaining.
The Grizzlies haven't won in Houston since April 2006 and Houston's last seven wins over the Rockets have all been by at least 10 points.
"It's the same thing every time we play them," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "They out-quicked us, they outworked us, they out-toughed us. They made a statement to tell us that we couldn't play against them."
"We came in here to try to make a statement that we could play with them, but they showed us that we haven't matured enough and gotten on the level that they're on with their group."
Luis Scola added 23 points for the Rockets and Kyle Lowry, who has been filling in for injured point guard Aaron Brooks, helped out with 17 points and a career-high 18 assists.
The Rockets were up 29 at the end of the third quarter before Memphis used a 14-2 run to make it 91-74 with about seven minutes remaining, which was the closest the Grizzlies had been since the first quarter.
Shane Battier made a 3-pointer after that and then Scola made one of the free throws from Gay's flagrant foul to put Houston back ahead by more than 20 points, 95-74. Gay knocked Scola to the ground as Battier sunk the 3-pointer to draw the flagrant foul.
"That just killed whatever momentum we had," Hollins said of Gay's ejection.
Gay regretted the behavior that led to his ejection.
"I kind of let my anger get the best of me, and it's not characteristic of me or anybody else on this team," he said. "Me, as a leader, I probably shouldn't have done that."
Memphis started the second half strong, going on a 7-0 run that included five points by Sam Young to make it 63-40. Battier hit a 3-pointer to end that run and he and Martin had 3-pointers sandwiched around a layup by Scola later in the third quarter to push the lead to 87-58.
The Rockets led by 21 after a dominant first quarter and scored the first nine points of the second quarter behind four points by Scola to extend their lead to 43-13 about 10 minutes before halftime. The Grizzlies scored the next six points but it wasn't near enough to close the gap.
"You've got to come out and set the tone and all five guys came out and set the tone tonight," Martin said. "It was the best first quarter by far on the season offensively and defensively."
Houston was up 49-27 before outscoring Memphis 12-6 in the last 3½ minutes of the first half to lead 61-33 at the half.
"There are just some teams you just can't match up against, and they're one of them," Hollins said.
Notes: Terrence Williams was inactive on Friday and has yet to play for Houston after he was acquired in a three-team trade on Wednesday. ... Houston has won seven straight games at home. ... The Grizzlies' 36.5 percent shooting was a season-low for a Houston opponent this season. ... Battier added 17 points and had a season-high 10 rebounds. ... Young's 19 points were a season high.