Tagged in: houston

Los Angeles Chargers LT Rashawn Slater (torn biceps) out for season, LB Joey Bosa (groin) week-to-week

Left tackle Rashawn Slater and edge rusher Joey Bosa are among the Los Angeles Chargers players who suffered significant injuries in a lopsided Week 3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Slater will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his left biceps tendon and Bosa will be sidelined indefinitely because of a groin injury, as per coach Brandon Staley.

“It’s going to be a tough loss for us,” Staley said about Slater, the Bolts’ 13th overall pick in 2021 who earned Pro Bowl recognition as a rookie last season. “We’re going to make sure over the next couple of days that we put good contingency plans in place.”

Staley stated he was unclear if Bosa would be placed on injured reserve. “He’ll probably be week-to-week,” Staley said. Wide receiver Jalen Guyton also will be sidelined for the remainder of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament late in the fourth quarter.

“It’s a tough one, he was playing a good game,” Staley said of Guyton, a fourth-year pro who in a reserve role had two catches for 64 yards.

Storm Norton, who lost a training camp competition with Trey Pipkins III for the right tackle job, took over at left tackle when Slater left the game in the third quarter. Veteran linebacker Kyle Van Noy and edge rusher Chris Rumph II took over for Bosa.

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With the 38-10 loss to the Jaguars, the Chargers fell to 1-2, and now prepare for back-to-back road match at Houston and Cleveland.

Staley expressed confidence that despite losing multiple key players, several other starters who have been dealing with injury issues, including quarterback Justin Herbert, were holding steady, if not improving.

“Not setbacks at the game,” Staley stated of Herbert, who completed 25 of 45 passes for 297 yards and a touchdown, with an interception and lost sack fumble, while playing through fractured rib cartilage suffered 10 days earlier.

A day removed from leaving Herbert in the game late in the fourth quarter, down 20 points, Staley would not go so far as to say he regretted leaving the Pro Bowl quarterback in the game, but indicated that moving forward, a different decision would be made.

“It definitely was my decision to keep him out there,” Staley said, adding later, “If I had to do it again or if I have to do it again, I need to make sure that I communicate to Justin [that] in a tough circumstance like that when you’re behind, that you’ve already done enough. I look forward to that next time, but in that moment, I don’t regret how we went through that together.”

Herbert told reporters after the game he stayed in the game because he “just didn’t want to quit on the team.”

Staley said that Pro Bowl center Corey Linsley, who was inactive Sunday because of a knee issue, was improving and expressed optimism that he would return to practice, along with receiver Keenan Allen, who has been sidelined the last two games because of a hamstring injury.

And Staley provided some clarification in regard to the situation surrounding cornerback J.C. Jackson, their marquee offseason free agent acquisition. Jackson underwent ankle surgery last month and was sidelined for the season opener, but played 100% of the snaps in Week 2 before he was inactive again Sunday.

Staley said Jackson had “inflammation” inside his ankle, but that there was “nothing structural.” “Just making sure that he doesn’t go out there and have something else happen,” Staley said. “There was just some inflammation that we were taking a look at and again, just being cautious looking at the long term.”

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Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson agrees to settle 3 more lawsuits as discipline ruling expected Monday

Sue L. Robinson, the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and players’ union, is expected to issue a decision Monday on whether Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct.

Meanwhile, Watson has agreed to settle three of the remaining four active civil lawsuits against him, Houston attorney Tony Buzbee told ESPN’s John Barr early Monday morning.

If Robinson, a former U.S. district judge, imposes any punishment, either side will have three days to submit an appeal in writing.

In that case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,” per terms of Article 46 in the collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL Players Association already made it clear in a statement Sunday night that it won’t appeal.

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“In advance of Judge Robinson’s decision, we wanted to reiterate the facts of this proceeding,” the union said in a statement.

