MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Shane Battier scored 20 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Houston Rockets 86-81.

Battier was 9-of-17 and grabbed seven rebounds as Memphis snapped a two-game losing streak.

The Rockets, again playing without leading scorer Tracy McGrady, lost their sixth straight. Houston is 0-7 without McGrady, who has been sidelined by back spasms.

Eddie Jones added 17 points for Memphis. Damon Stoudamire scored 15 points and made four free throws in the final 24 seconds to preserve the Grizzlies’ lead.

Reserve Derek Anderson led six Rockets in double figures with 16 points. Yao Ming finished with 15 points, 10 in the final period, and 12 rebounds.

David Wesley added 13 points, while Juwan Howard, Stromile Swift and Luther Head all scored 10. Head added eight assists.

Head’s 3-pointer with about 18 seconds left got the Rockets within 84-81, but Houston could get no closer as Stoudamire hit his free throws.

The game was tied at 37 at halftime after a sloppy first half. The Rockets scored the first 11 points, with Wesley making a trio of 3-pointers as the Grizzlies collapsed on Yao and left guards open.

The Rockets had 11 turnovers in the half and Memphis had eight. The Rockets finished with 19 turnovers, leading to 20 Memphis points.

Memphis held Yao to one point in the half and he missed all four of his shots from the field. But Grizzlies leading scorer Pau Gasol had only two points and finished with nine.

Memphis took a 60-59 lead into the final period.

Notes: McGrady has missed the last four games. Ryan Bowen, averaging 1.5 points, has replaced McGrady in the lineup, a difference of 20 points on the offensive end. … Houston G Rafer Alston also missed his fifth game with a hairline fracture of his right leg. … Memphis G Mike Miller left the game in the first quarter with a head laceration and concussion after colliding with Bowen. …There was some internal bantering in the Grizzlies’ locker room over the finals of the NIT Season Tip-off. C Lorenzen Wright and backup PG Antonio Burks played at the University of Memphis, while Battier and G/F Dahntay Jones are Duke alums. …The game marked the return of Rockets F Swift to Memphis. Swift was the Grizzlies’ first-round pick, and second pick overall, in the 2000 draft. He signed with the Rockets as a free agent during the offseason.

AP-ES-11-25-05 2301EST


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