John Wall and Jae'Sean Tate lead Rockets to dominating victory over Grizzlies

The Rockets suffered a big loss despite getting the win. Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets showed their complete dominance defensively Thursday night versus the Memphis Grizzlies as they won 115-103. No player for the Grizzlies scored over 16 points against the Rockets' defense. John Wall and Jae'Sean Tate stood out the most in the Rockets' win. The saddest part of the night was Christian Wood's ankle injury, which became heartbreaking.

On Wednesday night, the Rockets were defeated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in a blown-out fashion. John Wall did not play because of the passing of his grandmother. The Rockets lacked energy against the Thunder. Wall understood his leadership, guidance, and presence was clearly missing in Wednesday night's loss. In Thursday's victory, Wall had a plus 34 from the field. Wall's misdirection and ability to attack the paint created open opportunities for his teammates. He created pressure on the Grizzlies interior defense, so the Rockets had open shooters on the perimeter. The Rockets shot 42% from the three-point line, including Wall shooting 44% too. Wall increased the Rockets offensive rating from 80.6 to 117.6 against the Grizzlies within two nights.

"It makes it immensely easier," as Coach Silas mentioned on Wall's game. "He has a great feel for the game. He has great feel for the point guard position as far as who needs [a] shot. Attacking defenses and defenders that might not be able to guard him. When you have your leader on the floor it makes every one's job easier."

Wall loves directing the offense, so everyone is involved in different actions and accumulated inside the set. He has become great at catching the defense off guard. Those eight assists came from finding the right teammate in position. Wall finished with 22 points by only taking six shots.

"He [John Wall] sees stuff a lot of people don't see and that's why he is one of the best point guards in the league," as Jae'Sean Tate gave Wall praise. "He is such tough cover because he is so fast and knows how to manipulate the defense to get what we need."

Speaking of Tate, his night was fantastic against the Grizzlies as he took advantage of the creases in their defense. Tate became effective by taking open shots, being aggressive in the paint, and setting quality screens. He even showed his ability to cut towards the basket. Tate's IQ is impressive for a 25-year-old rookie. He shot 77% from the field and had 19 points in Thursday night's game. Tate became sneaky inside the Grizzlies painted area by being 4/4 in the restricted area. Hopefully, Tate climbs the poll of Rookie of the Year candidacy.

"It's about me being comfortable out there," as Tate mentioned to the media. "Just getting more used to the pace of the game and learning how to read the game. The vets are helping me dissect [the] game."

The Rockets' defense did a tremendous job of slowing down the number one bench in the NBA. In the beginning of the game, the Rockets did have a problem slowing down the Grizzlies transition offense. The Rockets' biggest objective was getting back on defense as the Grizzlies were ferocious with their fast break points. As the Rockets eventually got set on defense, the Grizzlies struggled from the field. The Grizzlies shot the three-ball at 34.3%, as the Rockets caused contested attempts. Although the Grizzlies finished with 11 offensive rebounds, only seven of those rebounds came from the first quarter. Houston's defensive rating was a 105.1 versus the Memphis.

"I feel like if we can get back in transition and get our defense set, we can really defend and make it hard on teams. Versatility is key in our defense," as coach Silas praised their defensive performance.

The Rockets eventually went on an 18-4 run late in the second quarter, which helped the second-best defense control the game. It's incredible how the Rockets have the second-best defense in the league as they are right behind the Los Angeles Lakers.

Up next: Hopefully, the Rockets maintain their play as they take on the San Antonio Spurs Saturday night.

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The Astros have assigned left-handed reliever Matt Gage to minor league camp, which means Houston's pitching staff is likely to head into the season without a lefty in the bullpen.

Ronel Blanco and Seth Martinez are expected to be the last two pitchers in the Astros bullpen now that Gage isn't expected to fill a spot on the club. With the Astros playing so many games in the month of April, could we see Blanco or Martinez making some starts with Lance McCullers still on the shelf?

Plus, should the Astros check in on Yuli Gurriel for some depth considering his versatility and the loss of Jose Altuve for the first couple months of the season? Gurriel still hasn't been added to the Marlins 40-man roster, which means he can opt out of his deal on Saturday if nothing changes.

Based on how things played out for Carlos Correa, the guys aren't very confident the Astros would change their stance on Yuli. But you never know.

Be sure to check out the video above as we break it all down!

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