“First, we have fully cooperated with every NFL inquiry and provided the NFL with the most comprehensive set of information for any personal conduct policy investigation. A former Federal Judge — appointed jointly by the NFLPA and NFL — held a full and fair hearing, has read thousands of pages of investigative documents and reviewed arguments from both sides impartially. Every player, owner, business partner and stakeholder deserves to know that our process is legitimate and will not be tarnished based on the whims of the League office. This is why, regardless of her decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by her ruling and we call on the NFL to do the same.”

Robinson heard arguments from the league, union and Watson’s attorney during a three-day hearing held in her home state of Delaware in late June. The sides conversed a potential settlement all the way up through the hearing but could not agree to a deal.

The league and Watson’s side did engage in further settlement talks in recent days, sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano, but neither side ever felt they were close to an agreement. The most Watson’s side indicated it was willing to offer was a suspension in the range of six to eight matches, according to sources. The best the league indicated it was willing to offer was a 12-game suspension and a significant fine — in the range of $8 million, sources said.

Watson has been accused of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women.

The encounters cited in the lawsuits took place between March 2020 and March 2021, while Watson was a member of the Houston Texans.

One of the 25 lawsuits was dropped following a judge’s ruling in April 2021 that plaintiffs needed to amend their petitions to disclose their names. In June, Watson settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits he was facing; on Monday, he agreed to settle three of the remaining four, according to Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson.

Last month, the Texans reached settlements with 30 women who made claims or were prepared to make claims against the organization for its alleged role regarding the allegations against Watson.

Although two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year, the NFL has been investigating whether he violated its personal conduct policy since last year. The NFL interviewed Watson over multiple days earlier this summer. The league’s investigators also spoke to several of the women.

Watson has continually denied all wrongdoing and stated he has no regrets for any of his actions during the massage sessions. Watson also said he cooperated with the NFL’s investigation and “answered every question truthfully” that he was asked by the league’s investigators.

The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending three first-round draft picks to the Texans. Cleveland then gave Watson a new five-year contract worth $230 million and fully guaranteed, the richest deal in NFL history for any player.

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Houston Texans settle claims vs. team in relation to sexual misconduct allegations involving Deshaun Watson

The Houston Texans have reached settlements with 30 women who made claims or were prepared to make them against the NFL organization for its alleged role regarding sexual misconduct allegations against Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson in massage sessions, the attorney for the women, Tony Buzbee, said in a statement Friday.

One of the 30 women already had filed a civil suit against the Texans in June, blaming the team of “enabling Watson’s behavior.” Buzbee said that case is among those being settled.

Buzbee said terms of each of the 30 settlements are confidential.

“We were shocked and deeply saddened when we first learned of the allegations against our then franchise quarterback in March 2021,” Texans owners Janice McNair, Hannah and Cal McNair said in a statement Friday.

“Although our organization did not have any knowledge of Deshaun Watson’s alleged misconduct, we have intentionally chosen to resolve this matter amicably. This is not an admission of any wrongdoing, but instead a clear stand against any form of sexual assault and misconduct.

“We hope that today’s resolution will provide some form of closure to the parties involved, our fans and the Houston community at large. As an organization, we will now turn our focus to the future and doing what we can to ensure respect for all.” In June, Watson settled 20 of 24 lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct when he played for the Texans. He has been accused by 25 women in civil lawsuits of actions ranging from sexual assault to inappropriate behavior during massage sessions. One of those lawsuits was dropped after the judge ruled the petition had to be amended with the plaintiff’s name.

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Buzbee did not reveal the identities of the six other women who were prepared to file claims against the Texans.

“I will have no further comment on the allegations or the Texans’ alleged role, other than to say that there is a marked contrast in the way in which the Texans addressed these allegations, and the way in which Watson’s team has done so,” Buzbee said in his statement Friday.

Two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year. Watson has maintained his innocence. The Texans traded Watson to the Browns in March after the first grand jury announced it would not indict him.

NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and NFL Players Association, is currently weighing whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Watson had a three-day hearing before Robinson in late June, and sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that the league has been arguing for a suspension of at least a year.

If Robinson does issue a suspension, Watson will have the option to appeal the penalty to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, according to the league’s 2020 collective bargaining agreement.

