HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – On paper, it didn’t look promising.

No Dwight Howard. No Terrence Jones. Against one of the league’s more physical frontcourts, featuring Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

And the Rockets won that battle.

That’s not a typo.

The Rockets outrebounded Memphis 52-39. They had 23 offensive rebounds to 10 for the Grizzlies. Perhaps most symbolic was that Black had 10 points and 11 rebounds, winning in both categories over the MVP candidate Gasol, who finished with eight points and seven rebounds by comparison.

“Just playing hard, honestly,” said Black, who also had nine offensive boards. “That’s my role right now. I just have to play hard and one of the big things for me is getting those extra possessions, rebounding the ball, and playing defense. That’s my job right now.”

But it wasn’t just Black. Motiejunas had 15 points and seven rebounds. Dorsey had seven points, eight rebounds, and a highlight-reel sequence of a block and a dunk in his nearly 22 minutes off the bench. It’s not far fetched to say the Rockets dominated the matchup inside.

“It was extremely tremendous from top to bottom,” said James Harden, who led the way with 21 points in a balanced scoring attack. “Black, D-Mo, Dorsey came in and played very well. It was going to be a battle. Those (Grizzlies) are a very good team. They’re very physical, so we had to match their intensity.”

“Our guys went in there and they were strong with the ball,” Kevin McHale said. “When they’re not playing you defensively, it does open things up offensively. You’ve got to go get the board. When they’re playing you, they can box you out. When they’re playing the ball, it’s pretty much a free run to the boards. And Tarik did a nice job. All of our bigs, really, we got 23 offensive rebounds, so that was big.”

The rebounding was big. It led to a win that was arguably the team’s biggest of the season so far.


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