Houston hosts Memphis in Southwest showdown

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(SportsNetwork.com) - The Houston Rockets will try to keep the momentum going from a huge Christmas night victory Thursday when they welcome the Memphis Grizzlies to the Toyota Center.

The Rockets trounced the San Antonio Spurs, 111-98 in San Antonio Wednesday night. Houston shot 52.3 percent from the field and 50 percent from long range.

The Rockets have now alternated wins and losses over the last nine games, but play five of the next six at home.

James Harden led the way for Houston against the Spurs with 28 points, but he was gigantic in the fourth quarter. The All-Star guard had 16 in the final frame, but he also finished with six assists and six rebounds.

"My teammates needed me," Harden said. "The first three quarters, I was just trying to be a facilitator, making sure the ball moved well. In the fourth quarter I just tried to be creative and make some shots."

Houston's starting forwards, Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones, each had 21 points. Parsons went 5-for-9 from beyond the arc and Jones pulled down 14 rebounds.

Dwight Howard posted his 20th double-double this season with 15 points and 20 rebounds. Jeremy Lin chipped in 13, but the Rockets' bench only combined for 13.

The Grizzlies will try to get out of the Southwest Division cellar with a victory over one of the top teams in the division.

Memphis has won two in a row after a five-game losing streak. The Grizz were one of the NBA's best home teams last season, but the story has changed in the 2013-14 campaign.

The Grizzlies are 6-5 outside of FedExForum.

On Monday, the Grizz picked up a home victory over the Utah Jazz, 104-94.

"It feels good," Zach Randolph said of the team notching consecutive wins. "We're getting better. We've been struggling, but I think we should just come out and play hard, and let everything else take care of itself."

Randolph registered his 16th double- double of the season with 22 points and 10 rebounds, but it was the Memphis bench which really keyed the victory.

The Grizzlies' second unit outscored Utah's reserves 51-18. Jerryd Bayless tallied 17 points, while Mike Miller scored 15 and Jon Leuer added 11 for Memphis, which won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-November.

Kosta Koufos was the only starter besides Randolph to score in double figures.

The Rockets knocked off the Grizzlies, 93-86 on Nov. 25 in Memphis. The Grizzlies have taken three of the last five meetings, but they are 3-16 in their last 19 in Houston.