The New York Times reported in June that Watson booked appointments with at least 66 different women over 17 months, from fall 2019 through spring 2021.

The list of 66 includes the 24 women who have filed lawsuits against Watson; a woman who sued Watson but then withdrew the complaint; two women who filed criminal complaints against Watson but did not sue him; at least 15 therapists who issued statements of support for Watson at the request of his lawyers; at least four therapists contracted with the Texans; five women identified by the plaintiffs’ lawyers during the investigation for their lawsuits; and at least 15 other women whose appointments with Watson were confirmed through interviews and records reviewed by the Times.

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Framber Valdez, Houston Astros author ‘special’ day, striking out 20 in win over Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout finished 0-for-11 with nine strikeouts in a three-game series and Los Angeles hitters fanned 20 times, equaling a major league record, as the Houston Astros won 4-2 for a sweep on Sunday.

Rookie Jeremy Pena homered twice, capped by a two-run drive with two outs in the ninth inning off Ryan Tepera (1-2) to win it.

“To do it on a walk-off, it’s unreal,” Pena said. “It’s always fun walking it off, you get the win … and it’s great.”

Trout struck out seven consecutive times in the first two games. In the finale, the three-time AL MVP reached base in his first at-bat on an error by Pena at shortstop before striking out looking in his next two plate appearances.

Trout popped out in his last at-bat to extend his skid to 0-for-14. He is having another strong campaign, batting .272 with 23 homers and 47 RBIs, despite his second long slump of the year — he was a career-worst 0-for-26 before ending that drought on June 6.

Trout was far from the only Angel to struggle at the plate as Houston starter Framber Valdez and three relievers tied the major league record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Twelve different Angels batters came to the plate and all of them struck out at least once.

Valdez struck out a career-high 13 in six innings, allowing two runs on three hits and five walks. Relievers Hector Neris and Rafael Montero each struck out two in scoreless innings and Ryan Pressly (2-2) fanned three in the ninth.

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“It’s something that is very emotional and very exciting for me,” Valdez said through a translator after the game. “It’s very special to be a part of that.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker concurred.

“It’s very impressive. He was throwing strikes,” Baker said referring to Valdez, and when asked about the team total of 20, he simply replied, “Boy, that’s a lot.”

The 20 strikeouts is the most in a nine-inning game in Astros franchise history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. There had been several occasions where other teams struck out 20, including performances by Max Scherzer, Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood.

The Astros’ previous record was 18 in 1964 versus Cincinnati.

Houston pitchers fanned 47 in the series against the Angels.

Pena had four hits. In the ninth, Jose Altuve singled with two outs and Pena followed with his 11th home run. Pena hit a solo home run in the fourth off Jose Suarez.

Luis Rengifo homered in the Angels second. Shohei Ohtani hit an RBI single in the third.

Altuve had an RBI single in the fifth that made it 2-all.

Catching coach Bill Haselman was the Angels’ acting interim manager Sunday while Ray Montgomery, who has been the acting interim manager, and interim manager Phil Nevin served their suspensions for last week’s bench-clearing brawl with the Mariners. Haselman will also manage Tuesday’s game while Montgomery serves the second game of his suspension.

“They just have a lot of good arms out there,” Haselman said. “They have a lot of good pitchers in the bullpen, and they were able to just beat us today.”

Sunday was the sixth match of Nevin’s 10-game suspension. His seventh won’t come till Tuesday, when Noah Syndergaard (5-6, 3.86 ERA) opposes Sandy Alcantara (8-3, 1.96) in the opener of a three-game series vs. the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins are not a traditional opponent of the Angels, so there’s not a ton of history there, but Trout is 0-for-2 this season vs. Miami with two walks and two runs scored. “Mike Trout is a future Hall of Famer. He’s going to come around,” Haselman said.

“It’s too long of a season never to have struggles. Everybody goes through it, even the best in the game. He’s going through it right now, and we’re confident he’ll get out of it.”

