Thomas Campbell-US PRESSWIRE
An emotional week on and off the court left the Rockets in the crowded middle of the Western Conference standings while Memphis took control of the Southwest Division.
The Rockets needed to catch their breath after a dealing with the loss of coach Kevin McHale's daughter and also enduring a rough return to Oklahoma City for James Harden. At 7-8 the Rockets are now among a group of three teams essentially tied for eighth place in the Western Conference.
While the Rockets were resting, their Southwestern Division rivals were in action with the Memphis Grizzlies continuing to set the pace in the division. On Friday night, Rudy Gay scored 18 points for Memphis as they rolled past the Detroit Pistons, 90-78 to win their fourth consecutive game.
Meanwhile on Thursday, the San Antonio Spurs voluntarily gave up their five-game winning streak when coach Gregg Popovich rested four starters against the Miami Heat. The Spurs that did show up put up a good fight against the defending champs, but eventually LeBron James and company made the Spurs take home a 105-100 loss.
In other action on Thursday, David Lee scored 31 points to lead the Golden State Warriors past the Denver Nuggets, 106-105. The Nuggets lost again on Friday night when they caught the Los Angeles Lakers on the wrong night. Antawn Jamison scored 33 points and Dwight Howard added 28 points and 20 rebounds to lead the Lakers past the Nuggets, 122-103.
Other Friday night scores of note included the Oklahoma City Thunder beating the Utah Jazz, 106-94.
Here is a link to scores from the full NBA schedule.