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Ex-New York Giants CB James Bradberry reaches one-year deal with Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles took a big step in filling out their secondary, agreeing to a one-year contract with cornerback James Bradberry, the team revealed Wednesday.

The deal will pay him $7.5 million, including $7.25 million guaranteed, and has another $2.5 million in upside, bringing the total possible value of the deal to $10 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Eleven teams reached out about Bradberry after he was released by the New York Giants on May 9, with that number being whittled down to three before Bradberry chose the Eagles, according to Schefter.

He is anticipated to slide right into a starting role opposite Darius Slay, creating what on paper looks like a formidable cornerback trio with Bradberry, Slay and slot corner Avonte Maddox.

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The Eagles were in need of another starter after Steven Nelson signed with the Houston Texans this offseason. General manager Howie Roseman previously indicated such a move could come after the draft, when the team and veteran free agents had a clearer idea of what the roster would look like.

The Giants released Bradberry after not being able to find a trade partner for the veteran cornerback.

The move for the Giants was more about the money than an indictment of the player. Bradberry, 28, had been set to make $13.5 million this season and would have counted $21.9 million against the Giants’ cap.

Bradberry was one of just five players on the current Giants roster to make a Pro Bowl in their careers. He was their top cornerback last campaign and made the Pro Bowl in his first year with the Giants in 2020, when he had a career-best 79.8 Pro Football Focus grade. He has graded in the 60s all the remaining years of his career.

He had a career high with four interceptions and recovered a pair of fumbles this past season.

Bradberry spent the first four years of his career with the Carolina Panthers and has 15 interceptions and 82 passes defended in his six NFL seasons.

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Longtime Buffalo Bills DE Jerry Hughes signs contract with Houston Texans

The Texans have signed veteran defensive end Jerry Hughes, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports.

It marks a homecoming for Hughes, who is from Sugar Land, Texas, and played at Stephen F. Austin High School.

Hughes is the latest in the group of veteran defensive ends general manager Nick Caserio has added to bolster the Texans’ defensive line. On Tuesday, the Texans announced they signed Hughes’ former teammate with the Buffalo Bills, defensive end Mario Addison.

Last week, Houston also added defensive end Rasheem Green. Hughes’ signing was first reported by NFL reporter Jordan Schultz.

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One of the few players who were retained by the Bills from the previous regime when Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane took over, Hughes was the longest tenured Buffalo player last season.

The 12-year veteran played in all 17 matches but registered his lowest percentage of defensive snaps played (51.8%) since the initiation of his career.

Hughes, who turns 34 in August, was selected as the 31st-overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 draft, but he had a slow start to his career.

After three seasons with the Colts, he was traded to the Bills for linebacker Kelvin Sheppard in 2013.

The following nine years of Hughes’ career were spent with the Bills, a team with which he found success. He had 10 sacks in each of his first two years in Buffalo and concluded with at least four in all the following seasons, outside of 2021 (two).

Last season, he led the team in pass rush win rate (20.9%). Hughes is fourth all time in Bills history with 53 sacks and has 58 total in his career. He also has seven postseason sacks.

Hughes has been a longtime leader of the team’s defense as the team has continued to invest in youth, especially on the defensive line.

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Baker Mayfield requests trade from Cleveland Browns, says it is in ‘best interests of both sides to move on’

Baker Mayfield has requested a trade from the Browns, telling ESPN’s Adam Schefter that it is “in the best interests of both sides” for Cleveland to split with the star quarterback.

“It’s in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on,” Mayfield told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “The relationship is too far gone to mend. It’s in the best interests of both sides to move on.”

The Browns, however, have informed Mayfield’s camp that they are “not accommodating his request.”

Mayfield’s request comes on the same day the Browns learned they were out of the running to obtain quarterback Deshaun Watson in a trade from the Houston Texans.

The Browns were one of four teams to meet with Watson in the past week to gauge his interest in waiving his no-trade clause, but they now face significant doubt at the quarterback position.

A source told Trotter earlier Thursday that the Browns, upon falling out of contention to acquire Watson, would prefer to move forward with Mayfield. But Mayfield’s request might force Cleveland to trade the quarterback who won the 2017 Heisman Trophy and then got picked first overall in the draft.

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Mayfield has strong interest in the Colts, who are in the market for a quarterback after trading Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders, and considers Indianapolis offers a good chance for him to win, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

As Cleveland officials were flying back from their Tuesday meeting with Watson, Mayfield posted a statement on social media thanking the city of Cleveland and its fans “who truly embraced who I am.”

“With many uncertainties, here is where my head and heart is,” Mayfield wrote as an introduction to his message, which he addressed to Cleveland and posted to Instagram and Twitter.

A source told Trotter that Mayfield and his camp learned about the Browns’ meeting with Watson over social media.

Mayfield has endured a tumultuous tenure in Cleveland, where he has played under four head coaches through his first three seasons in the league. But he led Cleveland to its first playoff victory in 26 years after the 2020 season and finished in the top 10 in the league in QBR.

Mayfield suffered a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder in Week 2 of this past season and struggled the rest of the way, finishing 27th in QBR as the Browns missed the playoffs and concluded with a disappointing 8-9 record.

Mayfield, who underwent surgery to repair the labrum Jan. 19 and is expected to be fully cleared well before training camp, is entering the final year of his rookie deal, which will pay him $19 million in 2022.

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Rookie Green has 32 as Rockets down Lakers in OT, 139-130

Rookie Jalen Green scored a career-high 32 points, including 10 in overtime, and the Houston Rockets outlasted the slumping Los Angeles Lakers for a 139-130 victory Wednesday night.

The Rockets, who have the worst record in the Western Conference, withstood a triple-double from LeBron James and 30 points from Russell Westbrook to get just their second win in 15 games.

The loss is the ninth straight on the road for the Lakers, who have dropped six of their last seven games and are running out of time to get things together before the playoffs start.

Green, the second overall pick in the draft, opened overtime with a layup before adding a 3-pointer and then swishing a hook shot soon after that to make it 127-120. Eric Gordon added a 3-pointer to push the lead to 10 before the Lakers finally scored in the extra period on a basket by Westbrook with 2 1/2 minutes to go.

But the Rockets used a 6-3 run with 3s from Kenyon Martin Jr. and Green around a 3 from James to extend the lead to 136-125 with a minute left in OT and seal the victory.

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James had 23 points, 14 rebounds and a season-high 12 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season. But his career-long streak of consecutive games with 25 points ended at 23 games on a night he was 9 of 26 overall and made just 1 of 9 3-pointers.

It was his first game since scoring a season-high 56 points Saturday night after he sat out Monday at San Antonio with a sore left knee.

Rookie Alperen Sengun set career-highs with 21 points and 15 rebounds to help the Rockets to the win.

A jump shot by Westbrook tied it at 120-all with a minute to go but he missed a shot a few seconds later to give Houston the ball back.

Green missed a layup under heavy pressure from James to give the Lakers another shot to take the lead.

James missed an off-balance shot in the lane with 17 seconds left but officials ruled that Houston knocked the ball out of bounds while vying for the rebound. The Rockets challenged the call, but it was upheld.

James drove into the lane and dished to Carmelo Anthony in the corner for the final shot of regulation, but his 3-point attempt was off to send it to OT.

A 5-2 spurt by the Rockets later in the fourth tied it up, but James drove into the lane and finished with a monster, one-handed dunk to put the Lakers up 113-111 with 5 ½ minutes to go.

Los Angeles trailed by 1 with about three minutes left when James made 1 of 2 free throws to make it 118-116.

Green scored four quick points to give the Rockets a 120-118 lead with about two minutes left. He made two free throws and then grabbed a rebound on the other end and finished with a jumper to put Houston on top.

Houston led by 3 late in the third quarter but the Lakers scored the last four points of the period to take a 98-97 lead into the fourth.

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AFC West rivals Chargers, Broncos face must-win situations

Two weeks ago the Los Angeles Chargers were feeling pretty secure about getting to the postseason for the first time since 2018.

After two consecutive losses though, their challenge is more formidable going into Sunday’s game versus the Denver Broncos.

“Now, it’s now or never. You don’t want to put it in everybody else’s hands; you want it to be in your hands,” Chargers defensive tackle Linval Joseph said. “We have to go out there and do what we have to do. We have to go out there and get it done this Sunday.”

The Chargers (8-7) got off to a 4-1 start under first-year coach Brandon Staley but have won consecutive games only once since mid-October. They have dropped their past two —a 34-28 overtime loss to Kansas City on Dec. 16 and an inexplicable 41-29 defeat at Houston last Sunday.

Staley’s message to his team this week has been about getting back to being consistent in practice and trying to approach things as normal as possible despite the evolving roster changes because of COVID-19.

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“You have to trust your plans and how you prepare. I think that’s what our approach is going to be this week, putting the focus on us and giving the Broncos their full respect by preparing each day the best that we know how. Regardless of the circumstances, treat each week like it has a life of its own,” Staley said.

The Chargers could get back into a wild-card spot with a win and losses by Miami to Tennessee and Baltimore to the Los Angeles Rams.

“Playoff games start now, and that’s the mindset,” wide receiver Keenan Allen said.

Denver (7-8) has won four of its past five against its division rival, including 28-13 on Nov. 28.

The Broncos started the season with three consecutive wins but have dropped three of their past four as their playoff hopes are hanging by a thread.

They need a win over the Chargers, coupled with victories by the Rams, Titans and Browns to go into next week’s regular-season finale against Kansas City with even a chance of getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2015, when they won their third Super Bowl title.

Another defeat would assure the Broncos of their fifth straight season under .500. Third-year coach Vic Fangio was on the hot seat going into the year and has tried to deflect talk about his job status during the latest slump.

“I’m not worried about do I have to win the next two to secure the job? That’s totally not in my frame of thought right now,” he said. “We’re going to do anything and everything we can to win this game this week.”

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Grizzlies send Houston to its 12 straight defeat 136-102

Ja Morant had 22 points, six rebounds and six assists, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 18 points and the Memphis Grizzlies defeated Houston 136-102 Monday night, sending the Rockets to their 12th consecutive loss.

Dillon Brooks finished with 16 points, and Kyle Anderson added 15 as Memphis snapped a three-game losing streak. The 136 points was a season-high for the Grizzlies. Brooks and other Grizzlies said a renewed energy meant better defense.

“That should never die,” Brooks said. “The energy every single game, every single day at practice. …We should never lack energy.”

Jalen Green led the Rockets with 15 points, while Jae’Sean Tate added 14 points and nine rebounds. Houston, again was stymied by poor shooting, connecting on only 38%.

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Neither team entered Monday night playing well.

Memphis struggled in its previous three games – all losses by double-digit margins to Charlotte, Phoenix and New Orleans. Meanwhile, over the last four matches, the Rockets have lost by an average of 14.3 points a game.

The misery continued early for the Rockets, who just couldn’t match the Grizzlies, even though Memphis had its own problems with turnovers early. But whatever issues Memphis was dealing with, the Rockets had more with a dozen miscues. The Rockets shot a respectable 44% in the half, but Memphis connected on 56% building its lead.

A 20-0 run in the third quarter, part of Memphis outscoring the Rockets 31-15 in the frame, guaranteed Houston’s losing streak would continue for at least another game as the Grizzlies lead reached 40 in the second half.

“I feel like we played great defense,” Morant said. “We held them to a 15-point quarter. Obviously got to be better rebounding the ball, especially when we play hard defense to get a stop, which we need to get out and run.”

Rockets coach Stephen Silas dealt with a similar lengthy losing streak last season, but there are differences with this skid. “It’s right at the beginning of the season, and we’re trying to find ourselves and trust ourselves,” the Rockets coach said.

“The message is the same. It’s the process. It’s the work, the preparation, the trust. All of those things and trusting that if you do things the right way, we’ll get out of the streak.”

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